Posted by / Category London /

I learned the hard way that despite my brand new passport I will never be truly British. That said, the worst comments I get usually come from friends and family back in France. And to make matters even worse, I keep hearing them again and again. Frankly, it is becoming a bit tiring. Here they are…

1. ‘Now you are a tax exile!’ Well, here is a newsflash: I have to pay taxes in London too…and as I am renting out my flat in France, I still have to pay taxes there. Double the red tape for me. Not very efficient for a tax exile, right?
2. ‘Don’t you know any cheap hotels in London?’ Nothing is cheap in London. Don’t come here for cheap holidays. A single zone 1 tube ticket costs £4.70.  If you find a deal that’s too good to me true, well, it probably is. £20 won’t get you a night in Central London. This much I know.

3. In the same vein, some so-called friends have called after years of silence to tell me something like ‘as you will be in France for Xmas/Easter/summer -take your pick-, can we stay in your house?’. As much as I respect the if-you-don’t-ask-you-don’t-get concept, the answer is no. Just have a look at my rental deposit. I will not risk it for you. Sorry
4. ‘My daughter would like to become an au-pair to learn to speak English. Do you know a family for her?’ I have heard this one countless times. Let me spell it out for you: I am not an au-pair agency. I often end up giving a list of suitable companies. A thank you would be nice, for a change.
5. ‘You must be tired of never seeing the sun’ Well, the weather is broadly similar than in Paris, so please give me a break.
6. ‘Take some more bread, you don’t have any in London’ Wrong again. I have a French boulangerie just around the corner. And it is open seven days a week. Between you and me, it is even better than in France.
7. ‘You must be a banker and make millions’ Shame I didn’t know. What’s next? That I won the lottery?
8 ‘ How can you trust the British? They lie through their teeth!’ Do they really? I kind of like them. So much that I am British too, now.
9 ‘A rosbif rented out the house next door. He is from London. Maybe you know him?’ Well, it is highly unlikely: we are more than 12 millions in London. Yes, 12 millions. Next question?
10. ‘You studied in France. You owe it to your home country to come back.’ What do I do with my husband and children? Do I just drop them and leave?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I usually don’t get requests for au-pairs, what I get are requests for work experience from people I barely know, like a 2nd cousin I last saw when he was 12, but suddenly his mum ( that I haven’t seen for 10 years either) remembers that I live abroad… As if I knew every company in the country… Once, one of my friends actually accepted to take on this guy, who was my brother’s friend’s son (!), for an IT internship. Long story short, but when everything was nearly finalised, he decided not to go ahead with the work experience!! I felt really bad and swore I would never help anyone again. Some people really don’t have any manners…

    • I get the requests for work experiences too, and it drives me mad. Actually, I have stopped helping people. I give them a couple of sites where they can leave their CVs, and I move on. It is indeed unbelievable how some people behave…

  • I’ve had requests to help find people jobs too. As if I was remotely interested in doing somebody’s homework for them.
    The tax exile one and ‘you owe it to your home country to come back’. OMG, really? Since when does anyone ‘owe’ anything to anyone? I’ve heard something similar before and I can’t get my head around this idea that somehow where you were born and where you studied puts you in some sort of debt as if there were strings attached. It makes me want to tell people to eff off very loudly :-p

    • Same here. That said, I have learned that there is no point arguing. I just smile and nod. It is impossible to fight the cliches, right?

  • I get requests from parents who want to put their kid in a British family for language immersion instead of paying to go through an agency. I warn them about the risks and tell them it’s better to go through an agency when all’s said and done.

    • You are too kind. I just give them the names of some agencies, and let them do their own work.

  • I love these, I get some of these from French friends and family despite being British! I had a lot of “friends” from the UK calling me when we lived right by the beach in Nice – maybe I should have moved to Pas de Calais instead of the French Riviera 😉 However if I hear another “joke” about the rain/grey/cold of London I will scream – you don’t move to London for the weather, if you do you’re a bloody idiot!

    • It is amazing what some people believe they can get away with, right? I have to say that I have less and less patience for this!

  • Great article. It is so true.
    I’m kind of fed up with the food thing as well: “oh ma pauvre, how do you get by with their food? They don’t know how to eat right?”
    So I usually reply: Well actually we are quite fine for food here and the service is friendly (remember f.r.i.e.n.d.l.y)

    • They will never understand us French in London. That’s just the way it is. I have come to the conclusion that there is no point in explaining that we have everything we need in London. They don’t get it.

  • They’re right when they tell you not to trust us Brits, we are a bit slippery.

    • Seems to me you have something to tell us…Why would you say this? I would love to know more…

  • Haha… very funny. My situation is similar (different pair of countries), I can sympathize. :))