Celebrating 30 years in France…
When I came to France, I had such dreams and getting to France after travelling extensively was already a big achievement. I arrived with my 5-month-old baby daughter, oblivious to what was awaiting me and thank goodness for that, I may not have left Bermuda if I had known. I naively thought I could jump in my car and come to France, but of course 30 years ago the UK was not part of the EU and now we have come full circle.
This September I am celebrating not only 30 years in France but also 10 years in Business and I can honestly see I have not seen the time pass, well when I look in the mirror I can but what a journey!! Some things have changed over the past 30 years, of course they have, some of them for the better and some not so. I am so thankful to live the life I have in France to have made my dream happen. Have there been obstacles, absolutely. I’ve always been one for a challenge, so I just kept moving. Let’s dive into a few of the changes I have seen over the years whilst I have been living here.
'Over the years, I have moved house 7 times, married, bought and sold 2 properties, had another child, left the corporate world and created a successful relocation business...'
I was tipping my toe in the beach last week for the first time and it hit me that 30 years ago when I came to France, i swam in the sea in February, now its May !! Yes, I have pictures of me and my daughter on the beach in February, with snow in the background. So yes a change indeed.
30 years ago when I came to France, I hated cheese, well except abit of cheddar on a sandwich. Married to a French husband for the past 20 years means that this of course changed. Nowadays its more like, please take the plate away!! So a change but not in the best direction in my opinion!! Let’s face it France is renowned for its amazing food and I must say I’ve had the opportunity to eat at some amazing restaurants but I’m always up for more, if you have any ideas??
When I came to France 30 years ago 30 years, I was not a great wine lover, well ok, let’s not exaggerate, I’ve always liked wine but now I must change the colour with the seasons!! I concede that this is not a change more of an adaptation to my wine environment 😊
For those of you who are new to France, learning the lingo is a big deal. Believe me when I arrived in France 30 years ago I spoke very bad schoolgirl French, now I’m bilingual. Learn more about how I did this in my Learn the Lingo blog here. I’ve had so many laughs with the mistakes I have made when learning French, the mispronunciation, the false English words and of course the grammar. It should be fun, so enjoy the process. So this was a big change for me and having my children has helped with my language learning.
30 years ago when I came to France, the bureaucracy was a nightmare and guess what it still is! Some things just do not change, do they? I remember it took me over a year to get into the French healthcare system and again today, due to Covid backlogs, it still does. I also remember that dealing with the CAF (for child benefits), was a real nightmare. By the time I got my file validated, my daughter was almost 3 years old and as I did not have a second child, I was no longer eligible for child allowance. Of course, this was also due to the fact that I was waiting for my carte de sejour from the Prefecture and the CAF would not validate my file without it. The same still happens today, the catch 22 situation.
The Prefecture, well that is a story far to long for this article but you can follow me on my new podcast to hear some of my stories and get some top tips for your move to France
Over the years, I have moved house 7 times, married, bought and sold 2 properties, had another child, left the corporate world and created a successful relocation business, became a co-author of the Pay it Forward Series, have been a speaker at international online events & overseas relocation events, have appeared on France 5 documentary during the Brexit period and I still just love going to the seafront for a coffee and meeting up with friends.
These years have passed so quickly, one thing I can say is that my dream to live in faraway places began as a small child in my bedroom and now as I look back, I realise that those childlike dreams were actually the visualisation of my future, that I am now living.
Cheers everyone, to making your dreams come true.