Confessions and Cashmere

cashmere, wine and pathfinding

Lessons Part 1

with one comment

I am an expatriate nearing my first year abroad. Here are a few small lessons on moving from Australia to France:

  1. Yes you have time differences between here https://i2.wp.com/i.chzbgr.com/completestore/2009/10/3/128990486648291259.jpgand home, 8 hours in fact. Don’t forget that when you call your mother to just have a chat. A missed 2am phone call her time sends her into a panic.
  2. Your Australian friends will call you for drunken conversations because they know you are awake. Hang up on them. If you don’t they’ll hate you at the end of the month when the phone bill arrives.
  3. Politics are worth fighting for here. Saying “you don’t care” is an offence. But the catch is when you pick a side. Right or Left side you always loose.
  4. Bread (pain) is a serious topic for conversation. Don’t say its boring or that generally you don’t eat bread.
  5. Potato is a vegetable, not a carbohydrate. They will eat potato with bread too.
  6. Talking about a hot day at 18 degrees Celsius will happen. This is not something laughable. You will dream of the past when a hot day was 32.  In winter it will also snow. So don’t pretend it’ll heat up during lunch time. Wear super thick socks and pants, not shorts, not a skirt but PANTS.
  7. Just because you moved to a European country with amazing food doesn’t mean that your husband won’t be addicted to McDonalds. In fact expect them to sneak it at least twice a week.
  8. They don’t understand Hawaiian pizza, in fact using pineapple in savoury food is nearly illegal. Asking for it in a restaurant will make you the joke of the night. (I’m even talking about sweet and sour pork!) Actually anything salty sweet is an alien concept. If you cook Apricot Chicken as a main dinner party dish. Expect weird faces and forks pushing the food all around the plate.
  9. You can make your dog only respond to your home language. In fact I recommend this; mine only listens to English commands which is great when you are in crowds, or around ass holes.
  10. People everywhere say no differently. Here be direct and expect direct. Maybe later means maybe later, not pretending to forget about you and never calling.
  11. Drinks before dinner is compulsory. If everyone is having a good time sometimes dinner is even forgotten. You will probably end up eating every piece of munchy food on that table. When I have times like these I thank myself for packing extra munchies that I can secretly go and chomp away at.  That way I look like less of a pig scavenging for every last potato chip.
  12. Learn every bad word in that second language. Doing so means that you know when someone is rude to your face. It also means that you can sing drunkenly and sub in rude words when you forget them. This is a great way to take off the heat if you don’t understand the song.
  13. People don’t understand distance here. They will tell you they are spending a week in Australia and yes they do really plan to drive from Brisbane to Cairns for a weekend. Then they’ll get down to Melbourne maybe the day after. Learn not to snort or laugh. They can’t help that their country is smaller.

There is so many more that I can think of but I’ll leave it to that for now.
Chelsea B xx
What are your lessons learnt from relocating? How do you manage these changes?

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Written by confessionsandcashmere

June 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm

One Response

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  1. living in korea for 2 years was a great experience… just the general cultural differences are enough to fuel a blog forever…. my favorite was the personal space issue…. oh lord… they have no concept of it. and garlic breath.


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