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I am going to ask you to put yourself in my shoes for a minute. Let’s say you start a conversation with someone. After a couple of questions, this person asks you:

“- Are you French?”
Well, it is complicated. You are French, and you are also British. You have Italian blood, and part of your Italian family emigrated to the US. What would you answer? You are from all over the place.
This is my dilemma. Usually, I say that ‘it is complicated’, or that I have ‘dual citizenship’. But the truth is that I don’t really feel French any more. That said, I don’t want to give a long-winded explanation. What to do? I usually give as short as possible an answer, such as ‘I was brought up in France’ or ‘half’.
It is funny how, having lived in London for more than a decade now, I keep being asked whether I am French. What is it going to take for me to be considered British? My children go to British schools. My older one is a talented sprinter and will try to get into team GB this spring. Come on, it doesn’t get any more British than this, does it? Am I French? Am I British? I don’t know. So tell me, what would you say?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • That must be a European problem…
    I was born in New York. And, while I have not lived in New York in over four decades (approaching the next one, too)- and have lived in the Commonwealth (Virginia) for nearly forty years, I am NOT a Virginian. (First of all, they wouldn’t let me be one. My mother and father would have to be born here for that appellation to stick.) Nope, I am basically a New Yorker who has lived across the US. (I don’t count 3 or 6 month stays overseas for anything.)
    So, as far as I am concerned, you are French. You were born there, your formative years were spent there, and only later did you migrate elsewhere…

  • Say “I’m a melange.” Or move to the U.S. where most people are a mix and many like me don’t even know their heritage. Then it will be enough to say, “I’m a mix” and that ends the question.

  • Penelope J

    I know how annoying it can be to be asked this question but I don’t think they will ever stop asking it. Not as long as people perceive your accent. I get this constantly in the US. Am I British and then they want to talk about England though I haven’t lived there for over 40 years. I’ve started answering that I’m Mexican.

  • Same here, completely at a loss and a bit all over the place. I usually say something like ‘I’m continental European’. And I definitely feel like a Londoner but not English.
    That was helpful, wasn’t it 😉

  • AnnMullen

    Tell them you are a Heinz 57 and then start a conversation about something else. I don’t care how long a family lives in one place, they all came from somewhere else at one time or another.

  • Well said, Ann. That’s something I like about the American mindset: they don’t care about where you are from. Maybe, after all, I should move there!

  • Have we done something wrong Deborah? I sometimes wonder…

  • We are from all over the place, right? Sometimes, I think that I should get rid of my accent, if it is at all possible!

  • I like the ‘I am a mix’ answer. I will give it a try…

  • Maybe I should just reply with another question, like “where are YOU from?”

  • Well, things are a little bit more complicated than this, Roy. I might still be French, but I have brought up British children. How is this even possible?

  • Anne

    I usually say ” I’m originally from France but I’ve lived her so long that I’m nearly Irish now!” Identity is a tricky thing though, because contrary to you, I still consider myself as French ( actually it’s more complicated because I’m from Brittany so I am Breton first!), it’s the Irish people who think I’ve become one of them, maybe they’re right… Usually for French people, it’s the accent that gives it away, that’s probably why people ask you if you’re French in the first place!! My husband is from Mauritius and manages to speak in a strong Dublin accent, so when people asked where he was from ( and that was purely because his skin colour, not after 2 questions!), he just replied : What do you mean, where I’m from? I’m from Dublin! They would shut up after that !

  • Carol

    I guess people are just curious. I always ask people where they are from, even if they don’t have an accent.