It Takes a Risk Taker to be an Expat in Provence
The Old School Expat
The word expat has always made me feel uncomfortable. It conjures up in my mind an old-fashioned view of a person. Someone who takes tea with the best china in their adopted country and then proceeds to whine about their surroundings. I am no doubt generalising, but of course, there are people like this. There are those who think that the choice to live or work elsewhere is not a patriotic one. I remember reading a remark on Facebook from a relation who works in education that the UK divorce from Europe shouldn’t be bothersome for people who didn’t even live in the country! He is misjudged, as an expat can sometimes be annoyingly more patriotic than ever.
The word expat is defined as someone who is not living in their own country, usually for a short time. Interestingly that makes the majority of us here immigrants, who by definition will want to stay much longer. Personally, I’ve never considered myself a fierce patriot. Instead, I’m a wanderer of the world where I can learn objectivity of not only where I find myself, but of my own country. It is on reflection not surprising that I married a foreigner and have now lived in Provence for 23 years. Additionally, I’ve worked in the travel industry for 34 years. As a child who always wanted to travel, I’ve walked my talk!
Expats in Provence
A couple of weeks ago I had a monthly meeting with a group I created called Network Provence and noted that amongst the thirty ladies who attended there were thirteen nationalities, this to me was pure bliss. Awesome women each with a story to tell, as to why they were in this part of the world and what project/business they were involved in. Our cosmopolitan collective insight, our unity, our risk factor, our energy, and yet our individuality pulls together much more than what might be generally considered an expat.
We’ve made, for most, a choice and taken a risk to be out of our comfort zone. Entering into another life where it won’t be necessarily easy. I expect if you’re here you’re not looking for the easy option. Instead, you’ll be creating your dream-life in a sunny place where the light is mesmerising, the food mouth-watering, the history inspiring, and the scenery breath-taking. Once you’ve settled in, the challenge to make social contact and work in a country which doesn’t speak your language kicks in on so many levels. This process indeed is not for everyone, this is for risk-takers!
Expats are Risk Takers
In the last four years, I find myself dazzled by women who have taken a risk, often by themselves to come here and follow their dreams. Typically is Raina Stinson who retired from her nursing career in the USA to follow her photography dream.
Communicating in French doesn’t come easy. Working out the rules and regulations can be a mine-field, yet the spirit of discovery is fierce and compelling. Nothing lands on the plate especially if you never leave your cosy armchair. However, each baby step takes you nearer to achievement for firstly yourself and then others. This for me is the expat!
If you are toying with the idea to come and live in Provence, blog sites such as Perfectly Provence have plenty of inspiring articles to help you enjoy the amazing lifestyle we have here, my networking group Network Provence will give you all the creative connections you need, and if you need support and motivation I’m a life-coach too. Contact me at www.rebeccaronane.com.
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