Maybe I was too posh or too “French”… to grasp Londoners

Salut les frenchies,

Fière diplômée d’un bac ES, j’ai intégré, la rentrée dernière, le cursus londonien de l’université Dauphine-Paris (le GBD). L’acclimatation pour moi, Fanny Gavelle, ou Fann pour les anglais (la signification de mon prénom laisse à désirer dans la langue de Shakespeare), est une étape houleuse et loin d’être terminée.

Fraîchement arrivée dans la capitale des buveurs de thé (et de pintes), mon quotidien se résume à prendre des bus rouges et à me protéger de la pluie, mais pas seulement…

… This is my story


Fann Gavelle

I have now been living for a couple of weeks in London. hough I still feel that I cannot grasp Londoners. At first sight, they seem nice, or at least nicer than Parisians. Three times, a man let me get in the train before him: British reputed good manners I guess. They must still learn how to behave politely in this country. After these pleasant events, I surely did not regret the French reputed nastiness and peevishness. I have to admit that sometimes indeed, clichés are true. However, I also soon began to feel like Londoners don’t want to make new acquaintances. What struck me is the fact that they are very hard to talk to. Why is this so difficult? What I mean is that, when you’re in a bar in France, after 3 drinks everybody is talking to everybody. That’s part of the party. Here, nobody does. I don’t know if it’s because British can hold their alcohol better than French people or if they have no interest whatsoever in meeting new, and potentially interesting, people. Actually, I hope the explanation is the first one, as shyness is definitely better than complete indifference. Nonetheless, Londoners make me want to scream : “I’m not boring ! I’m worthy of having a conversation with !”. Another example is the cigarette break. In France, asking for a lighter would just be an excuse to start a conversation. I have to confess that I pretended not to have a lighter to talk to someone more than once. Well, here, they ask you to borrow your lighter, and an awkward atmosphere comes and leaves with them. An atmosphere of discomfort that has nothing to do in a pub or a bar. Thus, I finally came to the conclusion that Londoners just had a problem with me.


But then, I told myself that it was maybe just the context. At the end of the day, I was just another migrant, “invading” their countries. It felt weird because I remembered all the debates that I had seen lately in the French news; and for once, I was on the other side. Surely, my situation wasn’t critical and my migration not an act of survival but I was still an alien, a “frog” coming straight from the other side of the Channel Tunnel, where everybody is allegedly  rude and moody.


I also thought that maybe it was my fault. Maybe I was not smiling enough, maybe was I too posh or too “French”. After all, I was raised by a man who always told me that England was our natural enemy and that I should spit on Trafalgar Square on any occasion I could get. Londoners may feel my negative vibes towards them, that would explain why they are ignoring me. Or maybe were they just afraid that France would win the World Cup and humiliate them at their national sport, once again.