Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Stupid questions French expats ask...


This post is going to be ranty and sarcastic. If you're not in the mood, or can be easily offended, just don't read and come back in a few days for more positive writing :-)

Are you still with me? Good. Nothing irritates me more than stupid expats. Fair enough, we don't all have the same definition of stupid, but when I read stuff some of them write online, sometimes I wonder what's going on.

I often feel we live in a world where people want answers to all their questions instantly, without putting in a bit of research. What I love most about Internet is the fact that most of the answers to our questions are there, if we bother looking for them. I love searching and take an immense pleasure finding an answer by myself. Am I an exception? I would hope not... 

I am part of this French expat group on Facebook. I initially got in to promote my blog a bit but also help other people. When you move to a new country, it can be daunting. From administrative worries to income tax questions or accommodation issues, I understand it's not easy. Many of my friends had problems with landlords, I myself had a lot of questions about how I could insure my French car when I was here for example. We also live in a world where you're always reminded that a good network is important, and I completely get the fact that sometimes, expats want to have the opinion or help from fellow citizens. So it's no wonder people try to rely on each other to navigate through the maze that is a first foreign experience. However, it seems like some people are just too lazy and don't want to experience anything by themselves.

But in my opinion, there's a fine line between asking for help on really important or interesting matters and just waiting for everyone to give the answer on a silver plate. Seriously, how were people doing before Facebook?

Here are some really stupid questions and what my answers would have been if I had been really mean and sarcastic. I usually refrain myself and end up saying nothing because sometimes there's no point arguing or stating the obvious. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who reacted with silence instead of sarcasm to those questions...

"I just arrived in Dublin today, and I'm looking for a supermarket to go shopping. Which one would you advise? I live near Trinity college and I don't have a car."

You just arrived in Dublin and you're hungry. So the first thing you do is log on Facebook and ask people where you can buy food. Wow... I have a suggestion. Why don't you take your coat, get out of your apartment and explore the streets of Dublin. It's quite small, you don't need a car. If you're lucky, you might walk past a supermarket. If you're not sure, you could ask someone on the street. What do you think of that?

"Hi, I've checked other messages and it seems the mobile provider "THREE" is the best. Where can I find a  THREE sim card?"

On the top of my mind, a THREE shop?

"Hi guys, I'm new in Dublin and looking for a job. If you have any tips or ideas, I'll take it. I'm very motivated."

I have an idea. Go to Google, put in the search "Job Dublin". Check the results. It will save both our time.

"I'm looking for a French speaking hairdresser, any help"

Don't you think the most interesting part of being abroad is to practice your languages skills and experience something different? Honestly, even if your English is not perfect, there are little chance you'll come out of the hairdresser with a half shaved, half blue head. You should give it a go in English.

"Who knows a doctor opened on Sundays?"

Ok, it's Sunday, you're sick and you need a doctor. Your first instinct is of course to go on Facebook...Why don't you put "Dublin doctor open on Sundays" on Google and see what happens... 

I could go on and on about those type of questions. They are asked almost everyday in different ways. When I arrived in Dublin, there was no social media. I asked questions to the people I was living or working with. I had good and bad experiences with my job search, I made mistakes, I said the wrong things , there were understanding issues  but all of this shaped my adventure in Ireland and made me a stronger person. 

If 12 years ago, I had been on a French expat group on Facebook and asked where the post office in Malahide was, I would have never experienced the kindness of that old Irish man who walked me to my destination that day. 

Of course we all need support and advice, but we have to experience things by ourselves as well. And most importantly we can't wait for other people to do everything for us. Being independent, growing up, discovering another way of life... 

Isn't that why those people came to in Ireland in the first place?