7 Little things that still confuse me about life in France

Written by Diane. Posted in France, on life in France

Little things that still confuse me about life in France

I used to consider myself an on-top-of-things kind of person. I was pretty confident with myself and my place in the world when I was living back in New York City. I had a good understanding of adult things and was a fast talker and fast walker. Nothing about life in New York was really confusing.

But then I moved to France and I felt like my adult self was tossed back to infancy in some ways because everyday things would get super complicated, not to mention I’ve majorly slowed down. Today, five years into this living abroad thing, I still find a few little things about life in France a tad confusing. And I’m only half ashamed to admit it.


Synthol: Miracle French pharmacy product for bug bites

Written by Diane. Posted in France, on life in France

Synthol french miracle product for mosquitoes

Do mosquitoes feast on you when the weather gets warm? If so, we’re in the same boat.

Over the past couple of months or so, I’ve gotten some of the worst mosquito bites of my life. They swell up, get painful and red, the skin around them gets hard, and then they form a liquid blister that eventually breaks and crusts (the pics below aren’t even the worst ones). Oh, and they itch like mad. This never used to happen, though.

After a visit to the doctor last month and a 10-day course of antibiotics, I was left kind of hopeless as we head into the summer season. I already have a bug net for my bed, but what else could I do? Use Synthol, that’s what. This new-to-me product available at the French pharmacy is a miracle product for bug bites, so if you’re susceptible to all the creepy-crawlies, you’ll want to read on. Maybe it can help you.


American vs. French: How we write numbers

Written by Diane. Posted in on everything else, on life in France

American vs. French- How we write numbers

Over the weekend, I asked Tom to mail a letter I had sitting on the table. He was on his way out with Dagny and grabbed the letter, giving it a quick glance before putting it in his pocket.

“Is that a 6?” he asked after glancing at the first digit of the postal code I had written.

“Uh yea, of course it’s a 6. What else would it be?” I replied.

“OK, and that 2nd digit, that’s a 2 right?” he continued.

At this point, I got up to take another look at my envelope thinking maybe the ink smeared or he was messing with me. But nope, it was my perfectly legible (to me) penmanship. Clearly a 6 and 2. And he was seriously asking me to clarify what I’d written.

He wasn’t entirely sure. He was pretty sure but had to check just in case.

Tom and I often have this number conversation when either one of us writes something down that contains a number. His 4’s confuse me. I always make sure his 1’s aren’t 7’s. He doesn’t like my loops. His number 9 looks like a lowercase g.

Read on for more about how the French write numbers!

Reflecting on 5 years in France

Written by Diane. Posted in France, on life in France

reflecting on 5 years in france as an expatsmaller

Time is a magical thing. Sometimes it feels like life is creeping by at a snail’s pace and other times it whizzes by and you can barely catch your breath. Time can help to put things in perspective, mark different periods of our lives, and maybe best of all it allows us to heal, grow and reflect. This past winter marked 5 years in France, and wow, I can’t it’s been half a decade already.

Truth be told, this post has been in my drafts folder for months. I kept starting it and then deleting what I’d written not sure what I should say or how I should say it. It’s difficult to condense 5 years of your life into a blog post and to accurately convey what the experience has been like. Anyway, I’m going to try.

It’s a long one clocking in at over 3,500 words, so pour yourself a beverage and settle in, OK?

Enjoy. Maybe you can relate.

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