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Lisa: Canadian Expat Mom

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in France makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to France, etc.

Originally from Canada, my husband and I moved to Paris in 2010, then a year later moved again, to the South of France. We’ve been here since and have added a couple of French-born kids to our family.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started sharing funny stories about life in France and what it was like to become a Mom in a foreign country. From there I just kept writing and sharing stories and adventures of our travels and life as expats.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Tell us about the ways your new life in France differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

The biggest challenge for me initially was quitting my job in Canada, leaving my family and friends, and not speaking French. I have found things to fill my time and made good use of Skype for keeping in touch, but becoming bilingual as an adult has easily been the biggest challenge.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in France? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

I had been to France as a traveler before moving here, so I knew it was a beautiful country, and even though I did take French lessons before I moved, if I could do it over, I would have taken more.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

The language barrier has had me accidentally tell French people crazy things like, “I only have one leg” and “My daughter died last night”. You can imagine that these were very alarming when I casually mentioned them to the lady that worked at the grocery store and to our neighbour. Also, having children for the first time in a country where you don’t speak the language has too many funny experiences than I can possibly share here.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in France?

  • Put yourself out there and don’t worry about being embarrassed; those moments make for the best stories. Don’t be afraid to try new things, whether it’s food, an activity or a tradition. You’re making memories! Enjoy it!
  • Embrace the new and unknown instead of trying to have a carbon-copy of your ‘old life’.
  • Take some French lessons before you move. The sooner you can speak French, the easier your life will become.

How is the expat community in France? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

There are large expat communities in both places I’ve lived in France. In Paris I joined running groups and language exchanges. I arrived in the South of France 8 months pregnant so my initial point of contact was an Anglophone Mom’s group, which was just what I needed at the time.

How would you summarize your expat life in France in a single, catchy sentence?

Pass the Champagne sil vous plait.

Ruben Barbosa

"After work I enjoy meeting other Brazlian expats offline. We go for a beer together and it feels like home. Thanks InterNations."

Verona Torres

"The idea to connext expatriates in Strasbourg fits perfectly to the city. Both are truly international."

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