Ketty: French Foodie in Dublin
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Dublin, etc.
My name is Ketty, I’m originally from the Loire Valley in France and I moved to Dublin Ireland in December 2004.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging in August 2012 about my foodie experiences in Dublin because I love eating out in Dublin and I wanted to share my views of the Dublin foodie scene. Also, I was a bit tired of hearing other expats saying that the food in Ireland wasn’t good. I wanted to show them that even being from a foodie country like France I was able to eat good food in my adopted country. I don’t only talk about food but include personal experiences from my French perspective in each one of my blog posts.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
My favorite blog entries are my series of interviews called ‘French Foodies in Ireland’. I interview French Expats based in Ireland and working in the food industry. It’s interesting to hear about other expats’ stories.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Dublin differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
The first difficulty was the language of course. I learnt English at school and wasn’t prepared for the Irishisms and accents. At first I was a bit intimidated but I learnt fast. I met many people and I avoided French people so I could learn English faster. My English wasn’t bad and I found English speaking jobs easily.
My biggest culture shock was to notice that meals/eating wasn’t as important in Irish social life as it is in France. In France people tend to socialize around food whereas in Ireland it’s in the pub. For me drinking coffee while walking and ordering take-aways wasn’t something I did back home. Also, during the summer life is different than in France because of the weather. There aren’t many places where you can sit outside and there isn’t a strong café culture like in continental Europe.
Those are small details tough and I didn’t have any trouble settling in and I felt at home very quickly actually.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Dublin? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I wasn’t fully prepared because I decided to move to Ireland kind of quickly and I didn’t prepare much. I didn’t know anything about the country and that’s why it was a great experience, I only got good surprises! I didn’t have many expectations, I wanted to learn English and stay for 6 to 12 months and I’m still here 8 years later. I wouldn’t change a thing about my decisions or preparations, my best decision in life was to leave France for Ireland.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
After 2 weeks in Ireland I got a very bad allergic reaction, I had to go to the GP and I couldn’t speak much English, I had to kind of use sign language to express myself and that wasn’t easy.
Also I remember the first time I brought French cheeses to Ireland. I was flat sharing at that time and put them in the fridge. My flatmates who were also expats but from different countries but they just couldn’t bear the pungent smell of my cheeses! I thought it was funny.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Dublin?
- Be prepared with the Irish weather! I know so many people who left because they wanted to experience real summers. It’s never hot in Ireland so if you like the heat or sunbathing go to Spain instead!
- Be aware of the economic crisis. The Celtic Tiger is long dead, not much job around here, lots of unpaid internships. Don’t move here unless you have a job lined up.
- Be curious! There are things happening in Dublin but you need to look for them: subscribe to newsletters, look for events on the web and try to explore the city with openness. Dublin may not be as pretty as Paris or as trendy as London but there are cool things happening if you get out of the touristy route.
How is the expat community in Dublin? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Dublin is a cosmopolitan city where it’s easy to meet other expats. At the beginning I found it very easy to make friends from all over the world especially when I was flat sharing or working in multicultural environments. There is a down side to having expats friends though, they all eventually leave Ireland and go back to their home countries, I‘d recommend to have hobbies to meet Irish people and make friends.
How would you summarize your expat life in Dublin in a single, catchy sentence?
Moving to Dublin brought me so much fun, happiness and love!