In one week I celebrate my Franciversary – one full year since I moved to France with my husband. That means it’s the perfect time for some reflections.
That’s right, it’s already nearly been 12 months, 52 weeks or 365 days since I swapped the hectic city life of London for a quiet, simple life in the French countryside. I honestly can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by and also how much has happened in it!
We came to France initially just for three months, then extended it to six months, then a year, and now we’re talking about staying indefinitely. My husband and I both love it so much so we see no reason to leave, especially as I can work remotely from anywhere and he does not need to work right now at all. We realise we’re in a very fortunate position and we also know we should take advantage of it to do exactly what feels right for us.
Naturally, after this first year in France, it’s the perfect time to reflect about this drastic change that involved moving countries, moving from a city to the countryside, and going from working full-time to having a sabbatical. So, here are some reflections on it in a quirky Q&A format. ;)
No – though I may have cursed at the lack of deliveroo/ubereats at the start – lol! However, this was quickly made insignificant by learning to do quick, easy meals with fresh ingredients from our local markets and by visiting some fantastic local restaurants. Fortunately, all of our favourites are less than a 20-minute drive away!
No – except the handful of friends that still live in London. Having grown up all over the world, most of my friends are spread all around the world too. That means they were never a huge tie to living in London. Many friends, both from London and other locations, have already been to visit which has been great fun.
Learning French! The first six months I was a bit too burned out to do much about it all and it was frustrating not being able to speak to people. Then, when Paul Noble came along with his audiobooks, everything changed. (I might have mentioned him in my previous newsletters if you’re a subscriber; he makes my husband very jealous lol!) I’ve now completed his two French learning audiobooks and can have basic conversations in French. I’ve also started reading short stories in French. I’m far from being fluent but I’m also thousands of miles ahead from where I was last year. I’m really enjoying progressing in it!
This is a tough one – there have been so many surprises. Learning how much I love gardening and how mindful it is. Realising how much I love the light and feeling grateful for being able to see magnificent sunrises and sunsets from my very own garden. Adjusting, surprisingly quickly, to a new, slower pace of life where only the important things matter. Finding it easier to say no to things that don’t feel right and yes to the things my heart yearns for.
Walking around our garden in the sunset with my husband and our new puppy Bond whilst admiring all the work we have done (*60 lavender plants enter*). Dancing the night away with our neighbours at our local village’s yearly Blues Festival. Feeling Mickey prance forward in a passage, one of the most advanced classical dressage movements, for the first time (*fantastic French trainer watches us closely*). Making friends with Château owners and winemakers, who are some of the nicest, most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met.
My adoring husband who encouraged us to have this French adventure in the first place. The 35-kg of fluffy madness in my life, also known as my black labrador Mr Bond, who makes me smile every single day. My sensitive, spirited black unicorn, also known as dressage horse Mickey. He’s settled into France better than I could have ever expected and is showing more moves than ever. Our magnificent French house, an old converted stone barn surrounded by rolling hills of countryside and vines. It always lets the light in.
Just do it. It might end up being one of the best things you ever did. If it doesn’t, you learn and grow from it through your reflections. Also, you’re much more likely to regret the things you didn’t do than the things you do. So just do it ;)