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.
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!