Moving to France on a Whim
2011 saw changes that even a year before I would have never seen coming. In the space of 10 months I had a quickie wedding, organized a visa, flew to Sydney and back, packed up my entire house and took 3 duffle bags, 2 rolling cases, 2 backpacks, 7 boxes , a tent, 2 children and a husband to none other than the land of wine, cheese and “I would kill for” pastries – France.
Through the maze of the French immigration system to trolling the offices for Social Security and healthcare, and even to the point of almost begging the OPHLM for an apartment, I have never felt more challenged and invigorated in all my life.
In the moment of defiance against all those who said we would never make it (“I give you a year before you’re back”), we purchased one-way tickets
Make no mistake, the first few months after moving to France were a struggle and many times, both my husband and I felt we were drowning and had made the worst decision ever. However even at the worst we could never bring ourselves to make that call, the one that would end it all – to the bank for a funds transfer for our return flight.
In the moment of defiance against all those who said we would never make it (“I give you a year before you’re back”), we purchased one-way tickets, and I have never been more grateful for those who did not believe in us. For if it wasn’t for those one-way tickets I am sure we would be back in Australia, currently melting on my couch.
What started with a possible “Why not, let’s move to France” soon became my life.
There was not even a defining moment that led to our decision, more like an “Ah, ha” moment when a conversation that started with “Can we live in France?” which ended with visa planning and wedding investigations. What started with a possible “Why not, let’s move to France” soon became my life.
My children are both at French school and doing remarkably well (my oldest is some kind of language genius. One month into our time in France and he was fluent, but the youngest not so much).
My husband, thanks to the AFPA (a training school), is now a qualified carpenter and I, while still struggling with the language (not so gifted with languages), am happy and cannot even picture going back to Australia. I look forward to the time when my French can contribute to a conversation.
We have made friends, met up at parks, met up for lunch, and I even babysat a couple of times. I have so many experiences and “there was that one time” tales and plans to share. Every time I look back over the last two years, I smile because while sometimes the simple things are a struggle, we honestly couldn’t imagine anything different.