The Buoy Blog: How long have you lived in the US??
Véronique: 18 months
Nicolas: 18 months
TBB: What brought you here?
V: My husband’s job
N: My dad
TBB: What were you expecting before coming to the US?
V: I thought it would be better than France. I was tired of the way France was working and of its atmosphere that I found too tense. I needed a break. Also, I wanted to enjoy a family life with my husband more often at home. Since my family in France didn’t hold me back, I decided to try the experience.
N: I though life would be better and everything would be bigger. I thought I would never go back to France.
TBB: Were your expectations reached or disappointed?
V: I am a little disappointed, especially because there are no organizations to welcome foreigners. Fortunately, I could rely on a French family that already lived here.
N: I am not disappointed, everything is larger! But, it would have been better, if I wasn’t a teen in France before coming here.
TBB: Was adaptating to a new country easy or difficult?
V: It was very difficult, mostly because of the language. I couldn’t talk to anybody, so I withdrawal. I often felt lonely.
N: It’s very different from France. People keep their distance. For example, I couldn’t give a kiss (on the cheek1) to the girls in high School
(1 : Note from the BB : In France, teens and people greet each other by kissing each other cheeks. Depending on the place, it could be one on each cheek (South) to two on each cheek (North)
TBB: What was the most difficult situation to handle?
V: One day, I let my little kids in my car while I went into a store, like I used to do in my village in France. When I came back, a woman was on the front seat, and two police officers were waiting for me. I thought that she wanted to steal the car, and that they arrested her. I didn’t understand what they were saying and I panicked. Actually, she saw my kids alone, and she called the police.
However, the most difficult was to let my kids in school. The two oldest had French kids with them, but the youngest was alone. It was very stressful, but it was the best way to learn the language.
N: The first month in high school was awful. I didn’t understand what people were saying and how the school was working. I was completely lost. There is no break, or recess. I felt like a prisoner.
TBB: How did you get out of it?
V: I called my husband on the phone, and he translated for me.
N: A French buddy helped me being self-sufficient. Without him, I would have run away!
TBB: What was your best moment here?
V: The places we have visited, like the Grand Canyon, and all the stores. I never did so much shopping, and buy brands like here!
N: I have a lot of good memories. Trips were fantastic. Everything was possible from deserts to mountain.
TBB: What are the things you love most about America?
V: The sky is clearer in New Jersey than in Lyon. With all these animals –bears, deer, and squirrels– in my backyard, I feel like I am living in a zoo!
I love my good American friends.
N: American cookies, and refill!
TBB: What are those you do not like?
V: Adults are over polite, but cold. Kids are rude. I miss the kiss on the cheek to say hello. It’s another way to greet. I think that Americans are more reserved, less warm.
Also, the country is not green enough, and has not enough organic products.
I don’t like that here people eat anytime.
N: I have this feeling of being watch. There is less freedom in high school here than in France.
TBB: What are you missing from France?
V: My friends. The good point of this experience is I know now who my real friends are. Thanks Skype!
N: My family, my grandparents, my friends, the “charcuterie,” and the alcohol. Kids cannot drink a beer before 21 years old, but they can carry a gun. That’s stupid!
TBB: If you had to go back to France, what would you take with you from the US?
V: I like the education about drugs and alcohol in schools, but it can be too extreme. People are more respectful about the police, and I feel more secure. Again, it can be too much sometimes. In American schools, the mentally and physically handicap are more tolerate. I would love to get a little from both countries!
N: More cookies! Plus, I find electronic devices cheaper and more accessible here.
TBB: What advice would you give to a French person who would like to come live in the US?
V: Learn the language before coming. Get as much information as you can, ask questions to French families already in the country.
N: Avoid coming during high school years, unless you can go to a French High School ( lycée Français) –but it’s very expensive.