Monday, November 02, 2009
Life in France - how do you define integration?
There have been some spikey "letters to the editor" in The Connexion recently about people buying & selling British food in France.
It (falsely) leads you to believe that there are only two types of expats living over here. Those who don't want anything to do with Great Britain or the Brits in France and those who are happy importing their sausages, watching Sky and going to the golf club for a Sunday roast.
People get incredibly indignant over even the smallest issues and it got me thinking about our life out here.
On one hand I earn my living in euros and pay way too much to the state by way of TVA, tax and cotisations. Our kids go to local school and most of our friends here are French. On Friday night we had a dinner party where we didn't speak a word of English, all produce was bought at the local market and we discussed everything from Sarkozy/De Villepin/Chirac to how this year's PTA aren't as active as last year's.
On the other hand I spent Saturday watching English sport on the BBC and tonight we have (English) friends coming round to watch a Prison Break triple header on dvd. We also take the girls to McDonalds once a month and I'd have no hesitation at all in going to the British food stall in Cognac market if I fancied a pork pie or a Curly Wurly.
It seems wrong to me to judge others by how they wish to lead their lives. Life in France isn't better or worse than in the UK it's just different.
I do feel that those who don't attempt to learn the language or integrate are missing out on huge tracts of life over here....I also think that it's rude to live in a country and to make no attempt at communicating in the national language.
However, if someone wants to operate (or shop at) a stall selling produce from the UK then best of British to them - particularly if they could get hold of those little licorice sweeties I had as a child!