Here's a phenomenon that other expats and migrants might have noticed. My French is definitely improving, to the point that I can have decent conversations with people here, even if I'm less chatty than usual! I've noticed though that it's much easier with people that I've just met because they don't expect my language to be at any particular level. Of course, my accent still gives me away, and "Anglais?" is usually their first question. But I seem to have moved up the ranks a bit with the French.
However, I've noticed that people who met me when I first got here still think of me as barely speaking any French. Remember that, for all intents and purposes, I began speaking French in January. So my landlady and the people in the archives are sort of frozen in that moment. When we get new researchers in the archives and I start carrying on with them in French, the "old timers" look quite surprised. Hence I prefer meeting new people here.
Have others had this experience?