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5 Things Living in France Improved About My Lifestyle

By Elena @elenatravelgram
Last August, completely unexpected for everyone (including myself) I’ve decided to move to France. 
To follow my heart.
I kind of didn’t set any special expectations for the place and couldn’t imagine what’s being an expat in France is actually like. Yes, I lived abroad already for two years in Japan, but hey I was just a 4 year old kid and can’t remember much of that time anyway.

Nearly a year after, I can say that my lifestyle became way better than it used to be! Here’s a list of things that improved about my life as an expat in France.   Sleeping and eating habits
I have never been an early bird and the tendency to stay up late got even worse during college. For all four years all of my classes where scheduled on mid-day or late afternoon. I've seen a lot of sunrises, not because I've got up early, but rather due to the fact that I haven’t gone to bed yet.
The job I got at my senior year had flexible working hours too, so eventually, I've simply unlearned to get up early unless there was a very important reason for that (like a cheap early flight). My sleeping patterns were completely deprived and I can’t say I was particularly happy with that. 
Living in France, made me realize that unless I do make an effort and get up early I won't have a chance to enjoy...

French Pastry

       The coolest and the warmest pastry from boulangerie. You can spot a little queue here as early as 7 a.m.! Freshly baked croissants and baguettes disappear fast!        An early morning bike ride in the empty streets and opening shops with plenty of “Bonjours” in my way.       Proper lunch. One of the things I don’t understand about France is their eating hours. The usual lunch time is from 12 till 13 p.m. which is kind of early for someone who just got breakfast at 11, right? And it’s kind of hard to find a normal meal after that at a cheap place as they tend to close or stop serving discounted lunch offer. And nope, you can’t even order a pizza as Domino’s and Pizza Hut in Besancon have weird working hours too and are closed from 14 till 18 p.m.      Getting things done. All the services and shops close at 19 p.m. sharply, so nope you can’t get milk at 21 p.m. Deal with it. Official institutions tend to close even earlier around 16-17 p.m. I've stopped fighting back in a while and started to go to bed early. Finally.  Being less of a workaholic
Yeah, maybe that’s due to the fact that I work from home now, which is way more comfy than taking a ride in a tightly people-packed marshrutka and overcrowded metro, arriving in the office all frustrated already.  But if talking general, the French are definitely not workaholics.
People tend to come early at 8-9 a.m. and you should not expect to see anyone to staying later than 17-18 p.m. There’s one hour to have lunch (a luxury!) and even have a glass of wine. Your employer will hardly ever ask you (unless there’s an extreme emergency) to stay overtime (double taxes + double wages) or work on the weekends.
In Ukraine, you are kind of expected to over-work most of the times and leave the office after your boss has gone home. It’s not same for each company, yet it’s been an ethical rule at my previous job. 
Besides, there’s one more thing I finally got rid of when I’ve started working out-stuff – the annoying type of colleague who tries to pass on his responsibilities to you or budgets you endlessly about this or that for no reason.  Spending more time outdoors
There’s this French word that I absolutely love “Randonee”. It could be used to define: hiking, cycling, tracking or simply a walk.

5 things living in France Improved about My Lifestyle

via Instagram

Since, moving to France it has been my favorite weekend pastime! Besancon, is surrounded by picturesque sloppy hills with a fort topping each of it! There are hiking trails and routes marked all around the area and or you can get a printed map at the local tourist office.
You never know what you’ll find on your way up – a farm with lamas or an abandoned funicular station.  There are a lot of hidden spots even in small French towns.
And should I say how gorgeous the views from the top are?
Besancon France

Being less concerned of my appearance 

In Ukraine you would rarely see a girl going out to the corner store without make up and heels. Yes, Kyiv was named the city with the most beautiful womena while ago, but do you imagine what it’s like to walk on ice (no one cleans it during winter on the pavement) in heels? Or how to wear dresses when it’s -10 C for 2 month in a row?  But, you’ve kind of expected to dress that way, just as most other girls do. I’ve often felt the odd one in a girly company wearing Converse and no make-up at all. That’s how I usually go out for coffee, not in a mini dress and 10 cm heels.
The French women have this unique freedom to wear whatever they like, have a messy bun and hardly any make up. I like the local principle of natural beauty. The true French girl charm is simply her self-confidence and acceptance of her own skin and imperfections.
No matter what she’s wearing – designer shoes or keds, each step she makes is full of confidence! Guess, it’s just to the fact that the French women know how to love and pamper themselves + hear a ton of compliments each days from their man. It’s absolutely okay if a colleague or someone’s French husband comments on your dress or appearance. Nope, he’s not planning to sleep with you. Yes, he’s just stating you are attractive as a matter of fact. Learn to accept that flattering things.
It took me a while till I’ve finally started to feel the same and learn how to radiant with this confidence, stop worrying about my look and appearance and learn how to love it.

Carjese Corsica

Me in Corsica this May

Frankly, I have learned how to bike only this year at the age of 22. Yet, today bike is the most favorable mean of transportation for me!

5 things living in France Improved about My Lifestyle
Besancon is extremely comfortable for cycling as there are loads of routes crisscrossing the entire city along with special parking places around nearly every shop.
And what could be better than a weekend ride out of town to explore adorable tiny villages in Grand Besancon area with this unique rural allure that you could never feel in a big city.

Cycling along the wineries, yellow raps fields and emerald green hills, reflecting in the sparkling river was sort of a perfect picture I’ve imagined before going to France. Today, I have this perfect view from my window and a way balanced, relaxed and healthy lifestyle that makes me feel way happier that I used to be. 

Double Rainbow

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