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|Moving To France With Your Children
My French friends in the provincial south west of France where I live, commented recently on the proliferation of estate agents in our small town and they felt that there are more Anglo-Saxons settling down here. They tell me that they can often spot un anglais miles away: apparently it is the socks, sandals and pale legs that are the give away signs! how do you identify an Englishman from afar during the winter-time when they are wearing shoes and long trousers? I inquired. The reply from these French natives was immediate: the newly-arrived Englishman has a bewildered expression on his face he looks lost!
For those who arrive here in the summer and then find themselves in the same town a few months later,[url=http://cheapnikemercurialvaporsoccercleats.webmium.com/][b]cheap nike mercurial vapor soccer cleats[/b][/url], yes, I imagine they would look taken aback by the transformation of the surroundings. Our town undergoes nothing short of a metamorphosis in the winter months. One can easily picture the colourful bustle of the streets during July or August when many locals take the opportunity to sit in the sun in the town square to sip their citron press The place is positively vibrant over the summer months. These are days of non-stop music and street entertainment during the many fetes and festivals. Boutiques selling postcards,[url=http://woolrichoutletitalia.halod.com/][b]Woolrich Parka Woolrich Outlet Woolrich Arctic Parka Woolrich Giubbotti uomo online[/b][/url], local pottery and even garlic spring up overnight to feed the demand of passing visitors. Once the evenings start to close in and the rain begins to fall however,[url=http://duveticaonlineitaly.albirank.net/][b]duvetica jackets shop online[/b][/url], these same shops disappear and the locals go straight home from work and shutter themselves inside. Just outside the town centre too,[url=http://woolricharcticparkaherenoutlet.olimx.com/][b]Woolrich Arctic Parka Heren Outlet[/b][/url], the vines look ravaged once the grapes have been harvested. The place that looks so welcoming in summer looks rather unfriendly and lonely during the rest of the year.
As far as my French friends are concerned the newly-arrived English wandering round town looking slightly dazed, earn both their sympathy and admiration. Sympathy because for the French, life is so tied up with the other family members both the close and the extended family that as far as they are concerned, life must be a hardship spent apart. My son decision to pursue his post baccalaur studies abroad, rather than continue them here in France,[url=http://woolrichswedense.albirank.net/][b]woolrich online shop sweden[/b][/url], was met with surprise and disbelief by some since most young students of the same age come home for the weekend whenever they possibly can. One friend even reprimanded me for not going with my son, to settle him in and buy his pots and pans!
It is true that you can feel a little left out of things here during the ponts or long bank holiday weekends because many of them are based around the family and the extended family. One example is Toussaint or All Saints Day on November 1st when families get together to place flowers on their family graves, followed by a long,[url=http://duveticaonlineitaly.albirank.net/][b]Duvetica italia[/b][/url], drawn-out family lunch. Pentecost is the time of the year for family reunions too, when communions and confirmations take place,[url=http://woolricharcticparkaherenoutlet.olimx.com/][b]Woolrich Arctic Parka Outlet[/b][/url], again followed by a huge meal.
These occasions are more than meals however. They are opportunities for contact and exchange between family members, and when my French friends express their sympathy for the foreigner abroad,[url=http://monclerjackenoutletch.albirank.net/][b]Moncler Outlet Österreich[/b][/url], it is because they know how difficult it must be to know how things work without the help and support of close ones. The French themselves are the first to admit to how frustrating their bureaucracy can be and how difficult their codes of behaviour must seem to outsiders. This explains why they would go so far as to admire those who have chosen to settle down around them. French mothers where I live tell me how amazed they are that English families are enrolling their children at the local schools: admiration because they themselves know how daunting option choices and decisions on which course of study and where to do it can be, especially without a helping hand.
It is no easy task making new friends and the French themselves settling into small provincial towns are faced with the same problem. One reason is that local people already have their family and friends from childhood to occupy their time. For those within driving distance from a university,[url=http://duveticaaustraliaoutlet.halod.com/][b]duvetica jackets aliaoutlet outlet shop[/b][/url], cultural centre or international school where there exists an enthusiasm on both sides to get together, it may be easier.
As with all things in small town France and meeting new people is no exception there is a certain way of doing things and, when I first arrived, I made a number of faux-pas. One of them was that I was too forward and keen. I had been introduced to a woman who was my age and I felt that I wanted to get to know her better. Since she lived in the same quartier, I knocked at the door one day when I was passing by and although she let me in, I realised that I had done something wrong. I now know that I should have phoned first to arrange a call because it is only very close friends who in also made blunders phoning at the wrong time of the day because it is understood that there are certain times that one should and should not phone: never before ten o in the morning whereas l du repas (meal time) seems to be the most acceptable time.
When you live abroad, you take your own social codes and ways of behaviour with you and they are not always appropriate. Take our English habit of offering a drink to make visitors feel welcome at any time of the day. It breaks the ice when you have just met someone. However, I have been laughed at when I have offered a cup of coffee just before lunch time and I have had strange looks when I have suggested a glass of wine at six o For the French, these were both inappropriate times. On the other hand, whereas I feel uncomfortable standing around, my French friends will quite happily chat in a supermarket or on the way back from school if they want to talk to me.
The opportunities for meeting new people are difficult to recognise at first. There is no local pub and, in my town at least, it would not be the done thing for a group of married girlfriends to meet once a week in the evening at the local bar. School events are hardly the occasion for parents to meet socially either, because there are so few fund-raising events. Parents even at state primary schools are asked to make a fixed to help pay for extras. True, our local primary school traditionally throws an annual bingo session but let face it holding a conversation with someone shouting out numbers in the background, is hardly an ideal place for meeting new friends! Even when your child throws a birthday party,[url=http://billigeparajumpersjackendamen.albirank.net/][b]parajumpers outlet[/b][/url], parents drop their children off and tend not to want to come in because they know you At the workplace, colleagues may have a quiet glass of champagne over a Galette des Rois in the New Year but group events seem to be occasional affairs. In my experience,[url=http://parajumpersoutletitalia.albirank.net/][b]parajumpers Piumini online[/b][/url], the same has been true with sporting groups that I have joined.
So given the obstacles,[url=http://duveticaaustraliaoutlet.halod.com/][b]duvetica jackets aliaoutlet outlet[/b][/url], how have I make any local friends not counting my fellow expatriates over the last 20 years? The answer is that I clutch at any opportunity to have a chat with someone new. Then I follow their cue and although it is a very slow process, it seems to be the one that works best. I take the time to talk to people outside the school gate, at the local vide-greniers (second-hand sales), at the market and at church.
When the French meet someone with whom they feel they have something in common, you may be invited for tea at five o because that is when the French think that we English drink tea. Alternatively, you may be invited to morning coffee. If all goes well you should invite the person back and do invite back because if you do not, the French think that you are snubbing them! You may invite them for tea, but for this return visit you could invite the whole family for an ap in the early evening for drinks and light refreshments and like that the husbands and children get to know one another, too. If the chemistry is right,[url=http://giuseppezanottimenssneakers.webmium.com/][b]http://giuseppezanottimenssneakers.webmium.com/[/b][/url], a dinner invitation may well follow from your new acquaintances.
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