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Blind date this weekend?

Posted by gerry9_mc - Created: 16 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 11 to 20)

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Posted by dublinmike-182617 - 16 years ago

I am struggling to find anything to agree with in the anti-French tirade. In fact I can't. Integration is about finding companionship within a group of your own peers, or people with whom you might have something in common.....albeit even a little.

So if you are a Londoner, would you expect to integrate with the farming community in Devon? Or a Glaswegian crusty hoping to integrate with the splendid Citizens of Surrey.......I think not. Being Irish in England (specifically) is a story I hear often.

You always have to consider that integration implies a dual passage of communication. The ex-pat often expects a one-way flow from the 'native' in terms of being made welcome, getting housewarming presents(!), being invited around etc etc.

To integrate successfully in any new community you need to nail your colours to the mast first. This is achieved by being unfailingly friendly and smiley, practicing random acts of kindness, and most importantly being of some 'use' to the locals. Whether that simply be that your hair is an interesting colour, or your dog is good-looking.

It seems important that you also have to be someone that brings something to the equation and makes a positive addition to the community.

Personallly I have experienced nothing like some of the unfortunate peeps who posted on the subject. I have found the Franch on the Cote to be charming, helpful, witty and very welcoming.

Mike

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Posted by stirrer2-182859 - 16 years ago

Some people will moan wherever they are and whatever they do. They think they are superior and have better morals and higher standards, they look for faults in everyone and everything, in truth, in my opinion, they usually have some hideous physical defect either hidden or not.
If you cant be happy on the Cote d'Azur, then I feel sorry for you.

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Posted by gaella - 16 years ago

I have lived and worked in Australia, England, Africa, Asia and the States... and never experienced the 'expats whining' since I have always been completely integrated... the French are just a very special bunch and even their own who have lived and worked abroad but now are retired here, say that if they had to WORK, they'd go where a good job done still generates pride.

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Posted by Eric318 - 16 years ago

I have been an expatriate for 15 years in 5 different countries (well if you count England and Scotland as different countries...), my uncle (French) married and lived in Scotland (where it took ten years before the "locals" stopped calling him "the Frenchie", I currently live in London (commuting to Nice) and I have heard the same thing over and over again...

expatriates, regardless of their nationality and the place they live in at any point in time, ALWAYS complain about the locals, the natives.

I used to feel that my compatriotes, the French of the South would be even more "unwelcoming" to foreign settlers than any of the other people I have been exposed to as a settler myself because of their exposure to tourism (foreigners come and go, so why establish relationships, in any case they just think that money can buy anything).

Well, after having been back "home" as a "foreigner" myself, and shared the life of foreign settler in my own country, I feel I have seen many sides of the argument. The bottom line seems to be that nobody is worse than anybody else really. We just react differently to the novel customs we are exposed to and locals, like all others are not necessarily positively enclined towards what they dont know (fear is ignorance).

I often smile when listening to the ranting of some frustrated Brits calling Riviera Radio to moan about the French this the French that. I think that we all fall victims of some fundamental colonial nostalgia. Because my non-British friedns and myself do the same about the Brits in London :) : we are all looking for a better home away from home, where things would be going the way we think they should be.... When the place we have chosen invariably falls short of our expectations (how could it be otherwise?), we are disappointed and find somebody to blame: the locals...

To be fair to us the settlers, it is also important to remember that we are very different from the locals: we have a whole new set of exposure, the one we have come from, a point of comparison, so it is no surprise that we feel irritated when the hotel bathroom sink has two separate taps (the French moaning) or when cars just cannot respect pedestrians on zebra crossings (Brit moaning).

Incidentally, I do know of Brits in Nice who have managed to "integrate" extremely well with French and other settled Brits. They enjoy the difference, and their moans have now become only occasional. They know that the net result of their life change is positive!

Yet, I wish my compatriotes would simply respect traffic lights... damn, am I becoming British?

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Posted by venkym - 16 years ago

Admin... please don't delete this post. The original poster doesn't mind "a few laughs".It reminds me of a small story.An Indian was filling out an immigration form at the Embassy in Delhi to go to the UK. He was told that he could earn a living there, but unfortunately he was not well versed in English.In the form, under the collumn marked "sex", he pondered for a while and wrote "yes".The lady at the counter who was accepting the forms got somewhat embarassed (pronounced embraced by many Indians :-) ) and replied, "no no, think about it and try again. You got it wrong". The man thought for some more time and wrote "thrice a week".The lady was furious, "Stupid man," she exclaimed, "just write male or female". The man wrote, "preferably female".

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Posted by gerry9_mc - 16 years ago

Kiss and tell? No!

What I will say is that I got as many mails this week interested to know how it all went, (all from females of course) although to be honest there wasn't much to tell...

gerry

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Posted by Si-180835 - 16 years ago

by the way Gerry, how'd the date go ?

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Posted by Si-180835 - 16 years ago

I'd have to disagree, or to be more precise state this is a generalisation, and does not apply to all. I have been welcomed into neighbours homes, been on more than one weekend excursion, with different groups of french (none of who speak English), known by all my local shopkeepers and neighbours (and bar owners of course) and feel part of the community I live in.Like everything in life, you get out, what you put in.

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Posted by non grata - 16 years ago

Gaella,

Again, I can but agree.  (And I too, carry a French passport!)  And too many efforts to improve things at work have met with subtle disapproval, just as you describe.. 

MikeP,

quote:grasping peasants, who have become the victims of their own greed.

Victims? I don't think so. That was Gaella's point:they don't need to develop new relationships with outsiders.

quote:Why do these people think that they are better than everyone else?

I don't think they do. Again, as Gaella said: It's a whole different set of values. You just have to understand the deep cultural differences. 

I must say I'm rather impressed that someone who's been here only 5 months has pinpointed those differences and the underlying reasons for them so accurately. I wish I'd been as quick!

And Mike, I'd say that it's being 'anti' , as you said, that is a waste of time and energy. Working with the understanding produces better results.

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Posted by gaella - 16 years ago

Non grata and MikeP:

You are both so right and I am not agreeing in a judgemental fashion against the French.  The trick is to understand cultural differences in order to, as it was said, 'stop banging one's head against the wall.'

I did not even swear that I would integrate since I carry a French passport.  I ASSUMED THAT I WOULD ! ! !  But the result so far is that even being French does not facilitate acceptance.  I think that what REALLY would make one be accepted, would be to EMBRACE THE WAYS OF THINKING, especially AFTER entering the work force IN a FRENCH company (lots of requisites here).

For example, I worked a short while in sales and the fact that I wanted to SELL MORE ans DO BETTER just wasn't looked well upon by my co-workers.  All they talked about were ways to report sick, how to look busy in order to do nothing and whether the next day off was part of the work convention this company had signed (in other words, whether such and such religious celebration was going to be a holiday --and not that they cared about Jesus in particular).