Brenda Wright ees bren­daWpyren @

Living France - - Lifestyle -

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

LAUREN CLARY

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

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