The thing about blogging is that you meet all sorts of hidden gems. I’m talking about people like they’re jewels, but seriously some just sparkle in a way that catches your eye. Anna from ‘Eat, See, Do’ is just that person. Not only is she ridiculously gorgeous, she has a beautiful outlook on life, AND is adventurous. I’m really excited she’s taking over my blog for the day, I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!
Hi there ‘Living In Another Language’ readers. I’m Anna, popping over from EatSeeDoBlog.com, a blog about travel and life in France.
We left London almost a year ago, travelled for six months and then my kiwi fiancé and I moved to Montpellier, France four months ago to experience life in France, polish up our French, eat baguettes and get married in a vineyard/castle/somewhere magical. How lovely.
We’re only a hop and skip away from the UK and yet, I feel like I could be in Mars sometimes. Before we moved to France I said to people, we’re just around the corner, it’s really not that far so pop over any time. And people said yes! Of course! Total visitor count so far? 0.
I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been the croissant-filled rose-tinted dreamland I’d imagined. It’s been wonderful but, well, challenging. However, every one of those challenges has brought a new experience and a new lesson – which may not be quite as tasty as a croissant – but has fewer calories and is definitely more fulfilling.
I left two wardrobes full of clothes, piles of jewelry, tons of shoes and boxes of products I rarely use behind in London at my mums house. Yes I’m a bit of a hoarder. While I used to dream of a walk-in wardrobe to fit in all the clothes I’d bought and loved over the years of living in London, I now live quite happily on less than a quarter of all my things.
Do I miss any of the stuff I’ve left behind? Not a smidgen.
The only things I have with me are things I actually like wearing and I feel comfortable in. I don’t have to hunt for things that work together so getting ready is a breeze. I only have the make-up I actually wear rather than a collection of sparkly purple eyeshadows that I got given once as a gift and kept for that elusive sparkly eyeshadow opportunity that was obviously bound to come up one day.
Having to downsize has been one of the best things I could do and taught me how little I need and just how much money and space I wasted on things I didn’t need. Although it does occasionally mean I end up climbing mountains in inappropriate clothing.
2. Speaking a foreign language
“You’ll be fine, you’re French is good right?” friends said to me before we went to France. But still when we turned up in Paris and struggled to buy a sim card with internet, we realized we were both far away from being able to communicate effectively with real French people, especially when they would switch to near-perfect English after any slight hesitation.
Four months later and we’re not fluent. But we are getting there. Outside of Paris fewer people speak English which is a blessing in disguise too. It hasn’t always been easy but I’ve got through opening bank accounts, finding a flat, finding a wedding venue, and making some friends – all in French. While we still speak to each other in English, we make an effort to do as much as possible in the language itself and everything is finally getting a little less hard.
3. Making new friends
I miss my friends more than I miss anything else and with the joys of technology we watsapp, facebook and skype each other often. But some days I just want to say – hey, you want go for a coffee? You want to look at a wedding magazine and laugh at all the meringue dresses with me? But I can’t.
A good friend recently went to Paris and asked if I wanted to meet. I had to tell her that Montpellier is further from London than Paris is. But I was tempted to do it anyway.
At first I shied away from trying to meet English people. We were here to learn French and didn’t want to spend all our time speaking in English. But we soon discovered that making new friends after the age of 18 was hard. People are friendly sure, but that doesn’t mean they want to be bezzies with you. Expat groups have actually turned out to be a bit of a savior, welcoming us with open arms, understanding what we’re going through and helping out wherever they can.
4. Testing relationships
They say travelling together is a test of a relationship, and we’d been there done that. We’d been one of those couples that did pretty much everything together. In London, we’d worked together, lived together, socialized together. So we thought France would be easy as quiche. But once we’d settled in, the newness of the place faded away and the reality kicked in. A lack of friends, working from home and only having each other can make even the little niggles turn into something bigger than they need to be.
We’ve realized now that while we love doing things together, we also need to do some things separately too – like knitting (me, not him) so we can appreciate our time together a bit more.
5. Finding new adventures
In London there was always someone to see and something to do and somewhere to be. Here, we don’t have that so we have to plan adventures constantly. And we know that if we don’t, we get grumpy.
Every time we go on a little adventure we fall in love with France a little more. Montpellier is a fantastic buzzing town full of brilliant things to eat, see and do and the area around is breathtakingly beautiful. So far we’ve visited little villages, gone grape picking, swum in rivers, biked around vineyards and we’re always doing more.
If you’d like to follow along in my adventures in France (with occasional detours to far flung places from) please do pop over or go ahead and follow my blog on Bloglovin’ give it a like on Facebook or come say hi onTwitter, whichever is your favorite way to stay in touch.
Thanks for having me Amanda!
See? I told you she’s a gem! ALL of these posts ring true for me as well over here in Korea. I’m super jealous of Anna’s adventures…I mean seriously? Biking around vineyards? Please pop over to her blog and say hi! I promise you’ll fall in love!