Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 171 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading an article, from a English news paper based in France, it said:

"Have you moved to France, only to find yourself frequenting expat bars, and not mixing with the locals? In this no holds barred column, Englishman Neil Kreeger explains why Anglos who only socialize with other Anglos are "lazy and scared" and missing out on the benefits of integration."

My wife and I, have moved here this year and speak ok French (having spent many years learning before we lived full time), I chat to my neighbour when ever we see each other and have been invited for drinks a few times and we have done the same.

But having chatted to my neighbour all the people who live in the hamlet, get on well but get on with their lives, looking after their land and families etc, which is pretty much what we do, so are we the only Lazy one's in the hamlet because we are British or are we all lazy in our Hamlet? because we have a few friends that come from the Uk and stay with us, are we missing out?

We didn't join any UK clubs or mixed with the locals back home, do we have to here or can we live our lives the way we want, so long as it doesn't bother anyone?

I understand the point "Neil Kreeger" was saying, but do we have to join in?, just a thought.

Is it ok to live a private life, whether here or in the UK?

Any thought's?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,909 Posts
Well, it takes all sorts to make a world!

I've known the whole range of expats from the "little island of UK" like those described in your article. Then there are those who make a contribution to French life, either by paid work, charity work, etc etc. We can't all be extroverts, we need introverts too?

We have discussed integration of English speakers into French life, and yes many do it, some do not, and do not try.

Likewise, all nationalities have their share of "action man / woman" types, and also complete layabouts. Your article describes the latter, but there are also the former.

DejW
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,413 Posts
Basically, it's up to you to live your life the way you want to.

The "lazy expat" described in the article certainly exists - but generally, this refers to folks who make no effort to integrate or to get to know "real" French people and then complain that the French are "not friendly" or are "stand-offish." Or those who make no effort to try to speak French and just speak louder in English to make themselves "understood" and then complain about the French being aloof.

I'm sure there are Brits (and Americans, and Canadians, etc.) who come to live in France, who hang out exclusively with other anglophone expats and who use their French only when necessary, but who are perfectly happy with how they live, and don't bother anyone with complaints or nasty remarks or by otherwise making themselves obvious.

The couple of things you do have to accept about France is that, in general terms, the French tend to socialize with their extended families. For those neighbors with family close at hand, you may not get invited to their barbecues or birthdays or other celebrations. But if you invite them round for apéros or a barbecue, they'll probably invite you sometime. And so it begins. There are also slightly different rules governing social courtesies and interactions - and as a foreigner, you're going to run afoul of those differences now and then. Develop a sense of humor and laugh at your own mistakes and learn how to humble yourself enough to ask questions if you find yourself in a puzzling situation. (Another trait of the French is that they are horribly embarrassed by "mistakes" - learn to deal with this trait graciously and you'll get on fine with the French.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
Of course it's OK to live a private life wherever you are, if it works for you. No need to feel guilty about it whatever an article might say. Sometimes it seems that when people come to France it seems they anticipate some sort of idyll with non-stop wine & cheese parties and welcoming locals ... the reality is somewhat different and your neighbours likewise have their own lives to get on with

On the other hand when people move to a foreign country it is odd when they avoid exposure to the local culture .... and to take the example of some Brits, why did they move to then socialize exclusively with other Brits and in English-style pubs etc ?

Best, Rick
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,806 Posts
Yup! I agree with all the above. OK there are those who seek only to socialise with other Anglophones - fine - as long as they don't thrust it down the throats of the locals.

There are some, if not many, of us in here who don't socialise at all with anyone particularly - we're just natural hermits. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate living in France - with all its benefits and all its interminable bureaucracy; it doesn't mean we eschew social niceties when we are out and about, and AFAIK those who choose to live in such a way have at least the rudiments of the language and deep respect for the way of life of those around them.

Life is for living and we each have to muddle along in the way that suits each of us best. If we can avoid upsetting others trying to do exactly the same, so much the better, but sometimes it doesn't happen like that, and then you do have to raise your head above the parapet to preserve/conserve your own habits. The people in France are no different, fundamentally, to any other peoples in the Western World, and IMHO we should stop even discussing that they might be: there are some gregarious, there are some hermits, there are some officious, there are many humble; whatever they all are (as indeed whatever they all are anywhere else) it behoves an incomer to fit in rather than to expect a host community to accommodate.

It DOES, however, aggravate me that there are such as described in your newspaper article and who screw things for the rest of us who quietly just want to live our lives.

The climate of your local area, as you get to know it, will guide you as to best comportment should you wish to remain there without bother - IMO.

hils
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,452 Posts
People tend to be actively involved in their communities, quietly involved or not involved. Language is secondary to the nature of the person but those who are involved in any way tend to make friends and acquaintances across cultures and language. I am quietly involved in my community and participate in many activities where I am the only anglophone involved. I also participate in activities where the people are all anglophones. It is a matter of taste and inclination but having said that, I lived many years in a community where there was an aggressive ethnic minority who wished to push their culture, language and religion down the throats of everyone else in the community. I did not approve and do not approve and am particularly careful to avoid anyone like that in the anglophone community here. MS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great post's thanks guy's.

I think Neil living in Paris (it that the real France?) would struggle here in rural France, he may do really well with the 10 to 15% who do socialise with each other, but if he wanted to fit in and become a local here, look after your family and respect the land, help each other when asked and don't start your chainsaw on Sunday's.

I wonder if he has English TV?

We have English and French TV, but we watch mostly English, are we lazy? if we buy a DVD we could watch it in French, but don't, sorry Neil. only joking, but I'm sure there are the best ex-pats out there who think we should watch French TV all the time (That's just cruel)

just a thought
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,413 Posts
When I moved to Germany, I was in an area with very few anglophone expats. There was a "British-German Friendship Club" but it was a real mix of nationalities and only met once a month anyhow. There simply were no British or American bars and no access to British television. (Pre-Internet days - having e-mail was a Big Deal then and there.)

By the time I got to France, it seemed really exciting to have "expat" groups, pubs and activities in "nearby Paris" - but bootfur has a point, Paris isn't the "real" France. As the public transport system deteriorated and the road traffic got worse and worse, hauling myself into Paris just for a meeting here and there became a whole lot less interesting. So I sought out activities here in the far suburbs (which is really semi-rural).

But in some areas, there just aren't "expat" groups and activities. I know a few people who are set up to receive English TV (i.e. Sky) but they have their reasons. I was thrilled the year that CanalSat included BBCPrime in their array of stations (mainly to catch up on Eastenders) but since they've dropped it, I must admit I haven't missed it much. Some of the French satellite channels run US series in VM, where you can choose the original soundtrack (with subtitles, but hey, I might learn something!), but I don't really watch much TV these days, with lots better entertainment at hand.

I got an e-reader specifically because I prefer to read in English in my leisure time and it's easier to find and download English language books to the reader than to try and find any more shelf space to stash physical books or to locate interesting English language books here in the bookstores.

You pick and choose how you "integrate" but I think the key thing is that you don't moan about the things that aren't available or convenient to find here in France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,452 Posts
Great post's thanks guy's. I think Neil living in Paris (it that the real France?) would struggle here in rural France, he may do really well with the 10 to 15% who do socialise with each other, but if he wanted to fit in and become a local here, look after your family and respect the land, help each other when asked and don't start your chainsaw on Sunday's. I wonder if he has English TV? We have English and French TV, but we watch mostly English, are we lazy? if we buy a DVD we could watch it in French, but don't, sorry Neil. only joking, but I'm sure there are the best ex-pats out there who think we should watch French TV all the time (That's just cruel) just a thought
That's funny! I am frenched out by the time I sit down in the evening to watch tv. If I am sitting with my feet up, I don't want to have to think. I want to zone out! (I am sure there are several people on the forum who think I am in another zone all the time!) haha MS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think neil is making a good point and I support his view, which ever country you come from, I'm thinking about the ex french colonies, who seem to do their own thing :behindsofa:

Will he have a go at them?, maybe it's not a good idea as he has put his photo with his article:eek:, but not a problem with us English and french speakers.

Keep up the good work Neil, your my hero :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
Not having seen this newspaper article you mention (where's the link?) I can only assume that I know what you are all talking about from the tone and text of your posts.

As a long term introvert who decided at 68 to change, I find introversion to be no excuse. I decided to change and set about greeting everybody I met in the street with warm welcome and found that it was returned. We still have our meals at, more or less, English hours because that fits in with the rest of our schedule and I can't stand going to bed with a full stomach and being kept awake half the night by an active digestive system.

What I do object to is foreigners of any nationality moving to another country and whinging about how it isn't like "back home" and campaigning to change it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not having seen this newspaper article you mention (where's the link?) I can only assume that I know what you are all talking about from the tone and text of your posts.

As a long term introvert who decided at 68 to change, I find introversion to be no excuse. I decided to change and set about greeting everybody I met in the street with warm welcome and found that it was returned. We still have our meals at, more or less, English hours because that fits in with the rest of our schedule and I can't stand going to bed with a full stomach and being kept awake half the night by an active digestive system.

What I do object to is foreigners of any nationality moving to another country and whinging about how it isn't like "back home" and campaigning to change it.
'Expats who don't integrate are just lazy' - The Local

hope that helps with the link?

Did you make the effort in the UK?

Because you have moved to another country, do you find that you do things you never did when you lived in you native counrty. if so are you been true to yourself or are you just doing what you think looks good to the locals and sounds good to everyone else.

I live in France not to live the way they live, because they live the way i like, which happens to be the way I am as a person, My neighbour says I'm more French than most French, I'm a republican and like a simple way of life, i take it you are very Spainish in you way of thinking and the way you live your life or do you just like the weather? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
I think Neil living in Paris (it that the real France?) would struggle here in rural France, he may do really well with the 10 to 15% who do socialise with each other, but if he wanted to fit in and become a local here, look after your family and respect the land, help each other when asked and don't start your chainsaw on Sunday's.
Adding my tuppence worth, when we move - about 3 weeks time. We are heading for rural France and don't expect any major changes in our lifestyle. We will nod to the neighbours with the occasional good morning. We will trundle along to the village fetes. We are not expecting our neighbours to become our best friends but just have some moderate social interaction.

On one of our trips to test the water we bumped into Bill - aka known as BTB (Bill The Bore) who mission in life was to learn perfect French and his day wasn't complete unless he discovered a new word that the locals hadn't used in 30 years - strangely even the Maire avoided him. But JP (the maire) and I had a great conversation on best rugby full backs, leave you to decide who was the better integrated.



Tank
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
'Expats who don't integrate are just lazy' - The Local

hope that helps with the link?

Did you make the effort in the UK?

Because you have moved to another country, do you find that you do things you never did when you lived in you native counrty. if so are you been true to yourself or are you just doing what you think looks good to the locals and sounds good to everyone else.

I live in France not to live the way they live, because they live the way i like, which happens to be the way I am as a person, My neighbour says I'm more French than most French, I'm a republican and like a simple way of life, i take it you are very Spainish in you way of thinking and the way you live your life or do you just like the weather? :)
I was born in a village about a mile from the seawall (a sort of Finisterre). We looked after each other, there was a culture of caring for one's fellow man/woman. Later I lived in towns where the attitudes were vastly different and I was never "at home" with that sort of culture. Here I live in a village and the culture here is much as it was where I was born 70+ years ago. I have come "home", albeit in a different country.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Adding my tuppence worth, when we move - about 3 weeks time. We are heading for rural France and don't expect any major changes in our lifestyle. We will nod to the neighbours with the occasional good morning. We will trundle along to the village fetes. We are not expecting our neighbours to become our best friends but just have some moderate social interaction.

On one of our trips to test the water we bumped into Bill - aka known as BTB (Bill The Bore) who mission in life was to learn perfect French and his day wasn't complete unless he discovered a new word that the locals hadn't used in 30 years - strangely even the Maire avoided him. But JP (the maire) and I had a great conversation on best rugby full backs, leave you to decide who was the better integrated.



Tank
Good luck with the move, I think you will integrate in to rural France just fine.

I think people like Neil who writes in his article about only mixing with the locals is in a way anti British and it's his way to turn his back on all things English, good luck to him. but some of us who did OK in England both work wise and friendship wise, don't feel as strong as him, some of the best people I have met have been Brits,Americans and Canadians so if i met them in France i don't say sorry can't have a drink with you because your not local, I say I'll judge you for who you are, not what country your from. just a thought
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,413 Posts
Thanks for posting the original article. It's interesting, for sure.

I get the feeling that Neil is in a particular "stage" (English term, not the French word spelled/spelt the same way) and I wonder how long he has been living in France. For one thing, he has the choice to hang out more or less exclusively with the Anglo crowd living in Paris and I take it there is a good sized Anglo crowd in and around Avignon.

Some of us live in areas where we couldn't really seek out expats of our own nationality or even just language all that easily anyhow. I suppose that makes it somewhat "easier" to integrate in the sense in which Neil means it.

For those of us married into France (i.e. married to a French national) there's a bit less choice in the matter anyhow. You have the whole array of your French spouse's friends and there is the natural tendency to have to make certain compromises in which set of customs you'll follow.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
Expats in France: this article has just come to my attention:
Ce que les expatriés aiment (ou pas) en France

Comments, anyone?

hils
Oui Mme Hils, bonne après midi

L'argent. Les expatriés aimeraient gagner mieux leur vie. La France n'obtient que la 30ème place en matière de salaire. La majorité des étrangers (57%) touche moins de 60.000 dollars par an. Seuls 2% empochent plus de 301.000 dollars annuels. Ces montant, jugés trop bas, expliquent peut-être qu'ils ont souvent du mal à trouver un logement (25ème place).
La situation économique. 64% des expatriés ne sont pas satisfaits de la situation économique de la France contre 32% d'avis positifs.
L'accueil. Les étrangers ne se sentent pas toujours les bienvenues au travail (37ème place). Côté vie privée, ce n'est pas mieux. Ils ont souvent du mal à se faire des amis (25ème place)
  • Why should they expect to be welcomed into the workplace? It will be on the minds of their [French] colleagues that the job could be done [better?] by a French person who is now unemployed with, maybe a family to support.
  • €45k sounds a pretty good rate of pay to me, what would the French person in the next desk be getting?
  • 64% of expats are not satisfied with the economic situation in France - so get out then. Were you forced at gunpoint to come to France?

The rest of the article is in much the same vein and totally meaningless unless you know the size of the sample interviewed and whether they had any particular qualifying characteristics (nationality, type of employment, etc.). MORE EXPAT WHINGERS

I always view these so-called surveys with contempt. Shortly after we arrived in Spain, there was an article that hit the media, (including some broadsheets in UK) with the headline "Half the Brits in Spain are thinking of coming home". If I tell you that the survey was carried out by a financial company that specialised in international bank transfers you immediately understand my initial scepticism and why I looked into this further. The total sample was 220 people of which only 45 responded and of those just 22 said that they might consider going back to UK. The actual statement said "Half of those who responded said etc..." but, of course, in the headline those two words were omitted. So out of 220 people only 22 (10%) said they might consider going back. The thoughts of a mere 22 people are expected to reflect the thoughts of over a million expats in Spain.

So back to the original media article. On the responses of what size sample was the article concocted on? Given that US salaries (US dollars were quoted) are often extravagant for what their work warrants, it might be expected that, in the real world, US$60,000 would be considered an excellent salary.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,806 Posts
Don't get on MY case Balders; I didn't say I agreed with anything. It just seemed relevant in the context of the thread.

btw - 45KE sounds like a massive amount relative to my poxy income; can't imagine I'd be complaining at that! (It's about 7x what I actually get, and about 4x what I could live comfortably on!) My God! are these people going to get a shock when/if they have to rely upon a pension! (Unless they're ex-UK Chairmen of a Bank or something!) It galls me that my daughter and her peers are going to be paying those extortionate amounts when their own parents are below/just above the poverty line. But that's a completely different issue ... let's not go there just now ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
Don't get on MY case Balders; I didn't say I agreed with anything. It just seemed relevant in the context of the thread.

btw - 45KE sounds like a massive amount relative to my poxy income; can't imagine I'd be complaining at that! My God! are these people going to get a shock when/if they have to rely upon a pension! (Unless they're ex-UK Chairmen of a Bank or something!) It galls me that my daughter and her peers are going to be paying those extortionate amounts when their own parents are below/just above the poverty line. But that's a completely different issue ... let's not go there just now ;)
Dearest hils, I wasn't getting on your case at all, merely having a go at the people who write that drivel and try to breed discontent.

Made the mistake yesterday of getting some blue cheese in the local shop. It was from the Asturias (northern Spain). I found it a bit on the acidic side even more so that Danish Blue. I prefer the gentler nuttier taste of Roquefort, Bleu d'Auverne or Stilton. Went to bed with acid indigestion and a generally unhappy stomach. Today my hæmorrhoids are complaining about being burnt so don't start getting on MY case! :D
 
1 - 20 of 171 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top