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. The Tours experience included getting evicted after my flatmate didn't pay either of our shares of the rent for a year, unexpectedly losing my job, going on the dole, finding a new job, and having a lot of nights out with my brilliant mates along the way. In September 2013, I sadly said goodbye to all that and moved on to new adventures in Metz, my 5th French region!
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?
This question should now read, "what do you do in Luxembourg"? I recently upped sticks after 3 1/2 years in Tours and moved to Metz, in the east of France, but I now work over the border in Luxembourg. Without getting too specific, I would say I'm an "information professional", except that sounds waaaaaay too fancy for the actual job I do right now, which pretty much consists of filing. I'm crossing my fingers it might lead to bigger and better things though!
What does the future hold?
Nooooo idea! It was pretty hard, despite my itchy feet, to leave all my friends behind in Tours, but needs must and I had to get out there and find a new job. Said job is only until the end of 2013, but I thought it was better to roll the dice than sit around on the dole being depressed in Tours. Moving was a giant pain in the arse, so right now, as I said, I'm hoping good things will come from this new contract (and I find some new friends, pretty please!)
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.