Where do I really start? The move to France started in late 2017 and while prepping for the move, I got engaged, married and then came the piles of paperwork to submit, to wait and to resubmit. Then came the real packing, the news released to family and friends of the big migration and the anxious excited feeling of this new phase of life. The months leading up to the relocation was bittersweet. We flew to Paris in late June and headed to the South of France promptly. The one way ticket to Europe was a fresh beginning of what feels like a new life or rather renewed life full life of uncertainty, hope and faith.
One month in France and the highlight for July was definitely this big move. It’s summer here so that’s another plus with it’s glorious hot and dry weather! We have also been visiting family, hanging out with friends and every weekend is an adventure, exploring new grounds outside the city centre. After 2 weeks living out of a suitcase in a hotel, we moved to our new home, giving us a sense of belonging so that was a comforting feeling.
Bastille Day – I’ve spent Bastille Day in Singapore in the last 2 years and this year is my first in France so on the morning of 14th July, dad sent me a photo of The Straits Times featuring Singapore in a joint celebration with France. As it turned out, Singapore took part for the first time in France’s Bastille Day parade. RSAF personnel were involved in flypast and flag party with Singapore prime minister also in attendance. Kind of felt a sense of patriotism for Singapore!
Fifa world cup – France, Champions du monde! The vibe was fantastic! So delighted to witness this in real action with people on the streets in high spirits with their face painted, cheering for their country. I could also feel strong sense of patriotism amongst the french people. What a delight when France won championship and I remember the streets being wild all day long, even past midnight.
Every piece of furniture and appliance we have at home now is completely new. So yep, July was a big shopping month. Ikea, Darty, Decathlon, Geant, Carrefour, Maison Du Monde, Casa, Galerie Lafayette, Antigone and the Comedie are the spots I am familiar with now.
WHAT I LEARNT
Local tourism is a thing I finally comprehend. There’s a influx of tourist coming to the South of France every summer so it’s generally crowded everywhere and with a country as huge as France, there are so many amazing places to explore. In tiny Singapore, I couldn’t possibly go from the east to the west and say that I have gone for a vacation. I also learnt that saying Bonjour to anyone you make eye contact with is a must. It’s simple politeness and I would suggest any tourist / non french speaking person to always say at least “bonjour” when you meet a french person.
Missing my comfort. This is a obvious one. Singapore is super convenient with shops, restaurants, post office are open daily , including Sundays. Here in France, businesses are closed during lunch hour from 12-1.30pm with the exception of restaurants of course and shops closes at 7 or 8pm which sometimes makes it difficult to rush down after work to shop. Yes I do miss family and friends but we are very well connected in technology more than ever before which makes it easier to deal with. I’d say the lowest is unfamiliarity of this new country and city but the explorer junkie in me will quick to adapt. All I need is time to get used to.
They say the happiest expats are the ones who try to immediately adapt to the new country they’re living in, instead of trying to recreate their old life in a new place