A foreign romance

by Emily Wade on July 28, 2015


(Photo by momentummoonlight.com)

Dating a Frenchman  

A question that many have asked out of curiosity, yet one that few non-French speaking people can answer. As an English native speaker, I can assure you that never did I ever expect to be dating someone who didn’t speak English as their first language.

Our romance started when I embarked on a French Exchange with my college. From a few awkward meals together with his family, we eventually had a few hours alone (in a nightclub of all places!) where the conversation was awkward at best. Aside from the obvious noise issues due to being in the nightclub, there were some problems with language. We spent the evening speaking about music and other things that we liked but the language barrier made it difficult to clearly communicate, because I was nervous and my French was limping, and his English as broken and a little “maladroit”. After I left France, we stayed in contact and the spark was still there.

The first few months were quite difficult because we were so far apart. Obviously with most relationships, the couple are together most of the time. It’s as simple as taking a bus and meeting them less than an hour later. But with Flo and I, it wasn’t as easy as that. We had to suffice with Facebook messages and Skype video chats. My sister and I went over to visit during Easter 2014, and I also went over and did some work experience with Flo’s mum in a primary school. These trips made it easier, but it was still tough sometimes.


(Emily & Flo)

A year and a half down the line and things are going strong. In August 2014 Flo moved over to England, got a job and found some accommodation. We’ve been on holiday together, we’ve been on lots of days out together and we plan to move in together next year in Paris, as I will be going to university in the city centre. I’m really excited to live with him, and I think it will be full of challenges and exciting adventures.

But, the relationship has had its pitfalls. There have been numerous instances where English idioms, sarcasm and tongue in cheek humour has failed Flo. There’ve also been some occasions where Flo hasn’t communicated his ideas properly, which  meant that I completely misinterpreted what he wanted to say, which has caused several arguments.

However it’s not all been terrible and full of arguments. Many people say that French is the language of love, and they are absolutely correct. Flo has said some beautiful things to me in French which would not have had the same effect in English, and both of our second languages have improved to a near fluent level.


(Emily & Flo)

Moreover, since he moved to England, we have obviously been on several dates, which has been so much fun because we’ve been able to speak in French whilst surrounded by people who speak English. It’s been fun to giggle about things together and have nobody understand what we’re speaking about. I would definitely say that it has brought us closer together as a couple. It reminds me of when young siblings make up a secret language to speak so that their parents can’t understand them. Flo and I’s next challenge together will be learning ‘esperanto’, which is a language spoken by few (in comparison to French or English let’s say), meaning that we have another language in our arsenal with which we can communicate.

I have obviously had an advantage with this relationship because I speak French, but dating someone foreign has not been as daunting as it first seemed. Flo’s circumstances have evidently facilitated things, as he was able to move house and come to England. To anybody with concerns about dating someone who doesn’t speak your first language, I’d say 100% go for it, because it opens you up to another culture and the fun you’ll have learning about each other and learning about yourself too.


Emily Wade

Emily Wade is an 18 year old student from the north of England. I will be studying French at university in Paris in the next few years, and I enjoy languages, art and philosophy. Follow her on Instagram at https://instagram.com/spookyplacenta/


Study Abroad- Discover the World and a New Home

by Andrea Bouchaud on July 17, 2015


(photo by www.hccs.edu)
As the Twenty in Paris newsletter is currently on hiatus, I’m bringing the “Ask a Pro” section to you here on the Twenty in Paris blog. I sat down with study abroad extraordinaire, Elsa Thomasma, from GoAbroad.com to learn more about studying abroad. Here’s what she had to say:

I wish someone would have told me that anyone can study abroad, literally anyone, majoring in any subject, with any amount of experience. And also, that there are programs of varying lengths all over the world, and even scholarships to help you pay for it! If I would have known it was possible to take my general education courses in another country, I would have jumped at the chance (and you should too).

Luckily, I did find out in time and I was able to take advantage of my own opportunity to go abroad. At the end of my third year of university, I talked to my academic advisor about my desire to complete my practicum degree requirement abroad and he suggested I contact my study abroad office to see if it would be possible. I did so immediately and the answer was yes!

During my final year of university, my study abroad office helped me spend an entire semester interning and volunteering with a non governmental organization in the Philippines, while earning academic credit! Did I mention I was a full time student that whole semester AND I graduated in 4 years? Not long after graduation I returned to the Philippines as a full time intern with the same organization and shortly after I got a job at a local company; I’ve been living and working in the Philippines ever since.

Studying abroad is not a one time opportunity to earn academic credit, it is an opportunity for you to shape your future, your career, and your life. The best part is, study abroad is possible for anyone; just start looking through programs and you will find one that is perfect for you. Start your search with GoAbroad.com.



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Bonjour à tous,

I feel like a super schmuck with a capital S for being away for so long. I’m still in my funk, but have the added bonus of making a movie! It’s a documentary that I’m making for my job. I’m really excited with the content I got and am feverishly working on it to make a final product for its due date of June 26th…which means that I am going to be super MIA for June. As writer, director, light and sound grips, and editor, I don’t have any free time for writing or the Twenty in Paris newsletter. Again, I know super schmuck, but I need a second me to be able to do all the things I used to do plus the new skills I’m learning.

So enough about me, how about Paris! Instead of featuring it in the newsletter, I’m bringing the Twenty in Paris newsletter section of “Ask a Pro” to you. Here’s my favorite American expat in Paris, Melissa from Prête-Moi Paris on the importance (and utter joy) of learning to speak French while you call France home.

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My number one advice for those who want to live in France, whether it’s for a few months or a few years, or more : make all attempts to speak the language. I can’t stress enough how mastering the language helps you integrate better and faster. Dare to speak, dare to sound like an idiot, dare to communicate, it is the best way to feel at home here. I also recommend making just a couple of really good French friends. No need for a whole crowd of them, because talking one-on-one with someone in French will be easier than trying to keep up with a group conversation at first, and creating a bond with someone on that level will be a better way to make a friendship that lasts. You’ll find yourself in situations often where you feel like a wallflower, or an ignorant sore thumb, or someone that everyone seems to treat like you don’t know anything; this is because you lack the language skills and cultural knowledge to contribute anything meaningful. Be a sponge, soak it all in, even though you have lost your sense of humor because of the language barrier. It will come back with practice! Never, ever miss an opportunity to integrate and learn more about this country you have chosen to live in. The rewards will be lifelong!

Don’t forget to follow Prete-moi Paris on all its SM sites!




Where’s Twenty in Paris?

by Andrea Bouchaud on May 15, 2015


(Top photo by lovebeingretired.com. All other photos by Andrea)

I’ve been MIA lately. Ok, let’s be honest, it’s been a lot more than lately. More like since January 1, 2015. So where has Twenty in Paris been? Everywhere, no where, and in between. 2015 has turned out to be an extremely odd and growing pain year for me. Out of respect for my company as well as not participating in the millennial trend of trash talking on the internet, I won’t go into all the details. But, let’s just say I was thrown a curveball in my annual performance review that profoundly and negatively impacted me for over 4 months. Coupled with that curveball, I’ve been absolutely clueless about how to keep all you TIPsters informed and interested in studying abroad. I am against posting merde which is why I’m not posting as much; it’s also felt really good to unlpug for such a long time. So what have I been doing? Brainstorming, beefing up my Adobe creating/editing skills, making friends, making directorial debuts, and enjoying being a homeowner. I hope that this internet/writing funk ends soon. But in the meantime, don’t hesitate to ask for a particular topic to be covered or video to be made via a tweet. I love to hear from you!

house1 (Here’s a picture of super huge snail I found in my jardin while déraciner une plante)

house 2(portrait d’un potager... or freshly washed veggies!)