Before I answer if I like living in France as an American, I want to start off by saying that life is what you make of it no matter where you live. Someone living in a bustling European capital may be miserable while someone in backwoods Alabama may be having the time of their life — and vice versa. Certainly external factors play into your overall happiness, but the biggest factor is your attitude. Said another way, you’re in control of your own happiness.
What do I mean by that and how does it relate to living in France?
A matter of perspective
There are positives and negatives to everything in life and some people choose to see the glass half empty. Did you see how I said choose. It’s true. What’s the point of focusing on the negatives. It’s too easy, isn’t it? Use that energy on the positives and you may just shock yourself. I did. But I haven’t always been this way. Make a choice to focus on the good, the positives and the things that make you smile. Surely the negatives are there too, but no need to dwell on them.
Do you wish you lived somewhere else? Make it happen or don’t, but just remember, it’s in your control. No one said it’s easy to make a change. Just remember that somewhere else isn’t necessarily better. Don’t most people think the grass is always greener somewhere else? Maybe it really isn’t.
Do I like living in France?
So back to my original question. Do I like living in France? YES! Why wouldn’t I? If I didn’t, why would I be here? I’m finally living with my husband (no more long-distance relationship stress), I’m getting better and better at an awesome language and I’m exposing myself to a new culture and having the time of my life. Where else can you get fresh croissants and baguettes every morning?
Another perk is that France is a great hub for European travel and beyond. So many new places are just a short plane or train ride away, and to say I’ve taken advantage of that is an understatement. I’ve traveled all around France, to Belgium, England, Italy, Croatia and Morocco, to name a few. Why, you ask? Why not? I love to travel and I feel like it’s my duty to see the world and take advantage of everything France (and beyond) has to offer.
I’d also like to point out that it was my choice to move here. I did not come here for my job or to make Tom happy (though that was a result). I didn’t move to France for anyone except myself, on my terms, and I think that also plays in to my overall feeling of satisfaction here. This is something I wanted and I made it happen for myself. Some people say I’m so lucky. Luck has nothing to do with it. I chose to come here. Was it easy to leave the States behind? No way!
Living in France pros and cons: It’s not all rainbows and butterflies
I do love living in France as an American, but that’s not to say that life is all peachy all the time. It’s a constant challenge. I complain. A lot. Ask Tom. It’s actually easy to do so when you consider the cost of gas, the bureaucracy here, the language troubles, and a bunch of other things. But I fit right in because French people complain a lot, I’ve noticed.
They’re also extremely sympathetic to others’ issues. Are you tired? So are they. Life is so dur! Are you sick? The person you’re talking to understands — they had the gastro last week! So maybe my complaints are just my way of trying to fit in. Or maybe I like to complain and it’s a way to cope and adjust.
Regardless, the living in France pros and cons are like anywhere. France presents the same obstacles you’d find in places all over the world. We don’t live in Paris. We’re not rich. We don’t have a glamorous life. But we do have each other and Dagny. And at this point in my life, I think that’s all I need.
The bottom line is to enjoy your life wherever you are, even if it’s far from your ideal life. If you’re not enjoying it, make a change. Life is too short to do anything else…