Saturday, 9 July 2011

Soapbox

Just an observation.

Oh my God I am on my soap box again!!

We have been here 10 years now, when we arrived there were very few British people around our department.

Nowadays our ‘neck of the woods’ seem to be teeming with them.

Through a local (although expanding) organisation I see that there are well meaning ladies who are organizing charity events throughout the year. There are ‘tea party’ this, ‘auction’ that, coffee mornings, book sales etc. etc… All these events seem to be targeted for the British population. Flyers are mainly printed only in English whether they be given out by hand or posted online or in supermarkets etc. Yes, I do know of a couple of worthwhile causes that do their flyers in French first and English second but they are a rarity.

Well done I say, but I have to ask the question: why are so many of them fundraising for British charities?

Surely charity should begin at home, i.e., in the country in which you are living (and yes I do have my ‘pet’ charities in the UK.)

I came out here with my husband to live in France and to ‘live’ France. We are not here to exist within an English community. We are not anti English; after all we are English, but want to enjoy our life in the French community. If we get to meet English people that we can get on with then all well and good but when we encounter English that are really ‘in your face’ we can do without them, a case of would I want to be friends with them in the UK? If no then forget it!

I am probably repeating myself but I find on our local Anglo-info website there are many newcomers asking where they can find English speaking this and that (doctors, dentists, vets, notaries, accountants etc.) wondering where they can find English builders, carpenters, plumbers, where are the schools that take English pupils etc will my 5 or 10 or 15 yr old settle in as they don’t want to move out here etc… don’t these people do their homework? From my experience, children adjust far quicker than their parents.

These are the people who seem to create the English cliques that exist out here. Also word has filtered through that many do not bother learn the ‘polite’ basics of the language and are rude to shop assistants, never greeting with a “bonjour” or finishing with a “merci”, “bon journee”, “apr├Ęs midi” etc. always expecting at least one of the staff to speak English. Oh we remember some of the dreadful 'gaffes'that we made when we first arrived. At least it gave us all a laugh and we were given encouragement, help and a boost to our linguistic confidence.

It is not what I came here for. And I suspect that many of these go back after two or three years because they could not cope with the change.

And it seems that a lot of the ‘newbie’ English are not too happy with being either ‘shunned’ by their French neighbours or they find them too nosy; you know, asking about their former lives, their families, their health, their income – whether they are working and what at, why they are here etc. etc.. Of course they are going to be curious about these strangers who come to live in their country. If the ‘newbies’ don’t like it then they should give as little information as they want and continue to be regarded with ‘Gallic suspicion’.

Personally I love it, I love to chat and find about people that you are in close proximity to. I don’t have the English ‘reserve’ and I find that it is a good way to bond.

Ah well, that is the nature of the human race…

1 comment:

  1. I find Americans in Costa Rica with similar attitudes, forming similar cliques and being exploited by American 'helping hands'...just like some of the Brits in France.
    Needless to say we're already on the blacklist....

    Yes, nosiness is part of life in country France...it never bothered me, but I'd nothing to hide and I always stuck by the old tip, if you don't want people to know all your business just tell them nine tenths of it and keep what's important to yourself.

    All these 'activities' indicate to me too many people with too much time on their hands.

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