At What age should you consider expatriation?
If your ship lands in the United States at age zero, you were born of bi-national parents. In theory, you are French too. In practice, you know nothing about it, because you are an American. It doesn’t mean that you can’t gain useful knowledge and insight from this book. Au contraire. Since you can rightfully claim your Frenchness, you might as well use it to your advantage. Also, look to your French expatriate of a dad for advice. He got it all figured out a long time ago. If your old man is useless or is the quiet type, just be careful to absorb what I am saying, and you might start looking at him in a whole different way. His actions will provide further teachings. His antics might be more than just antics. Practice them a bit just to see if, by chance, when put into practice by a young dude, they aren’t the equivalent of a secret weapon. Your dad’s quirks might return big value for all the annoyance they initially caused you.
You are twenty-something upon arrival. You are allowed plenty of experiences, mistakes and blunders before they start throwing stones at you. This land is yours to take without much effort. Even more so if you manage to finish your studies here. Yet, you have the brains of a toothbrush and could land hard on your face if you are really careless. So, shape up and read. You’ll thank me when you have learned some manners.
Around thirty is the tricky age. You are expected to know what you are doing. Your mistakes have already ceased to be charming and will cost you big. Your stupidity becomes an instant liability. Although you are a fully formed Frenchman, you now have to become something else. You will have to live through this awkwardness with all the strength and insight you can muster for the foreseeable future. If you think about it, you’ve got to undo the man you finally became around thirty and rebuild everything entirely. It’s a bit like running two marathons back to back. Hold on to this book because your survival depends on it.
You land at forty–five orolder. Unless you come loaded with cash and a plan for instant retirement, you are deranged. Run back home while you can, don’t bother coming or you’ll kill yourself. Ah! yes, use this book to scare yourself away from that demented self-destructive plan of yours. This is no country for old men.
Merry Christmas nonetheless!
Excerpts from chapter 1 – Why We Are Excellent in Big in the USA Just Because You Are French, Jean-Pierre Ledauphin, 2012. Translation by Wallace B. Thompson
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