Paris is my hometown <3 I left it in 1998 when I got married, and I moved to Colonial Beach, in Virginia. It was a crazy move, but my husband Keith was already established , whereas I was still a student. Also, I knew English and he didn’t (and still doesn’t) speak French.
I initially thought that I’d adapt just fine, I was just moving from one Western country to the other. But it was a cultural shock for me. Paris is a major urban city whereas Colonial Beach is a tiny little town with ONE red light (I’m not kidding). Paris counts almost 11 millions people vs 3,500 in Colonial Beach.
In Paris, you can walk everywhere, take the subway or the bus, and there are tons of things to do and see (and the cuisine is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!). Keith would jokingly say that at night, they roll away the sidewalks in Colonial Beach. There was only another Asian person when I first moved here (I'm not making this up). So yeah, no cultural melting pot in this case!
But you know what? I like living in the country. It’s nice that people in Colonial Beach would say “hi” to strangers. I don’t have to be afraid to be mugged in the street, or verbally attacked for wearing something pretty. I prefer to raise my son here, it’s pretty peaceful. I wish I could go back to Paris more often, I miss it very much. But Colonial Beach has become my home now.
I am a French expat living in the USA, more precisely