I moved to London 8 years ago. Basically, this means that I am not French any longer, because whenever I go back I don’t fit in. For starters, everybody is sulking there. Not nice.
But I am not British yet. I might get a British passport eventually, but, let’s not kid ourselves here, I will never truly be British, which can be a bit frustrating sometimes. That said, on the whole, I am much happier here. Something to do with having to go outside of my comfort zone and do new stuff, such as working in English and setting up my own business.
To cut a long story short, when we moved to London 8 years ago I had a choice: I could change husband or change job. I changed job and could have become depressed, bitter and twisted because the new job was not very interesting. But I didn’t. In London, I started to mingle with lots of interesting people of all nationalities and I realised that there were many ways to be happy. And -shock horror! – some don’t involve climbing up the Corporate ladder. So I resigned and set up my business. I haven’t looked back ever since. In fact, I think that I wasn’t cut out for the Corporate world and, funnily enough, moving to London made me realise it.
And let’s be honest here: living in London is simply liberating. In Paris, I was always on a diet because all my friends were so skinny that I felt guilty to love food as much as I do (especially chocolate and olive oil…). Well, over here, I feel thin (relatively speaking of course) and I enjoy my food and therefore my life a lot more. Furthermore, In Paris, all women have to wear some make-up to go to work. It is an unwritten social rule. Well, not in London. I can go out with bags under my eyes. And I also can go to the corner shop in my PJs and no-one will mutter a word. How cool is this?
There is also something about my strong French accent that the Brits love. Even as I am dangerously nearing 40, British men occasionally ask me whether I know them from somewhere. Who said the Brits were stuck-up? Occasionally, I get hit on. It’s something to do with being French. Apparently it gives an aura of sexiness. I didn’t do anything special for it but hey, let’s see whether it lasts until I am 80. I doubt it very much but you never know.
Of course, we struggled with the schools and the NHS. But you have got to love London in spite of everything: nice parks, lovely museums, and a certain sense of humour that, over time, I learned to love ( it was a long process though …).
In short, I don’t believe that we will go back to France. We love our life here way too much!
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