Living in the US is certainly a great opportunity and slowly I’ve found myself more comfortable than the first day. An expatriation takes times. This is not surprising, right?! But damm! How long is going to take?
I was thinking that after my life in Montreal, it won’t be possible for me to have the same lifestyle. My routine in Quebec was pretty similar with Paris. I was freaking out. First of all, I have to think 7 days a week in my second language. Second of all, where can I find my bread and my cheese? (I gave up for the dough! – no more tarte.)
Is my life over? Naan! There is Binny’s everywhere and guess what? They have lots of French wines! Whole Foods and Trader’s Joe have some great cheeses from France and Le Pays Basque is one of them! Wonderful! And this is possible to buy a baguette downtown Chicago for… $7. This is sad. I know!
For sure, you won’t buy it everyday, this is too crazy expensive but the good news is: you can find baguette in Chicago! So, if you are stressed out, depressed or simply dying, your life is not over.
Baguette, Fromage, saucisson c’est possible! Now, how can I bring some of France in Chicago?
You already bring something nice: your accent! Whaaat? This terrible accent that you hate so much. Guess what, it’s cool, don’t be ashamed. Imagine a Chineese guy speaking Russian, you will feel immediately better!
Three things: Embrace, Adapt, and Share.
Embrace the American culture and don’t keep the stuff for yourself if you are not comfortable with something. America is a country for everybody so it’s possible to find your own way to live happily this new life! Chicago has 6,000 French people. You can make friends! Where are you French people in Chicago? Please contact me ASAP!
Adapt yourself. Certainly this is the most difficult. Don’t judge. Don’t complain (ok, this means don’t be French!). It has been very tricky for me especially after having lived in the Quebec region (Where woman are so free, so awesome – the no-bra revolution!). But still, there are lots of woman with an open-mind in this city. For sure there is someone like you!
Share your own culture to be more understand. You are not comfortable with something? Talk about it. Don’t keep it for yourself. Say it and explain how is it in your own country. If people are smart enough to listen and to understand, this is great. Keep these friends. Otherwise, find new friends!
Mentra: Keep sharing your French culture.
It is the only way for others to learn about it.
Cécile lives in Chicago though is originally from southern France. She’s an avid traveler and is always excited by new adventures. After living in Ireland, Australia and Canada, Cécile is an advocate of having a routine but not staying comfortable for too long.