Leading a double life

This might sound more interesting than it actually is in reality. I’m not a secret spy, nor do I have a second Mr FancyingFrance tucked away somewhere!

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I am a Gemini so that might have something to do with any duality I may have, if I was totally convinced by signs of the zodiac.

On the other hand, I am lucky enough to have two homes and divide my time between S.E. England and S.W. France. I do consider our French house to be a second home rather than purely a holiday house but there are distinct positives and  challenges to maintaining and travelling between properties.

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Our French house

I’m also mindful of the fact that there are people who don’t have a home at all and that I was fortunate to have inheritances which financed the French property. Although it is never truly fortunate when a family member or friend is no longer with us.

What’s it like to lead a double life?

  • It means travelling quite a lot. Sometimes by car, sometimes by plane. If we fly it’s between  Toulouse and Gatwick. I’ve become a truly light flier as I don’t have to transport any toiletries or clothes as I have some in each place. If we drive, we allow two days and have a found the ideal hotel, for a one night stop over, outside Tours.
  • It involves adapting to a different pace of life, according to where I am.  In France, I feel more as if I’m on holiday. I don’t rush around as much as I do in the UK as I don’t have the same extensive network of family and friends.
  • It necessitates switching between languages. I believe this is very good for my aging brain! There was a time when my French was fluent. I even used to dream in French! This isn’t the case anymore but I’m working on it.
  • It entails adapting to cultural differences in terms of food, shopping, etiquette and more besides. We eat out more frequently in France and always buy food from the local market.
  • It results in us modifying our behaviour. In France, I am even more polite. I do have a bee in my bonnet about saying please, thank you, holding doors open for people and so forth. I have been told that I am too polite. How is that even possible?! When I meet people in France, we always shake hands or kiss on the cheek, depending on how well I know them. When I go into a shop, I always say ‘Bonjour Monsieur, Madame,’ etc. This is the norm. I wrote about the ‘kissing dilemma’ here: https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/faire-la-bise-to-kiss-or-not-to-kiss/

These are just some of the aspects of my double life. I’ve read somewhere that everyone leads a double life to some extent, that we all have a public and personal persona. This was certainly the case when I was a teacher!

Do you lead any kind of a double life? I’d love to know!

 

5 thoughts on “Leading a double life

  1. Such a beautiful french home, June. Gemini women, I find, are very capable, and do a lot. Maybe because there are 2 of them? (wee joke – hope it’s not in bad taste) A friend is a Gemini and overall, she has 7 planets in that sign: she says that there are 14 of her (chuckle)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found it interesting that you are more in holiday mode when in France. Do you envisage living there permanently one day? I’m sure the language switch is a great brain work out. Very young children who are bilingual display greater maturity in cognitive function and are often socially competent in advance of their monolingual peers. Lots of research in this area shows bilingualism is advantageous to brain activity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent question. Yes, I always imagined living in France, permanently, especially having already lived there for two years. However, that was before having a family! Bilingualism is a fascinating topic. As a languages teacher and trainer, I was always interested in this aspect of children’s development. Of course, as we age, research also shows learning a new language is very good for the brain. Therefore, I keep plodding away at my Spanish!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I manage a smattering of French but apart from asking where I can buy a newspaper or find a toilet my Spanish (and Portuguese) are severely limited. Children’s language acquisition is fascinating.

        Liked by 1 person

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