Ahhh l'amour, between the rendez-vous and the je-ne-sais-quoi floating in the air. What more can you ask for?! Being in love is wonderful. Being in love with someone who comes from a different country is even better!
Different countries or not: relationships are work.
Yes, being in love and living with someone is a great life experience but it can also be very difficult. You have to swallow your pride here and there, (I have to work on that one!), make some compromises, put your boundaries down... In a nutshell, you have to let go.
Two different cultures living together
Now that we set the vibe, try to picture your relationship with someone with whom you don't share the same language. Personally, I think that's the biggest obstacle, which is pretty ironic for someone who thinks communication is the key for a successful relationship! I have been with my partner Ivan for the past 3 years and I have to say that sometimes our communication is not the best.
Well nothing to be surprised about... I am French, he is Colombian and at home we speak English, which is not our first language. So you can imagine this creates misunderstandings, frustrations and fights. And the more we argue, the worse our English gets and the less we can express ourselves correctly. Which creates?... Frustration. It is a vicious circle!
Sometimes I wish we could just yell at each other in French and Spanish, like in those romantic comedies, with a dramatic music in the background. But that's not how it works and honestly, it would be way too chaotic.
Bad words can get worse.
The solution is quite simple: we have to be careful with the words we use (easy to say but not to apply!). I had never had to be on fleek with my vocabulary - not that I was using "paraglider" instead of "tomato" or "carpet" instead of "toilets" - but I never really cared to choose the exact words until I realized it can slightly change the meaning of your sentences.
Trust me when I say I learnt the lesson the hard way. When you speak in another language, you have a tendency to translate expressions from your mother-tongue without realizing the meaning can be quite different in another language. Believe it or not, some words can sound awful in English, but not so much in French, and vice versa.
(Juliette stole the keyboard)
There isn't only language difference. Habits & lifestyles are also big ones, especially when you live in your loved one's country. The good news? Getting accustomed to a different culture can actually bring out a better You.
If you know me, you likely see me as a hardass. And you're right. Well guess what? I was 10 times worse back in France. If I hadn't move to Canada, chances are I would have become a French version of The Devil Wears Prada. Dating a Canadian and living with him has taught me to chill the hell out (don't you dare laughing!). On the other end, I taught my partner to shake things up here and there in his everyday life. That's just one of many examples.
(keyboard is back with Fanny)
The double-culture treat
Leaving with someone from another country is a great way to open your mind to the world and change your way of seing things. You get VIP access to a new culture, which includes: food, music, history, fashion and a way to be even more sarcastic and joke about national clichés:
- Ivan: "French people are so weird, you guys shower with perfume. French shower is gross !"
- Me: "First, not true! Second, at least we don't sell drugs. Go ask Pablo Escobar if he had time to shower!"
Speaking of... food, this is also a big avantage (food aficionados: put your hands up!). Every time Ivan goes to Colombia or his family comes here, I always get some traditional delicacies. And that, my friends, is gold.