A Life in Paris

14 Most Difficult (and funny) Challenges of Moving Abroad

January 24, 2016
funny and difficult challenges of moving abroad

… In no particular order:

  1. Losing my favorite sweaters to the washing machine that speaks a different language and uses only hot water, refusing all attempts at a cold cycle. #ByeBye
  2. Scouring the grocery store for a bag of tortilla chips and finding none. #GimmeChips!
  3. Logging in to my French bank account online and understanding NONE of the vocabulary on the page. Is online banking done in Russian?!? #ParlezVousRussian?
  4. Being carless for the first time since high school, my brain has no concept of leaving the house on foot on the weekends. I therefore spend my weekends at home, only moderately aware that it is my unfamiliarity with “fun on foot (in the cold)” that is preventing me from leaving the house to enjoy the world. #iMissMyCar
  5. Making ⅕ of my US income and discovering that this is fairly normal for the average French person, because one can actually survive on so little! #ShowMeTheMoney!
  6. Wanting to call my friends in the late morning, only to realize that they will be asleep for another 6 hours. #SleepingIn
  7. Arriving at the doctor’s office during his scheduled hours only to find a handwritten(!!) note indicating he would be absent that day and for the next three days. #RelaxedMuch?
  8. Spending 3 hours in a waiting room to see the doctor (3 days later) who cannot do the necessary tests in-office; going to do the tests the next day only to discover they only do THOSE tests earlier in the day; arriving (earlier) the next day to do the tests, and then being told I’d get the results in 5 to 7 days. *What takes 90 minutes in a urgent care clinic in Baltimore takes 10 days in France! #DontWorryImFine
  9. Accidentally cuddling my colleagues as they attempt the french cheek kisses: les bises (click here to read my mishaps). #Oops!
  10. Serving coffee to my French in-laws only to discover that EVERYTHING I had prepared for them was absolutely not the right (aka French) way to serve coffee (click here for a good story about my coffee misadventure). #Fail
  11. Writing beautifully worded thank you cards in French. #MyBrainHurts
  12. Struggling to accept the fact that nobody has screens on their windows, which means that the fight against flies and bugs is common and accepted. (?!?) #Gross!
  13. Doing my US taxes with the utter complication of foreign earned income, a non-American spouse, and payments to a foreign social security. (Filing taxes is required of all US citizens regardless of their residency status. The IRS is super serious about this.) #Confused
  14. Discovering the person across from me has misunderstood my question and has taken the conversation to a whole different (and often uncomfortable) place in their attempt to respond to the question they thought I had asked… #Awkward

Challenges Moving Abroad to France

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  • Reply Diane January 24, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Hi there, I feel your pain! About #2, I’ve found tortilla chips in both the exotic food section as well as Doritos brand plain chips next to all the pretzels and other munchies. Now if only I could find some decent fresh salsa… I think I need to make my own!

    • Reply Tammy January 24, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      You’ve found them!?!? Oh my goodness, you have magic skills! Fresh salsa? Oh, you’re asking for a lot! LOL Perhaps the organic (bio) markets? That’s the only place I haven’t tried yet…

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