It is hard to analyse whether it has met my expectations as I didn't really have any. More than 3 years here and I'm still constantly learning. Ok so I thought by now I would be fluent in French, dating a Frenchman and be working as a professional writer. This hasn't exactly all happened. Firstly, my language skills are much better however I'm learning new words every single day. Fluency is really hard to achieve and it's something I think people just expect of you when you say you speak another language. I can't speak like a native as my idiom can be very British. My creativity is better meaning that I don't just trot out stock phrases but I don't use that much slang and my grammar can be all over the place at times. Evidently I'm not dating a Frenchman, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Finally I am working as a writer but not in the way I imagined. For some bizarre reason I thought that moving to Paris would mean that I could become an amazing creator of fiction. That hasn't happened. Instead my blogging has got better and I'm learning how to write advertising. It's all equally creative just not in the way I thought it would be!
Everyone thinks about Paris in different ways. Most people envisage this romantic destination full of people holding hands and swooning at the sight of the Eiffel Tower. I never really had that idea. Sure I love the Tour Eiffel when it sparkles, but I also adore watching old women talking to the vendors at the market. My preconceptions of France were more that I would spend my life drinking black coffee, eating foie gras and listening to old records. I drink a lot of black coffee, but hey that's office life!
We all arrive here expecting different things. Envisaging different lifestyles. But there is something we all have in common. We are slowly but surely becoming more native than the natives.