ELIZABETH’S ADVICE ON INTER-CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS
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.”