5 Things we Love about Expat Life

Today I'm taking a closer look at our life as expats and celebrating '5 Things We Love About Our Expat Life'. There are so many ways in which our lives have changed since moving to France and it's been a good exercise to sit and think about some of the really positive outcomes of moving to another country. So here are our top five...

1. Family Time
Before we moved to France Andrew worked Monday to Friday and I looked after Reuben and Jacob at home. Any parent knows that parenting can be challenging and it is so much easier when there are two of you around to deal with arising situations. In moving to France we are spending far more time together as a family. Andrew and I are still working out our work/life balance as we both work from home and juggle looking after Jacob whilst Reuben is at school, but we are working on quality time with the kids as we plan more activities together.

 2. French Village Life
After life in London we were worried that village life after a while might become a bit too quiet. But life in Parisot has suprised us as there is always something going on. This Friday the café plays host to the monthly jam session set up by the village guitar maker and Reuben's school teacher who believe it or not is in a Pirate band! Thursday nights I sing in the Salle de Fêtes in the village choir (our first concert of the year is in a couple of weeks!) and I'm tempted to join the Zumba classes on a Tuesday evening. We had a Chinese feast with friends and neighbours to bring in the Chinese New Year and we're planning our next themed night...Mexican maybe?! We may have struck lucky with the village we have moved to but the village library is full of posters with events, workshops and associations that we can all get involved in, and everything we do helps us integrate more into the community.

3. Learning French
One of the big pulls for moving to France was so that Reuben and Jacob could grow up bilingual. When Reuben plays with other French children we hear what he has learnt in just 6 months, and even Jacob says 'merci' and 'au revoir' to us and people he meets. Andrew and I have French friends as well as English and although we're not picking up the language as quickly as the boys, we love the challenge of conversing in another language.

4. A Love of French Food
We were always lovers of French food before moving to France. There is so much food that we can't get here that used to be on hand in London supermarkets so we're slowly changing the way we eat and think about food. We have some great markets on our doorstep where we can buy fresh fruit and veg, and cheese is always on our shopping list! French supermarkets are very seasonal in their produce and so we adapt our recipes and look forward to adding more French recipes alongside our English ones.

5. New Friends
We were very lucky when we arrived in France as we were invited to one Summer BBQ that opened the door to a whole new group of friends. We have since got ourselves involved in activities that have led to more new friendships and of course having kids helps. Here in France we seem to have more time for our friends and we've been to more parties and coffee mornings/afternoons in the past 6 months than we ever have done since having children. Admittidly most of our new friends are English but we also have a few French friends who are keen to help us in our new adventure (and don't mind our bad French!)

There is of course more we love about our expat life...the outdoor life, the warmer weather, our new businesses, and the chance to explore a beautiful country...but these are our top 5!

Are you an expat? What do you love about your expat life?

Becky x

(Learning French picture taken from here)

Expat Life with a Double Buggy

Lou Messugo

12 comments

  1. Oh, wow - these are amazing reasons to love your expat life. I love the idea of village life in France and France has a very special place in my heart. I lived in Toulouse for a year for my degree course and it was in a little French village that we learnt I was pregnant the first time around - we wiped the village out of pregnancy tests :-) Landed on your feet for sure - and I love the fact that you get to spend more time as a family together because of the lifestyle choice you made!! Thanks for taking part :-)

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    1. Thanks for the opportunity to link up Amanda it was fun to write. Toulouse is lovely I'd love to explore it more (we usually end up in the IKEA just outside!) Family time is great, the boys will benefit so much from having their dad around more.

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  2. Hi Brown family! I saw you on Amanda's blog linkup. Your life in France sounds absolutely amazing, including your beautiful village. My husband and I don't have kids yet, but we're also big believers in our kids growing up bilingual. Our first intensive language class sunk that in for us as we were the only ones in the entire class who weren't bilingual. And your recipe book changes hit a chord with me too. We love the food here, but sometimes I just want to make a casserole or dessert with ingredients that don't exist in Austria. So we've tried to adapt that aspect of our expat lives and habits as well. Loved your top 5!

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    1. Thanks for reading I'm heading over to read yours now! I think kids benefit so much from being bilingual I think that any parent that has the chance should take it. I need to work more on my french language it's amazing how much English I've spoken since being here (there is a big English comminuty here.) I love cooking and enjoy having more time to work through, and adapt, my recipe books. Glad you enjoyed our top 5!

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  3. Your pictures are fantastic and I really enjoyed reading your post. Your kids are adorable :) Just curious- is your son in an international or French school? I love the village life- it seems so comfortable and cozy. Thanks for a wonderful read!

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    1. Thanks Kelli! Reuben is in a French school though there are a few English and Dutch children who attend. (His best friend is English!) Most children are from neighbouring villagers as it's the main school in the area. Glad you enjoyed reading the post!

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  4. These are all lovely reasons to enjoy expat life. I think the bilingual thing is just such an amazing gift we can give our children, as even after 17 years in France I still have to stop to find my words sometimes and of course get genders wrong continually! It seems you've found a fun place to settle down and integrate; it's certainly very pretty! Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance again Becky!

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  5. Such a lovely post. It sounds like you really love your new, quieter life in France. The olives are making my mouth water! My little ones recently went to school in my mum's village (in Picardie) for 3 weeks, and their French improved so much in that time it was amazing! #AllAboutFrance

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  6. How's your language learning advanced since last year?! Isn't it amazing how kids can pick up languages so much more quickly?! I hope you're still loving your expat life and the reasons you mentioned are even stronger now! Great to find you on the #AllAboutFrance link-up!

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    1. My husband's French has come along loads and considering he works mostly with English people that's pretty good. He's great at socialising and gets his main lesson from playing basketball with a local team. Our 5 year old, the French he knows he speaks effortlessly already and our 3 year old having started school in September is now picking up a few words. I feel I need to progress more now and need to make more of an effort to sit down and learn. Teaching a choir and doing kids piano lessons in French is forcing me to speak the language which is good but I still stumble over loads. It's a long learning process!

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  7. I came to this post from #AllAboutFrance and it is wonderful to read such a positive post from relatively recent expats! I'm going to read a post now from 2015 and see how things are going for you. I know exactly where Parisot is -- not all that far from Rodez -- and have a few British ex-colleagues who live there. You may even know them! Their names are Ga__ __ and M_nd_ ....ring a bell?

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    1. Yes we know them well! My husband just did some work with them recently at the house they manage and I saw her last night at the village jam session. We usually sing together but we haven't rehearsed for a while! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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