Frances Harrison Recounts Flipside of French Dream
Life in France is not always la belle vie that expats had hoped for when making the “dream move”. New Zealand-born Frances Harrison, English teacher and author of Follow My Heart: Risking it all for a life in France, says the “flipside” of expat life in France is just as real as the “success stories”.
For Harrison, who lives near Chartres, time spent in her “beloved France” has been one big struggle since she came in 2010 and she says it’s OK to talk about regrets.
“For many expats the unspoken realities are painful, disappointing, and even heart-breaking,” Harrison says. “Some feel like failures because their personal experience doesn’t measure up to all the success stories of doing up a gite and falling in love while sipping a glass of rosé in the South of France.
“Non-EU members face serious obstacles which will never end until they have achieved the grail – naturalisation, if they survive the employment gauntlet that long. Expats married to French nationals can take the cruise lane.
“Despite the very real magic of France – its diverse customs, food, the elegant language, those wonderful countryside and historical monuments, you might wonder why you are feeling lonely, like a failure. Where’s the time and money to explore what France has to offer? It’s a crossroads of Europe but you can’t afford to see it.
“You ask yourself why you are here. Regrets start to intrude because that dreamy, sparkly and successful, or at least contented, expat-in-France lifestyle as promoted by Peter Mayle and so many others just hasn’t happened for you. Welcome to the flip side, the other expat life which is as valid as any other.”
Original article by Frances Harrison, The Local, October 12, 2016.