Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Where Do I Go From here?

Where do I belong? I don’t really know. I would like to be able to say that I am a ‘citizen of the world’, but the sad reality is that I am still very French, and becoming more British by the day. How can I tell? Well, little by little, I started to notice some changes in me. It came gradually, and I didn’t see it at first. But here it is: I am going native. And I have identified the main signs of going native. Please reassure me and tell me I am not the only one. I am being brutally honest here…
1. I keep criticising the tabloid press but can’t help having a look at the Dailymail online every day. Especially during my lunch. I know. But, you see, I am telling it as it is;

2. I love having eggs and bacon for breakfast. No more croissants for me, thank you very much. Because when I have eggs for breakfast, I don’t have this pang of hunger at 11 am. See, maybe I was born to be British;
3. I don’t judge any more. OK, let’s be frank: I judge less. If I see female friends with huge granny pants, Spanx, Visible Panty Line, or even without any underwear under the yoga pants, I don’t say a word. Who am I to judge? If it makes them happy, it can’t be that bad, right? That said, if I see a guy wearing a suit and sport socks, I still judge him immediately. I told you, I am still French. Or maybe it is just a classic case of double standard?
4. I tend to forget my coat at home. I used to be tightly wrapped up all the time, but not anymore. Maybe I got used to the British weather. What a shocker!
5. When something has gone pear-shaped, like, for instance, it is pouring during a birthday party in the park, I tend to say that it could be worse. ” At least it isn’t snowing, right?”. I don’t know where this is coming from, I must admit. But here it is.
6. The other day, I went to buy my Sunday newspapers. I gave the money to my newsagent, and said something like “Here you are, Darling!”. That’s it, it has happened: I have called someone Darling. In a completely innocent way, for the record.
7. When I travel to Paris, I am disappointed not to find a Pret or a coffee shop at every corner of the street. Having a coffee in a French bar has become a depressing experience. When did it all happen?
8. When I was growing up, in France, one of my treats was Pepito biscuits. Now I talk about Digestives. Times have changed.
9. I want to text my French friends in English. It is just easier. Sometimes I even do it. The words come to me in English. I hope that I am not losing my mind!
10. I seem to start all my sentences by ‘Sorry’ or ‘Excuse-me’. What is going on?

So, what’s next? Are such changes normal? I am starting to worry now.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • Are you moaning enough? The Brits are terrible moaners. 🙂

    • Really? Worse than the French? I don’t think so. I believe that the French moan more, don’t you think?

  • At the end of the day, who doesn’t love a good rant?
    Going native? Perhaps, just getting comfortable and relaxed with where you are.

    • We all indeed love a good rant. But actually, the French moan a lot too. It is probably one of the things the Brits and the French have in common.

    • It’s certainly one of the things you and I have in common. That’s one of the primary things my blog is all about, ranting away. LOL

  • I enjoyed reading the post. French or British, I love both of their culture and lifestyles and their ACCENT <3 _ <3

  • So funny, Muriel!

    • Thank you Julie. What about you? Are you becoming more French?

  • I love pepito biscuits, but I eat digestives too 🙂 You’re a probably becoming a little more British than you thought, nothing wrong with that! You are just well integrated, and that’s a good thing

    • I know. I am not French any more, but not quite British yet. A nightmare.

  • Number 5 is by far the British thing I’ve embraced the most wholeheartedly. My 3 year-old daughter has also gone completely native. I asked her once if the swimming pool water was warm and she said ‘it’s not cold!’, which is… something!

    You haven’t gone native until you’ve called a complete stranger ‘love’, especially a waitress. That’s way worse than calling someone Darling imo. The first time someone called me love, I vowed that I would never ever say it. So far so good!

    • You have never said ‘Love’. Interesting. Just like you, I have never said ‘Love’ to someone in London. I stop at ‘Darling’. And my daughters are always half naked too…It drives me mad, actually.

  • Maybe you’re going through the change!

  • Acculturation is the norm. The more you live in a certain enviironment, the more it becomes YOUR environment…
    Either live with it (pun intended) or move…

    • I am slowly getting there, Roy. Slowly but surely, as you can see…

  • Oh you’re such a ‘Darling’ dear Muriel! 🙂

  • Digestives are the way to go, particularly when smothered with dark chocolate. Hobnobs also knock the socks off Pepitos. I agree with Sarah though – if you’re not moaning, you’re not 100% English yet 🙂

    • Really? How come you don’t think that the French moan more? Because I do. Maybe I am missing something here.

  • A really nice post, thank you for writing this, really enjoyed it! I would say that (basically on my vast experience of three days in Paris six years ago!) that the British like moaning more but Parisians are, if they want, particularly skilled at rudeness.

    Don’t get me wrong, virtually every person we met in Paris was very polite and nice (especially bearing in mind my poor French!), but there was maybe two waiters/waitresses that had rudeness down to an art that a British person could never manage!

    • Glad you liked it! As for waiters/waitresses, I can explain: whereas over here waiting is seen as a ‘student job’ most of the time, it is considered to be a career in France. As a result, waiters do tend to be, well, less flexible in my home country. That’s my explanation!

  • Welcome to the club Muriel… I went out today in sandals and short sleeve. That would never has happened when I only moved to UK. At that time I was thinking that my flatmate wearing sandals, t-shirt and scarf on the trip to the supermarket (by overground train) was completely out of his mind… It was December (!)

    • What has happened to us Margot! I have just bumped into a lamppost while I was texting, and I said sorry to the lamppost. That’s it, I am British!

  • Haha digestives and a good cuppa 🙂

  • I’ve been in London 7 years and counting now and I always have to fight the urge to speak to my friends / family in English – when I do, I have a mental image of Jean-Claude Van Damme – it seems to stop it! ;0)

  • Haha, yes, starting with ‘Sorry’. Nobody is really sorry, but it would be impolite, right? When I moved to London, i wondered why people were tutting at me at the bus stop. I didn’t realise there was an unpoken-about queue, regardless of what bus you’re waiting for. Two years later, I was tutting the newcomers in the same way! Meanwhile, here in La Clusaz, it’s back to barging, like in Australia. Fine by me!

    • Muriel Demarcus

      The social rules are different. that said, you are right, queuing is an art this side of the Channel. I am not are I have fully understood it…

    • There are different urban rules, right? It takes some time to get it!