I find it hilarious that my French friend, Rita, teases me constantly about becoming a traitor to my country and abandoning it for France.  The French are under the impression that the US doesn’t really support its ex-pats (it doesn’t) and, unlike in many countries where living abroad is just an adventure, Americans (at home) are more inclined than many other nationalities to perceive ex-pats as having rejected the country altogether.

Of course, this same friend says that I have a French soul, so perhaps I have rejected my home country in some ways.

I’d like to think that, rather than rejecting the US and US culture in choosing to move, it’s more that I can see the pros and cons of both countries and have acknowledged that French culture suits my natural personality better.  There are aspects of US culture that feel unnatural to me or fake (and always have), yet the “norm” in French culture is more consistent with how I’d prefer to live my life and interact with others.

Having said that, there are things that are still an adjustment, such as learning that you generally wait in your hotel room until a man, even a co-worker, arrives to pick you up and has the hotel call up to your room to tell you “Monsieur” has arrived.  Even if he has to park in a lot and take a ticket.  There’s no, “I’ll be there at this time” with the expectation that you’ll be waiting outside or watching to run out and jump in. 

I’ve never minded chivalry, so this suits me just fine, even if it does mean learning a lot of little details about how the cultures differ!