6 Months In France
I was planning to write a totally different post today.
As you know from my last post we’ve maybe, very-possibly-definitely, bough a new RV (wheeeeeeee!!!). I’m obviously super excited & dying to write about it, but I’ve decided to hold back, for a very important, but purely superstitious reason.
You see she’s not actually 100% ours yet 🙁
Car buying is a process here in France, so although we’ve already paid our deposit & signed the papers, we’ve got ~3 more weeks to wait before our dealer can process the mountains of French-required paperwork & other details to actually hand the rig over to us. I don’t expect any issues, but you just never know….
So rather than tempt fate, I’m going to hold back on the full reveal until she’s actually parked in our front yard. It’s pure superstition I know, but sometimes wishy washy feelings have to be validated, and this is one I don’t want to risk messing up.
So I apologize folks! I know I teased that this was going to be THE intro post, but you’re just going to have to wait a smidgen longer. Forgive me, please (and keep your fingers crossed everything goes smoothly)?
Of course, that begs the question WHAT am I going to write about for the next 3 weeks?????
Given that our minds are full of the new rig, it’s going to take some serious work to pull me away to other topics. Thankfully I do have a few on-hand. Of course I’ve got more French bureaucracy stuff to wrote about (specifically the whole process of Paul getting his carte de sejour), and I’ve had my first, personal experience with the French healthcare system. Some recent painful back issues (an old, recurring problem) have introduced me to how it all works, and it’s cool stuff (not the back issues, but the healthcare system).
I Went to Paris With Dad!
I’ve also got a travel goodie to share!
Just recently my dad and I flew to Paris for a few days. We did the jaunt primarily for paperwork (renewal of our Danish passports), but in the process I also got to show dad around a city that’s quite close to my heart.
You see Paris was the first place I lived after I left home as a teenager. My first solo experience as an adult, if you will. I spent a year there right after High School (before heading to College) and got to know the place quite intimately, discovering little gems that most tourists never see.
My mind has admittedly gotten a little mushy over the past 30 years or so, but surprisingly most of those memories are still there. So in addition to taking my dad to all the regular tourist spots, I was also able to offer him a “back-roads” tour, taking him to some of the places I used to hang out in & visit as a youth. It was a super cool few days that I can’t wait to share with you on the blog too.
We’ve Been Here 6-Months
In between all this, Paul and I both realized we’re about to approach our 6 month-mark in France. 6 months!!!!???!! It still seems like yesterday that we left the USA, and it surely doesn’t seem like 6 months since we landed here, but there you go.
In some ways we’ve accomplished a ton. We managed to get ourselves, 12 paws and all, into France and legally settled (paperwork and all that), got our stuff over, bought a car, battled through several important health issues (both paws and human), bought an RV (soon-to-be-complete) and basically just accustomed ourselves to French language & life. In other ways it seems like we’ve accomplished very little. We moved, we settled and have really just been hanging out, right?
But these are the practical details. Perhaps the more interesting questions for folks who are dreaming about doing something like this themselves are: How do we like it? Do we miss the USA? Have we regretted our choice?
Have We Truly Transitioned?
As with everything in life, it’s been an interesting ride.
When we sold “the beast” and left our traveling life in the USA, we were both ready for a change. It was something we’d talked about for a long time, and we were both 100% in agreement on making the switch. However being ready for a big life change doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t still go through doubts and reflection after-the-fact. I wrote in detail about this in my post “Dealing With Post-Transition Angst, Regret & Adaptation” and our move here has been no different. Plus as a couple, you experience the depth of those transition feelings individually.
Before our move Paul was perhaps the “most ready” for a change, in that he was completely ready to try something new, and had been feeling this way for quite a while. So, when we moved to France he adapted almost immediately. He was thrilled with the switch and slotted in like a local, launching himself 100% into French lessons, French food and French lifestyle. There are certainly things he misses about the USA (family, is a big one), but he loves our new life here, and hasn’t really looked back. He is completely in the moment and totally excited about our up-coming Europe travels & explorations.
I was perhaps “less ready” for a change, not in the sense that I didn’t want to make the switch, but in the sense that I was still quite comfortable with our USA RV life, and could probably have kept going several years more. So although I was mentally ready, and I’ve lived in France before, my adaptation to this particular move has came more slowly. Over the past months I’ve caught myself yearning for our US travel days, and feeling deep pangs of nostalgia, especially as I followed fellow RVers travel around this summer (pics from the PNW really got to me!). So there were moments where I struggled, despite the fact that there were tons of things I truly loved about our new life here too. It sounds contradictory, I know, but that’s what big life changes are often like.
However sometime this past month I finally made “the full switch”.
Looking at new RVs no-doubt helped (re-stoking that travel bug, ya know), but it was much more than that. I can’t recall the exact day it happened, but I can pin-point the exact moment. A few weeks ago, as I was walking with Polly in the field at sunset I finally felt it, that feeling of being “home”. It was a sudden and very powerful sense of belonging, of being in the right place at the right time, of not thinking about the past, and truly enjoying THIS place & THIS moment, rather than longing for another.
I had finally, completely transitioned, and pretty much exactly on that magical 6-month mark that I talked about in my previous post. It was a sweet, sweet moment.
So there you go. 6 months passed in France. A mere moment in time, yet a lifetime of moments. In some ways I still can’t believe we’re here, but it’s finally sinking in that we’re truly in this place and not just on a temporary vacay. This is it, the European adventure we dreamed of so many years ago, and I feel darn lucky that we get to do it. We’re really here, we’re really living it, and I’m totally ready for it. Bring it on, ma chère France, bring it on…!