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.