Narrator’s Voice is heard:
“Does this ever happen to you?”
Queue photos of a woman carrying a grocery bag that breaks, a man having a car splash water on him, a couple having the doors to a theater shut in their face.
“Do you ever feel like you just want to throw in the towel, like the world just isn’t on your side?”
Show image of unattractive depressed person looking out a window on a rainy day.
“What if you could change all that? What if I told you that there is a way that you could never have a bad day again and nothing will ever be your fault?”
The word “HOPE” flashes across the screen.
“Follow me through this infomercial as we tell you more about this exciting side of living overseas. We’ll explain how everything that happens to you while in another country is actually just the result of that country and not your personal actions.
Do you remember that cold you got last winter? That cold was your fault for drunkenly making out with a stranger in January (*The bottom of the screen scrolls “get checked for meningitis”). But I guarantee that if you come with me on this journey, you will learn that any cold you get overseas is not the fault of your own stupidity, but instead, the fault of your host-country for having weird virus strains. If your grocery bags breaks; it is because that country has crappy grocery bags and not because you overloaded it. If a car splashes you with water, it is because the people in your host-country are jerks; it is never just an unfortunate accident. Don’t stay trapped living in a world where bad luck and bad days just happen at random, instead, live in a world where you have something to blame.
Show sun peeking through clouds as people waving different flags dance together in a field.
As you join us on this journey, please remember our motto: There are no bad days, just bad countries!”
Scroll at bottom of screen: DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for any individuals assaulted, arrested, or kicked out of their host countries.
Every once in a while, I will go through a phase of blaming everything that is wrong in my life on France. If I have had a bad day or if someone is mean to me it isn’t just random coincidence; it is the nefarious nature of France. It’s a sort of expat trick that no one ever really talks about. Basically, you can glamorize your home country and decide that all misfortunes that befall you are based directly on the culture, government, and personality of your host-country as opposed to just dumb luck or your own poor behavior and choices. It’s fantastic; really…except for the fact that you are completely ignoring personal responsibility and setting up your home country to disappoint you hugely (no big deal, right?).
Luckily, I only go through these phases occasionally. More often, I take it the other approach which is that it is all personal.
“WHATEVER! I just want to go home. I’m not having fun; I don’t like it here anymore.”
(No, this is not a child crying from home-sickness at summer camp; this is me.)
“What’s more,” I continue. “I don’t think France likes me being here either.” I say this with the best “conspiracy theory” voice I can muster. “It’s like it’s trying to kick me out.”
MB sighs. “France is not trying to kick you out.”
“How would you know?! You are not France, are you? Heck, you lived overseas for the past six years; France probably doesn’t even talk to you about its plans anymore!”
This is the tack that I take when I have decided that missing the tram, getting yelled out by a professor, and burning dinner is actually a passive aggressive message from France telling me to get the hell out as opposed to just a series of randomly unfortunate events. I mean, it must all mean something, right? It isn’t just coincidence; France is plotting my demise. …Right. It’s personal not business.
It is one of the weird things about being an expat – that you can blame bad luck on your host country or that you can decide that your host country is trying to push you out instead of being forced to embrace problems head-on and realistically. It’s really just an extension of the “grass is always greener” idea, the lie that the “other” is the better. The reality is that bad days and bad luck can happen anywhere and it doesn’t matter whether it is in the place you were born, a place you’ve visited once, or a place that you have lived for a few years. Bad luck isn’t a place’s fault at all; it is just coincidence and a consequence of existence in our Universe…so for now we have to deal with it.
Though, I have no doubt that once a new Universe is discovered and people move there they will blame that one for everything and think that this one is perfect.
16 thoughts on “Blame France”
Great writing and insight, Nancy Kate!
Thanks so much!! 🙂
Another brilliant post! I know a few people who constantly blame their host country and while I can understand why they do so, it still annoys me greatly.
The idea of France sending you passive-aggressive signs to kick you out made me laugh. I’m quite receptive to random events as well but never thought Switzerland would send me messages, more “The Universe” in general… I’m just working on a post about it at the moment 😉
Haha – yeah, I think it is an easy trap to slip into! Can’t wait to see what you write!
Hmm… France is actually *trying* to keep me here (see Air France strike for evidence). What does this mean?
haha – uh oh, beware!!! 😉
Ha ha this is so true! Although, I do also go ‘mmm yeah right’ at the sort of 21 year old college student types who are all “omg omg omg, I’m going to live in Paris in a gorgeous apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower and like, be a journalist with a book deal and it’s going to be sooooo amazing and perfect!”
haha – yes indeed! And my, there are so many of them!!
I definitely do this when I’m driving. These are not just any bad drivers, these are bad FRENCH drivers.
I got really confused when I realised that the two people who really pissed me off on the motorway today were German.
haha – yes, exactly, it is so easy to make everything a “French” issue instead of just normal! 🙂
This post reminded me of a postcard I saw in this week’s edition of PostSecret(.com):
CUTE – love it!
Your last line was so Douglas Adams! I loved it.
I also think France definitely tried to kick me out… but I get what you’re saying. I still feel like life is a lot easier back home, but I think that might have to do with being a citizen vs. an immigrant more than cultural stuff.
Thanks!! Yes, dealing with visas is definitely a legitimate thing that is harder. For sure! I will be happy to let that go one day!
I like what you write !
Thank you for sharing 🙂