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'Foreigners should adapt to France': How well have you?
How well have you adapted to life in France?

'Foreigners should adapt to France': How well have you?

The Local · 8 Jun 2016, 15:01

Published: 08 Jun 2016 15:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Jun 2016 15:01 GMT+02:00

“It’s not up to France to adapt to foreigners, it’s up to foreigners to adapt to France,” said Laurent Wauquiez the second in command of France's Les Republicains party.

He said “there’s danger of a cultural and political disintegration” in the country unless foreigners' assimilate.

Well to be fair Mr Wauquiez, it's easier for some than others to adapt to la vie française.

But if you're questioning how well you have done, then run through this check list to find out.

How many of these can you tick off? Above 45 and you pass the Wauquiez test (and can stay in France in peace as an honorary Frenchy).

1. You know "salut" means both "hello" and "goodbye" and are totally comfortable with that.

2. You have your CV translated into French, but it doesn't say "résumé" at the top.

3. You know "plus" means both "more" and "none left" and are also totally comfortable with that. 

4. You no longer complain about dog poo on the sidewalk because you’ve developed an unbelievable sixth sense for avoiding it.

5. Parallel parking is an art that you’ve mastered by not caring about scratched or dented bumpers.

6. You’ve given up going to the gym. Sprinting down Metro stairs and dashing into the train milliseconds before the doors close is exercise enough.

7.You’ve given up red solo cups and beer pong for quiet, calm French “soirées”: a small group of friends having lively intellectual conversations over a bottle (or two if you're lucky) of wine. 

8. You have a job that actually requires you to speak some French.

9. You speak French well enough to practice the celebrated Gallic art of puns and wordplay. 

10. You’ve learned to make all kinds of interesting mouth sounds that you never knew were possible, including saying "oui" at the same time as breathing in.

11. You’ve also added a plethora of Gallic gesticulations to your repertoire, including this one (below) for saying "drunk".

Photo: The Local

12. You’re not concerned about the sex lives of politicians as long as they get the job done, but you complain frequently that they never get the job done.

13. Once a stressed-out workaholic, you wax lyrical about the 35-hour work week, the five weeks paid vacation, the extra "RTT" days, the restaurant vouchers and you haven't had a walking lunch (no typo) for months.

14. You’ve stopped worrying about deadlines and loss of profits and instead join much of the country for a month long vacation in August.

15. You think nothing of saying to a friend, “Maybe you should go easy on the cheese tonight, your thighs are looking a bit plump”. (But of course you wouldn’t suggest giving up cheese altogether, mon dieu.)

16. Your road rage has transformed from angry muttering to full-on shouting matches with pedestrians and fellow motorists.

17. You are completely at one with French bureaucracy and have a huge filing cabinet at home full of pieces of paper you are too scared to throw away.

Photo: Flickr/TheeErin

18. You no longer complain that the French welfare system is too generous to unemployed "chomeurs" after having had at least two lengthy periods out of work, when you didn't have to call mum and dad back home for money.

19. You no longer tip a euro every time you order a drink at a bar. In fact, you no longer tip at all. And you don't feel guilty.

20. You no longer try to get a pay rise by getting drunk and asking your boss on a work's night out but calmly make an appointment to speak to them during work hours. 

21. You say “bonjour” in waiting rooms and stores and elevators, but you never smile too much. 

22. That sunny smile, once aimed at anyone from your boss to your waitress, is now reserved only for close friends and family and when you're actually happy.

23. You look forward to May and filling in you annual tax returns.

24. You no longer use “How are you?” as a greeting without an expected answer, but only ask if you actually care.

25. You’ve traded in a monstrous Starbucks latté on-the-go for a tiny espresso on the terrace.

Photo: Flickr/victorillen

26. You no longer wish France would change but instead long for it to stay the same.

27. You don’t think twice about giving your friend constructive criticism on her cooking at her dinner party.

28. You wear "speedos" to the public swimming pool without blushing.

29. You agree that the French language needs to be protected and promoted against the omnipotence of English.

30. You shake your head when you hear long-term expats who don't speak French or don't even try.

31 You can no longer imagine having a quick meal in front of the TV… Your reverence for a lingering three-course meal is the closest you come to having a religion.

32. You hide your religious beliefs from others fearing a verbal lynching.

33. When you move into a new apartment, you think it’s totally normal to have to buy cupboards, a refrigerator, a microwave, an oven, a washing machine, and other appliances you previously took for granted. 

34. You’ve got used to watching Friends and the Simpsons, but dubbed in French.

35. You’ve given up Marmite, Vegemite, or peanut butter for Nutella.

Photo: Flickr/moogs

36. Whereas your French cheese knowledge once consisted of "smelly" and “blue", you can now recognize and describe at least a couple dozen different varieties.

37. You no longer sweat at dinner parties when the cheese board comes out, because you know how to cut it.

38. You complain about the policies of the French government rather than the one in your home country.

39. You hate stereotypes of French people and your ears burn at criticism of France by other foreigners.

40. You accept strikes are held by "people fighting for their livelihoods" (except taxi drivers).

41. You don't think jobseekers are benefit scroungers, but that they are just claiming what they have paid into the system.

42. You can pronounce the French word for "écureuil" without swallowing your tongue.

43. You now play "pétanque" with metal balls in the local square rather than with multi-coloured plastic ones on a Brittany beach.

44. You have a real French friend, maybe two.

45.  You remember to take €23 in cash when you go to see the doctor.

46. You know you'll get some of that €23 back because you managed to get a "carte vitale".

47. You accept that as a vegan you're always going to be looked at weirdly.

48. For everyone else, you're not bothered if beef turns out to be horse. And you've never eaten frogs legs.

49. You speak French to fellow English-speakers, when there are French people in the room.

50. You've forgotten how to say or even shout the word "Fuck". The only swear word you ever us is "Putaaaaaaaiiiiiiiin".

51. You can stay awake during the talkathon at French dinner parties.

52. When a French politician says "foreigners should adapt to France" you totally agree (but wish they wouldn't say it all the time.)

by Katie Warren/Ben McPartland

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