We have just come back from the OAP"s Christmas dinner and dance, good afternoon. Do you engage in your commune or do you stay "Les Anglais"?
I suppose I have been completely integrated since the time my french friends began to introduce me to others as Sarah from Sorèze rather than Sarah from London. I figure that they are the best judges of whether I am considered to be a local girl or an expat
I'm retired Jayne and I do not go to bed at 9pm as a matter of course.I agree that there is no point in coming here to live and not involving yourself in the community,but I'm still British so I choose to enjoy both worlds.My command of the French language is adequate for "la vie quotidien" and my French friends are appreciative that I at least try.But, there is something to be said for a good natter where you can discuss anything and everything and be understood.I'm 73 and as for going out at 9pm etc I've done all that in my time and enjoyed it.Im not ready to throw in the towel yet France has still an awful lot to offer me,so Vive la vie en France,roll on tomorrow.Best wishes
Thanks Johnny - I didn't have the time to saerch for it or retype it + I didn't want to start the whole thing off again ;-)
@ Richard - inundated, perhaps not as the subject's been done to death recently and those that don't want to integrate get upset at the others saying they should/must to enjoy France. I'm fully integrated with French OH and kids, teach French at Uni here to foreign students etc. But we're not necessarily engaged in our commune because we both work full time and don't have the time (except at our local school where our kids go, which isn't in our commune anyway!).
If I were to pose the same question but about local sports clubs (I'm a very active member of my local cycling club with training rides, family week-ends away and a training week in spain and I'm the only foreigner for miles around) I don't think I'd get much of a response!
So agree Zoe.
Definitely part of the community, moreso than a "expat ghetto" type. Involved with the local systeme d'echange local, the beekeeping association, the pisteurs in the winter, when I have the time, and I do a lot of volunteer work, be it with animals, the elderly, or homeless.
Apart from that, I prefer going nextdoor for apero, to my french neighbours than driving to "ville des anglaise" I was invited to a dinner once, by guests in our hotel that I got on well with, and, they thought, being "away from home", i would fit in there. turns out they just b1tched about the French the whole time, talk about how "this would never happen at home", and most of them told me they "don't really get on well with the language". Spiffing, but, look,this IS our home now, we more than likely CHOSE to live here, the French are not the enemy, they are the neighbours we CHOSE, and so, we should be integrating with them. I also noticed a running theme at this dinner party was the "state of affairs in the UK, and especially the immigrants"......pot kettle... whatever colour????
Both DH and I are members of the 'elders' clubs, not only in our own small commune, but also in two of the neighbouring ones. We've had some fantastic (and subsidised) meals and coach outings with our French friends. We've been to musical productions, been involved with local amateur dramatic productions, indulged in specialised gastronomic events (don't ask!!!), dressed up in all sorts of silly outfits for 'carnival' celebrations, demonstrated line dancing, learned French folk dancing, put on our own musical events..... and so on, and so on.
My social life back in the UK was NEVER this good. Now looking forward to all of the Christmas and New Year events and wouldn't change a thing.
Always go to whatever is on in the village if at all possible whether it be village bbq, bbq for las chasse or concerts in church. Sad to say that for a community with quite a few homes owned by British I appear to be the only one taking part in community events. Think I am regarded as the mad British woman who likes her red wine!
I echo your thoughts exactly Nikki.
I am on the Comite des Fetes in our petit commune, which is great fun. I also belong to their Club Beau Soleil, although I am a bit young for it LOL. However, the ladies are very active considering their age and we regularly do two hour dance sessions. They are truly welcoming and friendly and tolerate my awful pronunciation with a smile.
We have a repas on the 18th, Concours de Belote in janvier, etc.
Don't mix much with British people as most of the retired ones I know want to get to bed at 9pm and we are only just going out then and mostly return between 2 or 3am.
While I was in France I made every effort to be involved with the locals and the community, and I have to say I was welcomed, despite my badly pronounced French.
Why move to France and NOT take part?
I absolutely engage in the community - I am a member of the APE (PTA) the Conseil D'ecole and was on the board of the Summer club when we ran one. I have had one of my ideas accepted by the Conseil Municipal and am seriously considering trying to become a member at the next elections. I would do more but my husband works funny hours which restricts me a bit. Whenever possible we attend events in the village. Use it or lose it I say...