Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

What is going on? I am spending a couple of days in France and it seems that, well, I am standing out. I have taken (some of) my Britishness with me, and it shows. I feel like an outsider. Not nice.

Let me explain. Whenever I meet someone, I ask (in French) ‘How are you?’ Or ‘How are you doing?’ I had two, well, interesting replies today. The first one, from my father, was ‘you know how I am’. The second one, from the shopkeeper, was ‘it is none of your business’. Right. Sounds like my question was a miss then. Ok, lesson learned.
The second one was at the wheel. You see, I don’t do road rage. I respect speed limitations and if a fellow driver is in a difficult position, I will stop to let him/her pass. My mother, who was sitting next to me, was ballistic. She asked me why I had stopped to help the poor guy who had been waiting for so long, because, according to her, I shouldn’t have: I had priority (seriously, who cares?). She went on to illustrate this point a couple of hours later when she was driving ( I don’t think she will let me drive ever again) when she thought that the car in front of us wasn’t going fast enough. She then drove as close as possible to it, and started tooting her horn to try to make it go faster. Suffice to say that it didn’t work. All she got was a middle finger of the other driver. I didn’t understand why she was so worked up about the whole thing. In fact, I still don’t.
What has happened to me? I used to live here. I knew how to behave. Well, not any more. And it feels weird. I really don’t know where I belong any more. Is it good? Is it bad? Well, it is just me.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London