All Posts

The dating life of an expat (Part I)

The dating topic is probably one of the most interesting ones when you are an expat. We all know that the realities of dating abroad are more difficult than they might seem,  and on top of that the COVID-19 situation does not help. So, if you are fully experiencing these right now, this article is for you!

Tadaaam THE day is finally here!  You are moving abroad by yourself, discovering a new culture and about to start a new life. How amazing is that! If you have been an expat, you probably still remember this amazing mix- feeling of excitement and fear. No matter your age, your experiences you still get “butterflies” in your stomach. In my young expat experience, I moved to 3 different countries: New Zealand, Germany and Colombia.. and I can say I  really had this feeling (at least for New Zealand and Colombia). I guess because the farthest  you go, the more you feel it isn’t’ it? 

You leave your friends & families behind and you jump into this new adventure of being an expat!!  Let’s say that there are 3 different types of expatriation:

1- The expat who is moving abroad single and alone

2 – The expat moving abroad alone, but in a relationship 

3 – The couple moving abroad together

In this First Article we will talk about the 1st type: An expat moving abroad single and alone. This one is probably one of the most common cases! I keep the 2 other ones for the following articles.

 

Your expat friends become your new family: 

The friends you meet abroad become very easily your close friends as you share most of your new life together. You spend some crazy nights together, as if you were a student again (although your body definitely feels the difference), you discover a new culture together, you live together you cry together. You basically grow together! ;))

But very often, after the first excitement comes, so does the loneliness syndrome.  Yes. Let’s say it outloud: it’s a common thing that we all know about and it’s important to address it.

If you haven’t read it yet, I invite you to read our last article about it: How to handle those expat blues?

You face the loneliness syndrome: 

This is how some of us finally meet our new “sweetheart”.  After hanging out a lot with their new group of friends, we realise that this beautiful, smart and funny friend might be the one! 

Of course, sometimes it works and sometime it doesn’t but still, I love this approach. Simple, cute .. and honestly kind of easy! There is no dating struggle and as a French that’s really what we prefer because let’s say, the dating culture is really not French thing. There are an assortment of terms for dating (especially in US) like there are so many things to keep track of. While in France we use the term plan cul for someone you sleep with casually, there’s no rule that person can’t suddenly become your boyfriend / girlfriend.  For us, the whole dating world is less codified, and we don’t have the famous “relationship talk” that Americans dread.

To date or not to date, that’s the question!

Here we go. You are having fun for a few months now, you love your new adopted city, your friends, but in the case you don’t fall in love with one of them you might  – most probably – search for someone outside your circle:  you are now facing this loneliness feeling I was talking about. You see your friends back home getting engaged, moving together, having kids, and you just picture yourself at the bar with a bunch of friends sipping your 3rd Margarita. (ok that was before COVID but it works as well with your friends at home, drinking your 4th ‘homemade basil smash cocktail’ 😉 )

So you start using some dating apps such as Bumble, Tinder, Hinge.. or by coming to our networking events Apéros Frenchies hoping to have a crush on someone! (Yes we know!) And finally,  it happens! Sometimes it comes fast, sometimes it takes time.

You finally meet this person, you exchange your numbers and you plan to see each other (again)!

But the struggle goes on when this person is from another country especially.. your crush doesn’t have the same “dating language”  as you… and  C’est la catastrophe

Perhaps, we learn at school how to speak another foreign language but we don’t’ learn how to speak another foreign heart language!  And especially this lockdown situation pretty much everywhere, it doesn’t  make things easier, since restaurants and bars are closed!

How does it work? Do we have to meet for dinner or an ice cream? Do we have to play it fancy or cool? Should we invite them to our place? Bref, so many questions that nobody really knows how to answer but that we all ask ourselves before even trying out the relationship!  Well, in my opinion , the best advice would just  be to go with the flow.. and be yourself. After a few texts you will more or less understand  what your crush is feeling! Just be yourself and don’t force yourself. She/He wants to meet you at her/his place but you don’t feel confident enough, just say it and offer him/her to grab a take away coffee downtown.

Animated Banner ENG - 15 minutes concept

Another situation, you feel like inviting him/ her to your place and this other person sounds up for it. Parfait!  As a french person I would obviously advise to have some good wine in your fridge😉  But also.. to prepare a casual nice dinner sans pretention. In case the date goes well!  For example try  HelloFresh (You pick in advance which menu you want to receive depending on what you like .. and they deliver  all the ingredients + recipe at your place! It’s perfect when you are in a rush or if there is a curfew! 😉  

 

If you are freaking out to meet with this person alone, and you prefer to be in your comfort zone with friends, what about inviting this person for some drinks in a park with your friends, or do some hiking somewhere with them too?   Honestly possibilities are limited right now but there are still some! If it goes well,  you‘ll feel safer and better to meet in person the next time, plus you may get your friends’ approval  (which is not THE most important,  but still, it matters!)  If it goes wrong, it would be just a funny memory you’ll talk about with your friends in the future! 😉 

In conclusion, follow your instinct, go with the flow and don’t pretend to be someone you are not just because you’re afraid they don’t like you. One day they will figure it out anyway!  Good luck! 

How to make a Gin Basil Smash at home?

Reading, working out, and cooking… a lot of us have discovered some new skills during this lockdown. Even if your days are similar, your Apéro beverage doesn’t have to be! It’s time to try new evening saveurs and allow your mind to escape to warmer days, with this Gin Basil Smash tutorial ..

If you’re an unofficial card-carrying member of the Apéros Frenchies crew, we can safely assume you do not need a refresher on the definition of L’Apéro.

If you need a remember of what is an Apéro, it’s time to check out our dedicated  article : But Wait! What even is an ‘Apéro’…?, we explain everything about it!  Now let’s come back to our lockdown routine, where we all miss our local bars, our favorite cocktails but most of all those incredible moments we shared with our friends, colleagues or family while siping a  good fresh drink…

Feeling nostalgic now? Here we go!  But hey, that wasn’t the point, we just want keep it positive. If this lockdown showed us how to improve our cooking, DIY skills or even work out skills, we can also most probably start to learn some bartending skills isn’t it?

This is why, after asking you on Instagram, which cocktail do you miss the most,  we selected for you a special one to do at home with only few ingredients : The Gin Basil Smash!

This has got to be one of my favorite cocktails and it’s all thanks to Jörg Meyer who owns Le Lion in Hamburg. Jörg created this masterpiece back in 2008 after being inspired by the Whisky Smash. The Gin Basil Smash is basically an alternative take on the gin mojito that swaps the mint for muddled basil, but it’s definitely in a league of its own. 

What do you need?

– 50ml of Citadelle Gin

– 1 bunch basil leaves (if in doubt as to how much, go heavy on the basil)

– 20ml fresh lemon juice

– 15ml sugar syrup (optional)

– Ice cubes

Cocktail shaker (or thermos)

_________________

1- Place basil and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker (you can also use a thermos if you don’t have any shaker)

2- Squizz 20ml of lemons

3- Gently muddle the lemon and basil “smashing” the ingredients into the shaker.

4- Add  60 ml of Citadelle gin and top up with ice

5- Shake vigorously

6-  Double strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

7- Garnish with basil leaves and flowers

Et voilà ! Santé! Don’t hesitate to share your creation with us on Instagram @aperos_frenchies!

You can fin our video on our IGTV !

Drink responsibly. 

Where to buy some Citadelle Gin? 

In Germany: Here

In UK: Here

In France: Here

In Hollande: Here

 

Why Do French People Eat Crêpes for La Chandeleur?

You have probably seen crêpes everywhere on the internet these past few days. If you hang out with French people or live in France, you’ve heard the word ‘chandeleur” many times. Are you still, wondering what all the fuss is about? Once again, we’ve got your back! It’s time to discover some French secrets, sharing is caring as they say…

French people have a lot of traditions, including “The Apéro”, but this one is not a secret for you anymore… (if it is, you can still check out our article here!)

The French tradition La Chandeleur (Candlemas) takes place on the 2nd of February. Actually, it is considered the last cycle of the Christmas celebration. In religious tradition, Christians were only meant to clear Christ’s manger scene after la Chandeleur. Despite its religious roots, “La Chandeleur” is now somewhat of a non-secular tradition in France so everyone, no matter what their religion can partake in eating crêpes.

A superstition? 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a French person who can tell you why they eat crêpes for Chandeleur but the custom can be traced back to superstitions that date back to the Roman times. It was believed if you made crêpes, it would bring you good fortune and a good wheat harvest. But the crêpe had to be made a special way.

“He who eats crêpes for Chandeleur is sure to have money all year long”
(
Qui mange des crêpes quand la Chandeleur est arrivée, est sûr d’avoir argent pendant l’année.)

“If you don’t want rotten wheat, eat crêpes during Chandeleur”
(Si point ne veut de blé charbonneux Mange des crêpes à la Chandeleur)

The tradition of flipping a crêpe while holding a gold coin

You were supposed to flip the first crêpe in a pan with your right hand while holding a gold coin (preferably a gold Louis coin) in your left hand. The gold coin was then rolled into the crêpe and placed in the master’s room on top of a cabinet until the following year.

The following year, the coin was removed from the year-old crêpe and given to the first poor person they met to ensure prosperity until the next chandeleur.  Makes me think of good karma.

Peasants also believed that by eating crêpes, they were ensuring a healthy wheat harvest for the coming year.

Today, candlelight processions and other rites no longer exist but the tradition of eating crêpes on Chandeleur remains and although extremely rare, some people still do flip the first Chandeleur crêpe holding a coin. 😉

How do you make crêpes?

 

(Makes 15 to 20 crêpes) 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup beer (lager)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water

  • In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Make a well in the center, and pour the eggs. Whip them extending the well, to incorporate the flour gradually, and add the liquids little by little to avoid lumps.
  • Heat a pan over high heat. Let melt a knob of butter in the pan, then pour a ladleful of batter, spreading it quickly across the surface of the pan.
  • When the edges of the pancake start to brown and detach from the pan, flip the pancake to cook the other side.

Crêpes are usually eaten with different kinds of toppings such as Nutella, banana,  confiture, a sprinkling of sugar & lemons.

If you want to do it the French way,  try the Crêpe Suzette (with a sauce made of caramelized butter, sugar and orange juice, and Grand Marnier!

Also, as we love drinking red wine with cheese, we usually eat crêpes with Cider!

Bon Appétit!

3 Effortless & Fun Resolutions for 2021

If, like us you tend to start any new year with 100 resolutions  and you give up after a few days/ weeks. Here a list of 3 easy ones, that could also help you to get through this atypical year in the best way possible! 😉

 

1- Learn a new language

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things but learning another way to think about things.” Flora Lewis

As I mentioned before, what’s worse than living in a country where we don’t speak the language? Living in our bubble doesn’t help much either when trying to integrate! Although some languages can be more attractive than others, you really must force yourself to learn. Believe me, I’ve been living in Germany long enough without speaking German to understand the struggle 😉 

It took me almost 3 years to start pushing myself to learn. I personally used an online platform :  Babbel and I would recommend it to everyone. It’s easy, engaging, and best of all, at your fingertips, online! It really helped me to warm to German and broke down lots of barriers to the language! ;’)

Subscriptions are starting fomr 1 month. So, don’t worry, there is no commitment, suck it and see!  >  Discover here <   Or register as a member to enjoy some exclusive discounts!

Animated Banner ENG - 15 minutes concept

 

 2-  Learn how to cook (with fresh products)

 

 

I realised that despite this lack of social life/ crazy nights, we’ve been forced to focus on what’s real and it is important to enjoy nice dinners and good wine at home with friends! 

It also might also be a nice idea to prepare a special dish “made with love” and why not “from your country” so that your friends can also try something new, this is the core of expat life and experience! Last year we discovered a few companies that deliver great recipes and fresh ingredients to your home each week! (perfect if, you are usually running out of time!)  Check out Hello Fresh! If you are in France, you can also check this one: www.quitoque.fr

 

 

3- Become (more) ecological

This is one thing that we are also working on, to improve our ECO footprint.   We don’t have to change everything but, for instance, we can start using ecological products to wash our dishes after dinner or Apéro at home.  We can decide not to use straws in our cocktails (except if they are made of Recyclable material like here). 

During the Christmas holidays, we tried a kit from the French Start up Pousse Pousse : Make your own washing up soap! It’s easy to use and very cute, the box contains all the ingredients to make your own products. We absolutely loved it! From Monthly box subscriptions to online shop,  this website offers pretty much everything to improve your eco footprint at home!

Each box contains a DIY kit to learn how to make  products you can use on a daily basis, a selection of eco-responsible products and a magazine with zero waste advice and tips.

Check out this French company Pousse Pousse for more inspiration! Psst, we can offer you a 5% discount with our code MAEYPP5! 

So, do you think those 3 resolutions are doable and fun? 🙂

Let us know, we would love to hear your thoughts!

pub