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From Paris to London: Britishette
09 August, 2012 10:07
Hi I’m Jo, aka Britishette on my blog. I’m a 33 year old Parisian girl who loves to move around. With my Austrian hubby Chris, we lived in Seattle, New York, Vienna, Tokyo and Paris. As our little girl Stella turned 1, we packed our bags again and crossed the channel to experiment the London life. Can’t believe how things are different just a train ride away!
1. Why did you move abroad?
I love to live abroad. I am so curious about the daily life of people in other countries. I get excited just visiting the supermarket. So when my husband was asked to relocate to London for work, I didn’t hesitate for one second. We had been in England before, but never to live, and I think it is such a different experience to settle in a new country. The love of football, of crazy fashion and pubs convinced us to get on the Eurostar.
2. How do you make a living?
I was a management consultant in Paris, working away from home a lot. So I stopped when Stella was born as it didn’t seem sustainable or fun. Since coming here, I didn’t rush into getting a job as I really want my kid to settle quietly in London. I know a change of scenery can be a lot on a baby, including with the new language. So for now, I’m working on my blog Britishette to keep an activity. After 6 months I am a lot less worried about Stella as she picked the British accent much faster than we do, so I guess she’s all settled now.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
With the Eurostar, home is fairly close and easy to reach. It’s a 2h15 ride to Paris. Still I only went back once, as I really want to make London my home. The best part is all the family and friends that are able to visit us. For the rest, Skype is our first way of communicating. Facebook and the internet make everything easier and faster. People also get updates via the blog. We’re also lucky as the time difference is only one hour with Paris and Vienna.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in London?
I love it here so much. We live in Islington, the North of London. It is big time Arsenal territory and everyone lives and breathes for this soccer team. It creates a great sense of community and I feel like Islington is a little village in the middle of London. On game days, everybody dresses in red and talking about the game. I didn’t have that in Paris.
I love that there are so much stuff for kids in London like parks, and city farms and dedicated places for strollers in buses.
I love the fashion here. I am amazed that people dress in the most surprising way and that nobody finds in unusual.
I love that most museums are free in London. So it’s really easy to pop in the British museum for just an hour. Art is right around the corner.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in London?
I am not getting used to the bus drivers. They are the only people that consistently disappoint me in this city
6. What do you miss most?
My baguette in the morning
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
With a small child, it was fairly easy to meet people at the nursery or in the many parks. Also in the cafes, people are really open to discuss, especially when you come from abroad. I feel like we meet new people nearly everyday.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Well, I love that people go to the pub after work. And man, can they drink. But I don’t understand how they can skip on food and just drink the night away. I need to eat. I am French.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
I had heard awful stuff about the English food but I find it fun. London is very international so I find fabulous Chinese and Indian food. Also, the Sunday Roast is a blast in the pub. Don’t miss it!
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The major difference with Paris is the rent here. We more than doubled it by moving so of course it does have an impact. The price of the Oyster Card (the metro card) is also twice more expensive than it was in Paris. For the rest, food, home stuff, it’s pretty much the same.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Get the Time Out and go out. Get lost in East London, explore the markets, get on the bus, talk to people.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started the bog about a couple of months before moving as I thought it would be a fun way to remember those fun times and create some memories. Now the blog works well and I got to meet fellow bloggers and participate to fun blogger events in London.
Jo's blog, Britishette
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