Has it really been 6 years already? This month marks Oui In France’s 6th birthday! I started this blog back in 2012 and didn’t have too much of a plan back then except to share my new life in France with those back home and see where it would take me.
Over 650 posts later, I’m still here and have discovered that blogging not only gives me purpose but is something I enjoy so incredibly much. Thank you always for your support. Whether this is the first post you’re reading of mine or you’ve been here for years, I appreciate you.
How to say Happy Birthday in French
So first, if you’re wondering how to say happy birthday in French, it’s bon anniversaire or joyeux anniversaire. They are both equally popular and mean the same thing. I think you’d see joyeux anniversaire more frequently on birthday cards, though.
Here’s Tom saying happy birthday in French so you can hear it (click the little play icon):
He says bon anniversaire first and then joyeux anniversaire. Note the liaison between each pair: bon and anniversaire; joyeux and anniversaire. When you say it in real time, the “n” in “bon” and “a” in “anniversaire” come together and same thing with the x and a in the second pair.
AHHHhhh, so 6 years.
Where do I even start?
This blog launched back in May 2012 about 6 months after I moved to France. I didn’t have a plan and was scared no one would read my site. Or like it. Or like me. But I just went for it… and we’re all still here 6 years later. Thank you. Really truly.
Over the past year, here’s a look at some of what I’ve done: I’ve relaunched the Oui In France shop, redesigned my website after 5 years, traveled a bit around France including a canal cruise on the Canal du Midi and the Charente-Maritime and the Loir Valley, made it home to the USA for Thanksgiving last November, and started doing Facebook Live.
I’ve tried to get back to my blogging roots a bit by focusing on more of the “living abroad lifestyle” aspect of Oui In France and to not be so France focused. I tried to do that once before back in 2014 when the France content began dominating. I never intended to write about France so much.
I noticed time and time again that I’d inadvertently posted about France more than I had set out to do (ah, look at the list of my favorite posts below. Many of them are about France!). Why’d this happen? I wasn’t as strict with my editorial calendar and mix of topics as I would have liked. And it’s all my own doing since I didn’t carefully plan all of my content months in advance. A lot goes into blogging and many times, if I only had an hour to do something, I’d focus on the tasks I enjoyed doing and not what I should have been doing. Anyway…
Oui In France has always encompassed more than just being an American in France, but I guess I have a lot to say on France since it is obviously a huge part of my life and writing about it comes naturally!
Quite regularly since 2012, I’ve written at length about practical things that have to do with living in France, the French, language learning, and cultural observations. It’s what I default to and am most comfortable writing about since France is always in my face. But it’s not all of my life. There’s nothing good about staying in you comfort zone, so I need to remind myself of that fact as I head into year 7.
Moving forward, I’m going to hold myself accountable and continue to make a concerted effort to post a variety of content within the living abroad lifestyle realm as I head into my 7th year of blogging. I love writing about healthy living and wellness and personal development. I like shopping, wine, and more… in addition to posts about French culture, the language, travel and other living abroad topics that are meant to inform, entertain and inspire. I love it all. Anyway, your support always means the world.
So yea wow, this blogiversary also means I’ve been living in France for over 6 years.
Personally speaking, I was a fish out of water in a lot of ways when I arrived in France. Between the language and culture adjustments to being newly married, it was a lot to take on all at once. So what did I do? I tried my best with it all. I got Dagny, who I had been waiting for for so long. I blogged, blogged, and blogged some more. And cried. I still have bad days.
My early posts didn’t have the best photos or profound cultural observations. They were me discovering my new world. I’ve come a long way with my writing and have surprised myself with things I’ve overcome, both on and off the blog. One of the posts I’m the most proud of on this site is my 5000-word reflecting after 5 years post. I’ve been digging deeper these past couple of years.
On the tech side of blogging, I’ve grown as well. I didn’t know too much about blog formatting, SEO, stabilizers and mics, or photo editing at the beginning, but I’ve learned by doing and have wholly enjoyed the process and community I’ve built over the years.
One quick thing. If anything you’ve seen here has inspired or helped you, always, always feel free to reach out if you need anything. I love hearing from my readers and am happy to help any way I can. Sometimes the blogging world is weird and people don’t always help others or support (probably my biggest pet peeve), but please know I’m here for you. Blogging is more fun when you have friends. What good are we to anyone if we can’t connect and encourage others? If you’re thinking of starting a blog, read this.
Now without further ado, in honor of Oui In France’s 6th birthday, here are some of my all-time favorite posts on the site (in no particular order). It’s no surprise many of them are personal reflections and observations and many of them are from the last year. (There are probably a bunch of good ones I’m forgetting too):
The strange noises French people make: I still find the noises hilarious and had a blast writing and recording this in the early days. It’s still one of the most-read posts on my entire site.
Do you feel French?: A shifting identity is a topic many foreigners abroad can relate to, so here’s my answer to the question I’m commonly asked.
Are you happy in France?: My take on what it means to be happy.
Our hot air balloon experience in the Loire Valley: Still to this day one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Peaceful, scenic, and calming, I’d recommend a hot air balloon ride in the Loire Valley to anyone. And don’t forget to watch the video!
Getting over your fear of speaking a foreign language (and why you just have to do it): Some encouragement for those of us who aren’t used to speaking in our second language. The sooner you bite the bullet and SPEAK, the better.
Reflecting on 5 years in France: This is the longest post on my site and I felt such a release after getting all of that out.
Dark side of expat life: Life abroad is not always easy and it was important for me to speak up about the not-so-rosy aspects of life in France and provide resources for those struggling.
Why does France allow us to slow down and appreciate life more?: Or does it? Let’s take a closer look.
Making the positives mean more: Our society puts such a focus on the negatives and it’s time to turn that around.
How to bring wine on a plane (the safe way): I had so much fun working with Lazenne on this post, especially the photography and video. If you want to bring wine home after a trip abroad, you need to read this.
Don’t ever hug a French person: This is mandatory reading if you’re going to greet a French person.
What’s surprised me the most?: After 6 years, I was finally ready to put my observations into words and write this post. It goes well beyond surface level.
When living abroad forces you to reinvent yourself: If you’re abroad long-term, your sense of self might change and that’s OK.
Merci mille fois. If you enjoy what I do, a share or two on one of your favorite posts would be much appreciated!
Onward and upward as we go into year 7…
What’s your favorite post on my blog?
How to say happy birthday in French & my 6th blogiversary