Write about your everyday life, in particular the things you really enjoy or cherish about living abroad. What aspects of your life have helped you learn more about yourself or your surroundings? As ever, end with three tips about making the most of the everyday life you have where you live.
I have to admit that my everyday experience isn’t very exciting and, as you learned last week, I don’t really cherish my expat life, so this will no doubt be another short one!
Every week on a Monday afternoon I help out with the English lessons at the local school, I really enjoy that but my anxiety still makes it very difficult. The hope was that helping out would improve my French faster but, as they’re only supposed to talk in English during the lessons, it’s not really helping me very much! It’s still interesting though and nice to be a part of a school even in a small way and I hope it will help me learn more about the culture.
I have a French lesson once a week too which I tend to struggle with. I’ve never been very good at French, it doesn’t make sense to me, not like German, Russian and Spanish. It’s not a language that comes naturally for me, although now I’m in Spain on holiday I find French just coming out of my mouth instead of Spanish! Oops!
We normally go food shopping twice a week to get fresh fruit & veg and other bits and pieces. Nothing much else to say about shopping is there?! Apart from the fact that, where I am in France, it’s very seasonal, nothing like the UK where you can get anything you want all year round!
Currently there are also driving lessons; theory lessons on Tuesday nights and practical lessons as and when. I can’t say I enjoy either of these and they are most definitely the low-light of my weeks, but needs must. I’m struggling very much with the theory side as it’s, naturally, all in French and the book I have to learn from seems awfully thick too. I can’t even learn parrot fashion as there are over 2,000 possible questions!
Then there are the expat activities. I’m secretary of an expat group and my Mum runs it so there’s lots of emailing to be done, updating their website, meetings held once a month that need to be planned for. Once a week I also go bowling with my step-dad and a group of expats, or I did until I started my driving lessons which now clash with the bowling! We also do a ‘lunch bunch’ once a month where a group of us go and try local eateries to see what they’re like, and there are music nights sometimes which are great fun!
So that’s how life here, for me, plays out. There’s not a huge amount of integration, as you can see, but hopefully once I can drive this will change, although I don’t really want it to! I’m quite happy clinging to my English roots!
My 3 tips for making the most of everyday expat life are:
1) Enjoy your surroundings.
2) Make the most of trips out; even shopping is an experience.
3) Get involved; be that with expat groups or the local community.