Do you have a French boyfriend?
No, and screw you. Just kidding! This actually *is* a frequently asked question, not so much from people on the blog, but in real life. I get it - I know a LOT of people, mostly ladies, who have either met a French guy and followed him here or come here for whatever reason and stayed because they've met someone. And that's great, but just sometimes it gets tiresome to field that question constantly. It's like before I moved here when everyone and their maiden aunt was telling me "ooh you'll be shacking up with a hot Frenchie before you know it!" As in, you failed with everyone in your native land, but maybe the menfolk of France will have you! Turns out, no they won't.
Are you bitter?
Why ever would you ask that? Really though, that's meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Do tell me if it sounds genuinely despairing and I'll make sure that one of my many cats comes and scratches you ;)
So, why did you move to France?
Short answer - just for fun. Long answer - I'd always wanted to travel overseas, but I didn't really want to do the classic Kiwi thing of moving to London: I wanted something a bit more exotic. After short stints living in the Czech Republic and Russia, I actually did find myself living in London, having basically run away from my dismal teaching job in Moscow and washed up on my sister's doorstep (thanks Jess!). It was only then that I really looked into moving to France, although it was probably always in the back of my mind, since I'd studied French at school and uni. I first lived here for seven months in 2007, in a (faux) château in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais for five months and Chamonix for two. I then went back to NZ in the attempt to get a real career (ha!), but moved back to France almost as soon as I'd finished a Masters down there. I arrived back in France for the second time in September 2009, spending seven months working as an English Teaching Assistant in Nice before moving to Tours for work in May 2010. And I've been here since then!
Is Gwan your real name?
I have occasionally been asked this. Nope, not even close. There are a few old friends who call me Gwan in real life, but otherwise it's a strictly internet affair. By the way, it doesn't rhyme with "swan", but with "Anne". Hence the
And what about the name of the blog?
The "Where in the world" part is because it started out as my travels before I got (a bit more) settled down. Gwan/Gwannel/Gwandor/GwanGwan I've already semi-explained - I can't explain exactly how I got that nickname without revealing my secret identity. It all comes together as a reference to "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego". This was originally a geography-based computer game I loved as a kid, and it was later turned into a kids' game show, which we had a locally-made version of in New Zealand. The aforementioned Ranch and I still use some of the catchphrases from that show, because we're stuck in the 90s.
So you have nothing to do with San Diego?
Nothing at all, sorry to disappoint you if you came here looking for local brothels (people find me via that search quite a bit).
Where are you from?
As already hinted at, I'm from New Zealand - Auckland, to be precise, although I lived in Wellington for a year in 2008. However, my parents are both English, which grants me the golden ticket of an EU passport, cha-ching! I have some family left in the UK - my sister is in London and my granddad lives in north-west England, so I visit fairly often.
What do you do in France?
The doctor asked me this when I was giving blood the other day and then laughed when I said "nothing", but it's true (boohoo). By the way, she was a bit of a Chatty Cathy - not that I am an evil recluse who hates making conversation, but we both know she's already going to be asking all kinds of personal questions about my rampant drug use*, so it felt a bit weird chatting about when the last time I saw my parents was and so forth. She also asked question #1 (French boyfriend), by the way.
Anyway, I'm rambling. As already mentioned, I was working here in an information-related field (not to get too specific or anything) but my contract ended and unfortunately there was no funding to keep my position and the lovely new director whom I've never spoken to informed me by letter that in like six weeks, I'd no longer have a job. (Masochists can read all about this in my posts from March/April 2012). So, while I probably should have been job-hunting already at that stage, I wasn't and have been left scrambling around slash being all "fine, I don't want a stupid job anyway", depending on how the mood takes me on a particular day.
*My mum wants me to make it clear that winners don't do drugs.
Oh, and neither do I.
What does the future hold?
Nooooo idea! I have very itchy feet at the moment, but I also have a cat and a lease and an apartment full of stuff and no money. I was talking to someone the other night about this and saying, "It seems kind of stupid to be building my life around the fact that I have a 15€ bookcase", but I suppose we all get to a stage of our lives where that happens. I'm still (very) open to moving on, but I guess this time I need something to be going to. It also is hard, and I think gets harder as you get older, picking up once again and moving to somewhere where you know no-one. I've now lived for at least a couple of months in nine different cities and with the exception of my home town and London, I moved all those places knowing no-one, so I know I can do it if I need to, but I'm thinking about whether I want to. I've had a bit of a hard run in Tours, with the job thing and before that, dealing with a lying, stealing flatmate who got us both evicted from my old apartment cos she secretly wasn't paying the rent, but over the past year, I have managed to build up a social network again, and it is hard to think about saying goodbye to all that and starting at square one again...
Any actual questions? Let me know and I'll at least think about answering them! I can also be contacted via my gmail: gwannelsandiego or if you have a high tolerance for boring Formula One chat, you can follow me on Twitter @gwan57.