Wednesday, November 8


kitchen again

Moving to France has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life.

I didn't anticipate the differences in culture; I knew it would be different, but I hadn't been able to realize what this would mean. I was worried most before I left that people would think I was incapable of sophisticated thought, because I can't speak elegantly and fluently in French as I can in my native language. And although this has sometimes been the case, it hasn't be language that has made me work the hardest; it's been adapting (and I still am) to a new timetable, a new worldview. Things happen more slowly. People are more skeptical. I have a newfound respect and empathy for immigrants, NNS students, and foreign workers, because I couldn't have imagined what the tension of being between two places would feel like. Between one home and another. Between one set of rules and expectations and another. This has been one of the most educational periods of my life.

kitchen table

I have been lucky to find--well, to be dropped in the laps of, really--some wonderfully kind people, including a teacher at school (who, along with his wife and two children, received me for dinner one night, talked to me about adapting to life here, and offered to take me to Dijon to the big thrift store) and a young woman, her boyfriend, and her family, who have supported and helped me time after time. I can't imagine having gone it alone.

My apartment is making progress. I will eventually have internet. I have been receiving mail with some regularity, and that is a huge deal, so thank you. And soon, a sewing machine. And soon after, much sewing. And soon after that, maybe, all's right with the world. Or close.

kitchen window


Anonymous esther said...

Oh, so much luck to you! And you know Amsterdam is just around the corner!

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Courtney said...

Your new home looks charming. Thank you for the update.

9:37 AM  
Blogger bugheart said...

these things
are always
so difficult
at first...
but it will
smooth out
and you will
begin to enjoy
the differences
instead of
with them...
and you will
meet many
new friends
and find
that at the core
you can
with people...
but for now
we on the
other side
of the atlantic
of you
and envying
your stylish
new flat.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Funky Finds said...

your apt is looking great! i can't imagine the struggle of adjusting, but it sounds like you are doing great. just keep it up & hang in there!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous martha said...

The way you describe it makes me feel it. Sometimes I feel that way here, in my native country - like I don't fit in. Making connections with real people makes all the difference. I'm glad you've found friends.
and just when you are feeling part of the culture and like you are "home" it will be time to leave....

10:54 AM  
Anonymous sally said...

Your apartment looks beautiful. It is so interesting to hear about your transition living in a new country. What an amazing growing experience this will be for you. You're in my thoughts.

[I saw a woman carrying the cutest patchwork tote at studio CRAFT last weekend. It was one of your sweet!]

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I've loved the little bit of over seas travel that I've done but I've never been able to imagine doing it on my own. Having someone with me, a companion and anchor, has always felt essential. Things are just enough different in the other countries I've visited that I've felt off kilter and slightly outside my comfort zone while there. And that's setting aside the fact that my foreign language skills are limited at best.

I can imagine that the journey you've undertaken would be challenging. I'm glad for you that you've been able to find friends to make it easier. I hope things continue along a trajectory of ease and comfort. Good luck.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Mama Urchin said...

Thanks for sharing the struggle. I think to us, it seems rather glamorous, living in France and all. I hope it gets easier.

1:36 PM  
Blogger ♥ joleen ♥ said...

It sounds like you're adjusting as well as can be. I think it will be an exciting experience for you after the anxiety wears down a bit. I think your apartment is lovely- thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

1:56 PM  
Anonymous monica said...

Good luck to you in your new place. Will you be there long? Is it work experience or a big move?

I like what you've done with the place so far!

2:05 PM  
Anonymous lisa said...

oh sweetie. so glad my package arrived. i can only imagine what you must be going through...loving thoughts,

2:18 PM  
Anonymous amanda said...

your new spot is looking soo lovely, and I hope that soon it feels like home to you. i appreciate your honesty so very much! I've hardly traveled - much less lived somewhere abroad. I can't imagine all the many things you will learn about the world and yourself! Bravo to you and your for your adventuresome spirit (whether you feel that way or not!)!

2:37 PM  
Blogger Cristina said...

it's a really really sweet place, Erieane - I can't imagine how hard it must be adjusting - but just think of all the things your learning about yourself! and society! and culture....good luck & keep checking in!

6:43 PM  
Blogger lisa s said...

small steps... your place looks lovely... was so happy to see some photos on flickr...

i'm jealous actually - new places, new things, new challenges... all sounds hard but good.....
big hugs!

6:47 PM  
Blogger pinar said...

when you will have the internet.. it will be easier.. it will be as thpugh you have moved there with all your clan (of friends..).. coming home after a hard day.. and finding someone.. near to your heart..and culture..
even if they take place at the other end of the net.. makes it smoother..
I guess it is hard.. they have a sylish maybe..but also consolidated style of life.. way of thinking..
so keep going..
I love the red curtains.. and the small table..
wish you the best.. enjoy..

11:20 PM  
Anonymous julie said...

Hi, you dont know me..silent follower...but just wanted to say..I know exactly what you are talking about..i moved 11.5 yrs ago to another country and i still have problems with the culture differences!!! But it DOES get better and you become stronger for it. I hope you are enjoy your time!!!

3:12 AM  
Anonymous mangetsu said...

So well put, Eireann.
Afraid of appearing simple minded because of simple talking... oh, this always is on my mind when I am writing in English or speaking Japanese...
And the respect for the other foreigners because you're just one of 'them'...
Good you get your sewing machine soon, I've been waiting four years to finally deciding I need one. Even if it's going to be only a short liason.
Take care!

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your blog!!!

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh gosh I feel for you. I moved from NYC to London nearly seven years ago. I'm still settling in - cultureal differences are huge. I can't imagine moving to a place which involves a completely different language! ;) Big virtual hugs to you and thanks for posting the lovely photos.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Lynn in Tucson said...

Bugheart is right - it is the differences you will miss when you return from whence you came.
I was an exchange student to Paris as a high school student and it was the best, most formative year of my life.
Bonne chance et bon courage!

3:33 PM  
Blogger Dawbis said...

oh eireann. in so many ways i feel like i know what you are going through, even though texas isn't out of the country. i have lived overseas before, but that was when i was young. things don't seem as hard when you are young though. these differences will make you stronger in the end, i know that much for sure!

at least you have a beautiful apartment to come back to and wind down. soon, you'll have everything you need in there and it will be a home away from home. we're here for support if you ever need us!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Del4yo said...

I know what you are going through and I'm glad you found people to help you!
Our cultures are so close and there is also such a huge gap it must be very difficult. Your craft ability will be a great help. French people are hard to socialize with, the first times are arsh...And then when you make friends it's a very strong link and you will feel overwhelmed with it!
Et tu vas voir la langue ca vient vite et tu seras a l'aise bientot!

Bon courage :)

8:47 PM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Hi! I found your blog and it's really lovely!
You live in DOle, oui?
My high school has an exchange program with a Dole school...small world! I have a feeling that someday I'll be moving from America myself, so your blog definitely strikes a familiar chord. Good luck, I bet things will go well!!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

I think I can relate, just a tiny, tiny bit, to what you have shared. After spending 2 weeks in Italy recently--I experienced, to a small degree, some of the things you shared here. Yes indeed, it did give me a much greater respect and empathy for immigrants, and even the foreign tourist!

Sending a hug and feeling happy that you have some special people taking you under their wing. How very nice. BTW, I MISS your posts!

1:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home