Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Sometimes there are days when I look at my choice to move abroad and wonder whether it was right. What would it be like if I had never opened this Pandora’s box of life abroad, of mind broadening cultural discovery? The short and realistic answer is that I just don’t know.
What I do know is that when I went back to the UK after living in France and Japan, I got tired of the limits of living in my national culture, bored by the lack of variety, frustrated by hearing the same limited perspectives, and disenchanted by our national obsession with ourselves as if we were the only country on earth.
Coming to France and working where I do has certainly given me the cultural variety I sought. It has also given me a pretty sweet lifestyle, with a hectic social life amongst excellent friends, various adventurous sports to participate in, places to go to, sunshine, good healthy food, and a flat that I can afford on my own.
But it has subsumed me into someone else’s land. I am basically a foreigner.
I’m not complaining about anybody’s attitude. The Toulousain are tolerant people, and I am not a resistant foreigner. I speak French at work, socialise with French friends and join French groups. But there are always barriers to integration that need to be dealt with. Sometimes when I’m tired, I just yearn to be in a place where things are easier.
And then there are the people I have left in the UK.
My crumbly old grumpy granddad, the Great Gordon, is ill. My family are preparing for the worst, and I need to go home.
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