The ExPat Experience: My First Moments

Write about the first thing that struck you about your new life living abroad or differences you noticed / what happened in your first week/weeks. End with three tips you have learnt from that experience that you can share with future expats.

The first thing that struck me was how quiet it was here in the French countryside. Even though I’d been out on holidays to where I now live it was still a shock, and a pleasant surprise at the time. When I moved it was because I had to, not because I had a choice, I was very ill with mental health problems and had to move back in with my parents who had moved to France. I imagine that makes my expat experience much different to those who choose to move, but maybe similar to those who have moved with work.

At the time I was glad to be away from everything, away from the UK, away from the hustle and bustle and the rat race. Even though I moved from a small town not a city, the culture was still that of rush rush rush, a complete contrast to the laid back attitude I have experienced in France. It was just what I needed; a relaxed place to recuperate.

In the first weeks, even months, I didn’t do a lot, I mooched about at home and was looked after so I don’t really have any stories to share. I settled into the routine of going food shopping with mum 2 days a week and not doing much the rest. Too much daytime TV and sleep!

So nothing exciting to share on this topic I’m afraid, hopefully I’ll have more to share on future prompts!

My three tips for future expats are:

1) Prepare, but don’t expect to be prepared; I don’t think any amount of research can prepare you for the reality of expat life.
2) Locate fellow expats; they are full of useful information and a good source of friendship as you settle in.
3) Be kind to yourself; moving is hard, make sure you look after yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Bye Bye Portsmouth
Bye Bye Portsmouth

French Flag


  1. Molly @ The Move to America

    Thank you for joining the link-up and sharing your experiences. I love your honesty about mooching – I have done my fair share too – and it sounds like it was just the ticket for you. Your tip about preparing for the big move but not expecting to be prepared is spot on – I have struggled with how to explain how I felt, and this tip was just perfect!

  2. Mari

    Wow I remember that day seeing those photos now, it’s come back in a flash and yet how long ago was it now? Seems ages, so much has happened. I envy that French relax way of life, it’s far too busy over here.

  3. Steve

    Good post and good advice. Would love to experience the solitude compared to city life

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Thanks. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, even though I was used to country life as child, I much prefer somewhere in between. I happy medium; quiet enough to chill but enough things to do nearby to keep me occupied!

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