We all have our own definition of the word “strange” or “weird.”
For one person, it could be cycling nude on a bike trail in the mountains in the middle of winter while singing at the top of your lungs—to keep warm, of course.
Another may be a roommate who likes toast, ketchup, banana and cinnamon sandwiches. When it comes to acclimating in a foreign country, the meaning of “strange” can take on even more nuances, especially if you don’t speak the language of your adopted homeland.
France has always been attractive to immigrants. In 2008, the INSEE estimated that 5.3 million foreign-born residents and 6.5 million of their descendants (French-born of at least one immigrant parent) lived in France, for a total of 11.8 million, which was 19% of the total population in metropolitan France – 62.1 million at the time. These numbers included roughly 5.5 million of European origin, 4 million of Maghrebi origin, 1 million of Sub-Saharan African origin and 400,000 of Turkish origin. In 2010, 27.3% of the 802,000 newborns in metropolitan France had at least one foreign-born parent. In 2012, 229,000 foreigners arrived in the country.
Right. You’ve decided to start a blog.
You have visions of writing articles for The Huffington Post at some point, but for the moment, you’re all set to create your own niche in the ever-expanding universe of bloggers.
And then, you find out it’s not as easy as it looks.
For some intrepid souls, moving to a foreign country, even for a few months, is like a walk in the park. It’s a wonderful adventure and nothing fazes them. Everything falls into place perfectly, and nothing goes wrong. Or, if it does, it’s just a blip on the horizon and they take it in stride.
Leaving your hometown and all that’s familiar is hard enough. But moving to another country? That’s a whole different ballgame. There’s the airport, the flirtatious taxi driver, and the slightly giddy feeling that you’re in over your head and maybe you’re not quite cut out for your new adventure. Adjusting might take a long time, or just a few minutes, depending on how much wine you need to drink as fortification. It’s a new culture and language, and you may wonder, “How will I survive here?”
If you’ve ever been robbed, you’ll probably understand what it feels like to be hacked.
It’s as though you’ve been violated, and even if you recover the things that were stolen, you’ll always remember the experience.
This was how we felt here, at Expats Paris, when our website (yes, this exact website you’re on) was attacked late April this year. We were victims of a hacking operation against our entire system.
Not everyone experiences the joy and euphoria of being in Paris. For some, the culture shock is greater than others, and it’s hard to adjust to something that may be vastly different from back home. If this is your first time in a foreign country (like a friend I met recently - the person who inspired me to come up with this post, by the way), it can be difficult to come to terms with the sights and sounds around you, and you may feel overwhelmed. It could be similar to someone moving from an outlying area into a big city for the first time. Everything seems to be too loud, too fast, too confusing and frantic. Still it’s not all bad. You just need to give yourself time to adjust, or learn to slough it off and walk on, as the French do.