The Essentials to Survive as an Expat in France
- Basic Understanding of French: When I say basic, I mean you'll be able to survive with very minimal French. My advice though is to improve upon this asap... because you'll get stuck with some real snooty customer service- like I did... today. See.. I had to call Velo'v to change the card to my Técély.. and I got a bit lost on the phone. I got it done in the end, but I can say more than 'bonjour' and 'au revoir.
- Measuring cups/spoons that are 'Bi-Count': Bi-Count means, in my words, able to measure in cl/ml as well as cups/tablespoons. Recipes in Europe are on the metric system, if from the US, we are on the imperial system. Very confusing.
- French-French Dictionary: Not an English-French... because you'd be surprised how that can actually prevent you from learning French. It helps to understand the synonyms of French words- and if you are REALLY at an elementary level.. well then go for the English-French.
- The Book: Yes. I mean Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's my guide to complicated French dishes, and the best way to impress my French in-laws.. plus it makes me feel very 'Julia Childesque Era: my Life in France'. It's fun to sweep around a small French kitchen making the very dishes she made when she herself was discovering France.
- Some Clothes 'in fashion': When I say this, I mean look around pictures of France.. people don't wear berets, despite the stereotype... right now it's a very tights and big sweater type thing- and also very bright pastels... like the 80's in America.
- English Grammar for Students of French: If you don't own this book... go to Amazon and BUY IT NOW. It simplifies the complexities of French grammar and explains exactly what is a subjunctive and when does one use the imperitive. Very very helpful.
- A Copy of Rosetta Stone: Helps to verbally practice the language, it's actually a very useful program that I tend to use every now and then.. helps by visual recognition- great for beginners.
- Podcasts: A great way to listen to French on a daily basis.. RFI.com offers 'slow French news' very helpful... and plus most Podcasts are FREE!