It’s official – I’ve been resident in France for exactly a year now. An event which I’m celebrating by sipping from a glass of two-day-old Alsacienne Pinot Noir whilst updating my blog – in English.
Yes the fact remains, even though I might be completely immersed in the French culture and mired in their endearing system of bureaucracy, I remain for the most part British. My clients are British, I work almost exclusively in English, I socialise with local anglophones and I keep tabs on British news and sport via the BBC website. I am most certainly a far cry from what M. Sarkozy might describe as ‘integrated’.
My understanding of the language has come along leaps and bounds, but I am still at least a year from being to speak it with any real confidence. I won’t be able to vote in the up and coming French Presidential elections, and until I can understand French accountancy documents – I will have to continue paying someone who can translate it all into English for me (and trust them not to rip me off). I know my Tokay from my Gewurztraminer, my petit noir from my renversÃ©e and I must confess to enjoying the odd Pastis, but clearly this does not make me French.
So, one year on, I’m asking myself whether I will ever truly become French? Right now I guess I’m just happy being a European.