Brenda Wright ees brendaWpyren @
a friendly nod to Smile and offer know. Don’t people you don’t time with spend all your join in other Brits, and with local events
Be prepared for the insanity of French bureaucracy and bring every bit of official paperwork you own to every appointment with a fonctionnaire, just in case... I am only half joking!
BRENDA COOK CROISILLES, PAS-DE-CALAIS
When we moved to France, we were determined to become part of the community so we try to join in as much as possible. We always go to the commemorations for Armistice Day and VE Day. It is thanks to those men who gave their lives that we can enjoy a happy retirement in France.
The village committee organises outings and social events such as the Fête des Voisins and the Concours des Maisons Fleuries (floral garden display competition) and we attend as many as we can.
We are the only native English speakers in the village and we have run English workshops with various themes. We talk about anything and everything and it’s non-stop laughter. I have also been to the school on several occasions and really enjoy introducing them to English culture and singing with them.
There are lots of associations locally and so I have joined a choir, a keep-fit class and a line dancing group – things I have done in England so the only difference is the language.
In short, if you make an effort to join in, you will be welcome and accepted. Of course, to be able to do these activities you have to speak some French, but it doesn’t have to be perfect and they really appreciate the effort you’re making. The more you use the language, you’ll find the easier it becomes.
Find out more about the Fête des Voisins and how to integrate into French life on page 70