Are you an Expat?

I love a good rant, and one of my (many) favourite subjects for it, is the obsession the French medias seem to have about the expats, I mean the French expats. We are horrible people who left France, apparently the only civilised place on earth, fleeing like a bunch of satanic and obese rats. Maybe I am exaggerating a little, but it’s more or less the idea. And obviously, the only reason we did so what to avoid paying taxes in France and to ruin the country all by ourselves. Sure. The taxes avoidance thing. I should try to explain that to HMRC, I am sure they would have a good laugh. 

Lately, it seems French expat bashing is coming to a (very timid) rest in the French media. I don’t know,  maybe because people like me have been extremely vocal  in their disgust of the way we are treated by the French newspapers. But old habits don’t die so easily, and the French medias love to criticise the French living abroad (the traitors). So they came up with another idea: they are now discussing the difference between “expat” (horrible gold diggers who exploit poor French companies aboard and despise the locals) and the “resident” (horrible French deserters who claim to be completely integrated in their new country and mock the suffering of the mother land. Or something). Ok. So where does it leave me? I am definitely not an expat, but I don’t see myself as a resident either because  for the French media, the French resident aboard is  waiting to come back to France when he or she retires. Bottom line, one way or another, you have to come back or at least to want to come back to France. Not me at all then.

First, I haven’t  say “coming back to France” for years. I do go on holiday in France sometimes, too often actually. I would love one year to have a proper holiday, not to have to drag the kids from family gathering to family gathering and coming back ( here in the UK) more tired than when we left. Because we committed the inexplainable, we left, we are the one who have to travel to see our family and friends if we want to maintain any relationship. But it does’t mean anything to our children. They hardly know these people and don’t care about authentic French cheese the way I still do. Our children are not French. They are British with French origin, that ‘s completely different. Where do they fit in the French medias description? 

I don’t know why the French medias suddenly want to put us in a subcategory like that, but if I have to define my situation , I would say that I am a migrant. Only the word has been tarnished lately…well, actually, you know what, what are the French journalists calling the foreigners who moved to France permanently? Immigrants. Do they think the immigrants did so to pay less taxes? (ahaha, in France! ) Do they think they are heartless billionaires who don’t care about the country they live in?  That they are only dreaming of going back to where they come from? No. That’s not what the French media say when they talk about well integrated immigrants in France. Guess what, it works both way. I am an immigrant, and happy like that. And it’s exactly the same for all the French expats or whatever you want to call us I know here. Sorry for the French journalists, but I chose to come and live in England. I embrace it, I love it, and I do not plan on leaving it. It’s my home. 

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4 Responses to Are you an Expat?

  1. Anamaria says:

    You are so right !
    I’m French, born in France from Spanish parents living there for more than 30 years now … I feel French, not Spanish even if we tend to speak spanish at home !They are perfectly integrated (and paying taxes !), and don’t bother “going back to Spain” for holidays but enjoy travelling the world with their own unique spanish-french accent when they speak english, making people wonder where they come from !
    Medias in France are so closed to international news, so focused on frenchy-french issues… and criticized so often that expat are eventually a good target : you are not here to protest !
    I’m happy I can adapt nearly anywhere, not afraid of working or even living abroad and I’m sure that is a benefit of a multicultural, open-minded growing environnement… I’m sure your kids will experience that too !
    Oh, and nice job with this english blog, it is just as funny as the french one !


  2. I started to call myself an immigrant a few weeks ago. I’m still working on the right specification; I’m not really an economic migrant, more of a cultural and lifestyle migrant :-p . Basically I love England, the language, the culture, the TV, the attitude to work and the opportunities available even if you haven’t got a degree, unlike the snobbism you get in France regarding your education (bitter, moi?). I’m definitely not an expat anymore (no plans to go back) and I can’t see myself ever going back unless the government tackles the job problem properly (mostly the lack of CDIs and the stupid red tape around entrepreneurship; and the ‘securite de l’emploi’ thing that makes people near un-sackable even if they’re rubbish at their job). I am so happy to work in England and would HATE to work in France, can you tell?


    • pomdepin says:

      Just a little! 🙂 I don’t think anything could make me go back to France. I could leave England, but for somewhere new, not for a country I left ages ago and do not feel any connection with anymore (except if we talk about food…but you can buy French cheese anywhere now!)

      Liked by 1 person

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