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Leaving Las Vegas

4 May

There is an actual reason why i have neglected to write lately.

It’s because i don’t want to see the things needed to be said in print. It makes them become something i have to deal with.

The truth is, i have decided to go back to Australia.

For reals.

I’m not actually sad at all about the decision. I made a choice, i am happy with the choice and i know it’s the right thing for me right now.

Though however sure one is, it doesn’t take away the sick, hollow feeling following me around in my stomach. It’s been there for weeks and i can’t work out what it is exactly.

But you know i’m gonna try and analyse it right!?

Ever since i’ve been here in France, it’s felt like i’ve had these two parallel lives, running simultaneously, only on opposite sides of the world. I never felt like not being in Australia meant that particular life stopped. But now, not being in France makes me realise that there’s a very real chance that this life will stop. The life i’ve made for myself here, well, i’m never going to get that back. I’m never going to be here living the same simple yet complicated existence, never going to have all the same people here at the same time. This life is seemingly over.

I know it’s up to me to keep my friendships alive, which i have no doubt i will try (very hard!) to do, but i just can’t shake the feeling that some of them needed more time. It’s hard to say goodbye to important people in your life, with the possibility that you’ll never share the same city again.

And then there are the people to whom it is too late to say the things you’ve been wanting to say (or perhaps the things that you didn’t realise you wanted to say, until now) because saying them now feels a little futile and pointless.

Right now i have all the time in the world. Work has finished, i’m winding down and trying to get everything ready to leave. But even though i’m on holidays, i find myself unable to relax, even for one minute.

I feel excitement for the move, to be sure, but at this very minute i just feel a huge sense of loss.

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How to Attract An Australian

29 Mar

I noticed someone ended up on this blog the other day from having googled ‘how to attract Australian men’.

And to you, i say, “get back to me when you find out”.

But what i can offer is this. Unlike French men, who seem to go for anyone who seems like a bitch, i think in Australia it is rather the opposite. Ah ha, that’s right – be nice. I’m not sure if it is actually as easy as that, but it is certainly the essential ingredient.

To you, dear google-er (is that a word yet?), if you read this, and you are indeed a nice person, you should have no trouble attracting yourself an Australian.

Let me know when it happens 😉

Competitive Advantage

14 Feb

Something’s been bugging me for a very long time. Well, ever since i’ve been able to speak French. Which lets be honest isn’t actually a very long time.

I have very strong feelings on the matter of cultural identity – that is – of protecting who you are and what makes you different. I feel that it is something i see people losing here.

It’s possible that the tide may be turning, perhaps with a younger, more globally educated generation, however there is a very heavy focus in France, on the idea that one must not only speak English fluently, if to speak at all, but also that one must adopt and ‘accent’ of sorts. The idea being that one does not sound ‘French’ when speaking English.

I don’t know where to begin with how wrong i think this is as a concept. How much harder does learning a language need to be? It’s any wonder people are scared to speak it (when for the most part they speak very well – how many times have you asked the question to get a response of ‘un peu‘ and then you are standing in the shop having a good old chat for an hour) when mastering the language is only half the battle.

I actually thought my housemate’s boyfriend was English for 6 months before realising he was actually French, but had passed 1 month in England when he was 18. I mean come on! Imagine if your sister came back from a month traveling around America and started speaking like she was on the set of Gossip Girl!

I find it just so inherently wrong that the French turn their nose up at the idea of sounding ‘French’. I don’t know whether it is an arrogance born of the fact that another language is not worthy of them using their own accent, or whether it just another horrible side effect of an education system that demands perfection yet never never acknowledges at job well done.

There was an English teacher at the school i worked at previously, who spoke with some sort of weird distorted British, so i made the mistake of asking if she had grown up in Britain – the look of pride on this woman’s face expanded right to the tip of her head and i realised that she had never been, but that it was something she had been cultivating for a very long time. Although of course she told me she had ‘no idea what i was talking about’.

There’s a guy at my current workplace who speaks in a cockney accent that is SO littered with grammatical errors, that it is just completely confusing. And these people are teaching English to the future of France!

The thing is, the French don’t know what they are missing. They have no idea how incredibly charming it is when they speak. I have known women to swoon simply from having been asked directions by a Frenchman in the street (may have been myself, no comment).

I don’t know what the root of the fascination is with deciding on an accent and cultivating it to perfection, but i don’t like it.

I like it even less when the shoe is on the other foot. I am criticised almost daily for my accent not being French enough. I really do understand that the more “French’ i try to sound, the easier it will be to understand me. I get that. But i simply abhor the idea of trying to disguise the fact that i am a foreigner. I am not French!! I am Australian!! And i don’t care who knows! If i speak with a god damn accent it’s because of that!

I don’t seem to have any major problems being understood, unless of course the person i’m talking to has zero interest in understanding me. The novelty of my accent has both baffled (what do you mean you’re not English, what do you mean you’re not American?) and charmed the absolute pants of people, so much so that once on a date with a guy, i could not get a word out of him because every time i said something he just went bright red and kind of giggled and said ‘j’adore votre accent‘ and then giggled some more. God, it was kinda awkward that night in retrospect.

Anyway, my point is, that i feel sad and frustrated when people tell me their pronunciation is terrible when i can understand them perfectly. And i feel sad and frustrated when people tell me i need to work on my accent being more French – when they can understand me perfectly.

We need to retain our sense of who we are, and where we came from, because we all have special quirks and charms. Charms that are going to get lost if we don’t protect them. They are a helpful advantage, not a hinderance. In a world that is getting smaller and smaller, everybody needs to work on their competitive advantage.

Soon we will all be beige AND sound the same.

Fete de la Clementine

14 Jan

Who’d have thought 4kgs of Clementines would feed so many gypsies?

Wandering though the market this morning, i got a hankering for a couple of clementines to eat on the walk home. I was  unaware that, at this time of year, one cannot buy just ‘a couple’ of clementines. And why would you when you can have a kilo for 1 euro anyway?

I wandered around, discreetly looking for the vendor with the plumpest, juiciest fruit on show, but i must have let my guard down and made eye contact (crucial market error). Before i even knew what had happened, the sheer insistence of a particularly industrious saleswoman saw me walking away with 4 kilos of clementines. (Not to mention 5 punnets of strawberries – i’ve no idea what the hell i’m going to do with those). I’m sure i said i didn’t need so many, but she insisted that i did.

I’m not even sure how much i paid the woman, it all happened so quickly that the moment is a bit of a blur. But nevertheless, i set off, still trying to process what had happened, with my 4 kilo bag wondering how the hell i was going to continue to walk in a straight line. The weight of the bag was threatening to pull out my shoulder from the socket.

But alas, it was not for very long that i was breaking under the weight, it seemed i was now a veritable magnet for gypsies. I don’t recall ever even seeing any gypsies along the boulevard Voltaire, but trust me they are there.

And boy do they love clementines.

So much so that they were really pissed off at me when i only offered them one or two each…. apparently their husbands love them, their kids love them and their neighbours love them too.

At least now i don’t have to worry about googling 20 useful recipes for Clementines – i only have 3 left.

And now i know why you can’t just buy two.

Into The Wild…

13 Jan

Although it was extremely difficult and dangerous, let it be noted that i have escaped from the stronghold of my amazing sunny holiday, and FINALLY, i am back to the cold monotony of my life.

Thank god.

I arrived back in Paris Monday afternoon, after approximately 26 hours sitting next to a fat guy in a puffer jacket (sounds bad, but in reality quite good as he couldn’t even tell i was sleeping on his arm) to a spectacularly cold, rainy outlook. But it was fine, as i had moving house and work to look forward to that very afternoon.

But i shouldn’t be so jaded. At least i have a home now!

So here i am, in my new home (which is wonderful), soaking in the first morning i have to myself since i have been back, and finally reflecting on a wonderful holiday with my wonderful friends and family and kind of questioning what the hell i am doing sitting here, on my bed, in Paris.

Maybe this is the point where i have an Alexander Supertramp revelation and scribble in my notebook ‘happiness only real when shared’.

Let’s hope i don’t accidentally swallow any poisoned coffee while i continue to pontificate the meaning of life….

Just in the nick of time…

17 Dec

Well, you will pleased to hear (hopefully!) that i have finally found a new home. It was getting tense. I always feel like if i just keep positive and believe things will work out, they will. But this was getting pretty damn close to the sharp rotating blade this time.

*raising fist* “Damn you fate!!”

But voila, it’s sorted itself out with less than 24 hours to departure. And conveniently the bedroom becomes available the very day i fly back into Paris. It’s such a relief that now i can enjoy my holiday without the overbearing sense that i’ll be coming home to a place where i have no home. (Not that i’m not used to that feeling, i’m just a little tired of it – sorry about the posts of doom!)

But now i’m feeling good. It’s amazing how laying one little rock on the ground can change the entire trajectory of your thoughts. In the back of my mind, returning to Australia this time felt less like a holiday and more like a location scout for the inevitable deposit of my failed life in France.

Not anymore. Now i have one hurdle jumped, albeit with a bit of a knee graze, now i can concentrate on the rest of them from the comfort of my own room.

 

 

Candy floss and mid air flying…

14 Dec

I am in a state of disarray.

Every element of stability in my life right now is sitting on a chair in an amusement park ride. One that spins left and right AND up and down. One that is operated by a man sporting a cigarette and an ominous mustache.

I am off to Australia for Christmas on Saturday, which will be an amazing break, holiday, moment of temporary sanity, but i’m not sure that my trip will allow the ride to stop.

I think it’s more likely that it will be a temporary mid air pause – like the mid air suspension that takes place while some child at the base is alighting their carriage crying, and vomiting on their father’s feet.

It is silent waiting up there at the top, you can hear distant noise, and you know what’s coming, but it is peaceful. There’s nothing else you can do so you just sit, enjoy the rest, and wait for the ride to begin again.

I don’t even know what this elaborate fairground metaphor is trying to say, aside from the fact that my head is spinning and i wanna get off the ride.

The only concern then is when i am able to finally get off, and the adrenaline wears away, am i only going to be screaming for more?

Can i really ever leave the amusement park? Or am i just not that type of girl?