Living France - - Author In Provence -

Be­ing mar­ried to a French­man has in­tro­duced El­iz­a­beth to cul­tural dif­fer­ences, but she firmly be­lieves it has en­riched both of their lives, although pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing are key to mak­ing it work.

“Hav­ing the two cul­tures makes you au­to­mat­i­cally more open-minded. You can’t as­sume any­thing, you have to ex­am­ine each lit­tle fact and ex­pe­ri­ence as it ar­rives, and that makes you more open to the world and more open to new ex­pe­ri­ences. When you live in another cul­ture you dis­cover that there is no such thing as nor­mal!

“When I first moved to France, Gwen­dal came into the apart­ment one day and, with quite a sense of oc­ca­sion, an­nounced that he had put me on the gas bill… And I thought ‘Ok, well that’s ro­man­tic!’ but of course, had I been French, I would have un­der­stood what that meant: be­cause you don’t ex­ist in France un­til you have your name on a util­ity bill. It was al­most like a pre-pro­posal! We were al­ready liv­ing to­gether, but I think putting me on the gas bill was prob­a­bly a big­ger step to­wards mar­riage than the ac­tual mov­ing in to­gether was. I didn’t re­alise at the time what a mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion it was.”

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