How A Culture Changed My Heart

Photo by my lovely webmaster :) © Agnès Faravel (check her beautiful photos on her travel blog >>HERE<<)

Photo by my lovely webmaster :)
© Agnès Faravel (check her beautiful photos on her travel blog >>HERE<<)

“You touched my heart, you touched my soul

You changed my life and all my goals” – James Blunt 

This could have been my poem to England and its people, but instead, I wrote other words, all dedicated to this beautiful country and the marvellous friends I met there.

The fact of living in another country, in another language, fundamentally changes you. Living in England profoundly changed me and my heart.

When I arrived there, slightly more than a year ago, I was left on my own. I knew no one. I used to walk streets alone and eat dinner at tables for one. I read… more than I had ever read before (and I’m a quite an avid reader!). I was left alone and the only things I had to deal with were my thoughts, questions and doubts. My insecurity and, at the same time, my deep joy of being in this place I always knew I’d call my home.

It was great. It sincerely was the greatest experience I’ve had so far.

I remember… I enjoyed everyday life and appreciated every aspect of it; from my doing-the-shopping time at Tesco or the few hours I spent at the charity shop, where I was working. And I enjoyed waking up in front of the sea, when I was on Hayling (such a lovely island by the way).

Also, I loved doing my road trips to London, where I usually ended up living in Soho for a few days, for Soho is the heart of London’s theatre land and just like Oscar Wilde, I hold this form of art very dear and “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being”. Plus, this part of the city overflows with street performers, who all take you someplace else and make you forget about everything else around. Going to London were always the best times… I was always such in awe when I stood in front of Big Ben and the Parliament or still when I had a break in one of the wonderful parks of the city – I felt so small near those majestic monuments and places but at the same time, I somehow felt as unbreakable and unreachable as one of the Lions of Trafalgar Square… It’s quite amazing how greatly a place, a city can affect you. It provides your body and your soul with an immensely great feeling! What’s more, I always had fun taking the so typical double decker buses and using the so British phone booths; I savoured every meal I could possibly have too; I enjoyed testing the very specific local English food, whether it was breakfast, the very English one-quick-sandwich lunch or the very British dinner. And last but not least, one of the best souvenirs I always brought back from London was the sound of the East London Cockney accent! What a delight! It’s more British than actual Britishness!

In short, I learnt to love every little things of life again. It’s crazy, but when you’ve always lived in your home country and have never been away for quite a long time whatsoever, you’re sort of imprisoned in your routine and you don’t realise how fantastic this routine is. If you’re in this case, pack your things and leave (Go for the UK preferably though!). Leave and you’ll see.

As an expat, I know what it’s like to be in a new place, where you’re all by yourself, but also where you can truly find yourself again.

I lived in another language and it was the most thrilling and enriching activity ever. I learnt everyday and I was like a child, who’d go to school for the first time. Every single day was a new step to a better English.

Leaving France meant that I had to start from scratch and had to rebuild everything. It might seem insurmountable for some people but it is possible. And more than that, it is fantastical. It feels like a real purification of your mind and soul.

Obviously England played such an important role in how I changed and evolved… but the ones who really matter are the reasons why I call this country my home, my adopting land. They are the people I met, who had their own impact on me, on my heart, on my mind and on my soul. They’re the ones thanks to who I’ve become a woman and a better grown-up. I’ve become so much more tolerant and open-minded by meeting and learning to know new people, locals or expats. I owe them everything. I owe them the growth in my entire heart and soul.

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6 Comments

  1. 24th February 2014 / 8:37 AM

    Congratulations on another stunning article Marie,

    I have a very soft spot for England (I have visited there 5 times all the way from Australia) and your writing took me straight back there.

    Thank you for this experience and keep up the great work. Remember, this brings happiness into people’s lives :) xo

    • Marie
      24th February 2014 / 1:36 PM

      If I was able to take you back there, I indeed did a good job :)
      Thanks for commenting
      xx

  2. Stuart Kewish
    6th March 2014 / 9:56 AM

    Unlike Jeremy I have never been to England but I loved reading your post. Your passion really shines through and it’s clear for all to see it has made a huge impact on your life. And I for one am most indebted to England for the growth in your beautiful heart and soul.

    • Marie
      6th March 2014 / 9:51 PM

      Wow, that’s extremely pleasant and lovely to read :)
      Thank you, Stuart !
      xxx

  3. Rich
    7th March 2014 / 12:04 AM

    Hi Marie
    I’ve just read all your writing in one go. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. You write like a native although your style and what you write about is a lot deeper than your average British person. It’s a little sad you aren’t more confident in yourself because you come across as a person with a lot of talent, kindheartedness and much to give. I’m pleased you love England so much. I have a French friend who similarly only found herself when she came to England. (And there will be English people of course who do the same, in reverse, in France.) Anyway I was quite teary when you spoke of your love for England. And I hope that you get to come back more permanently and that maybe the boy from Starbucks is waiting for you.

    The site looks great too. Keep it up.

    • Marie
      7th March 2014 / 9:18 AM

      Hi Rich :)
      Thanks so much for this comment =) You brought a little sunshine to my morning :)
      I’m extremely glad you like the blog and I hope I’ll hear from you again :)
      Much love,
      M.

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