After buying our house in France we decided to go “all in” and take a whole year off work to travel on a 12 month round-the-world air ticket (such good value) visiting Asia on the way over, spending 10 months in France to renovate, and stopping in the USA on the way back to Australia (more on our travels and our initial renovations in following posts.)
While in France for that period of time our hopes were:
1. To completely renovate our house (surely 10 months would be plenty of time?)
2. Absorb the language (after all, wouldn’t my high school French come flooding back in that environment?)
3. Explore employment opportunities (without which we couldn’t even begin to think about moving to France permanently)
That was in 2009, so what progress have we made to date?
1. We are still renovating, but ever hopeful, will finish the renovations next trip! Haven’t we said that before? Absolutely, but now that the top floor is done and the guest floor is well underway we feel like we really are getting there even though it has taken so much longer than expected (health issues, lack of time, lack of money – but that’s life, hey?)
2. I am still grappling with the language, trying all sorts of different French learning programs – sure, I’ve made progress, but still so far to go. That high school French is firmly locked away somewhere in my brain and I seem to have lost the key! Tony somehow regressed and has started from scratch again using a new program (a Scot teaching French!) He generally understands what I say to him in French though, and can understand recipes in French, so yes, there is progress, but just like the renovations, it’s taking much longer than anticipated.
3. With my French conversation skills so under-par, local employment in a town where minimal English is spoken is rather unlikely for me at present (I have a UK passport so can work anywhere in the EU without restriction) and Tony, whose visa only allows him to work for himself, is even more limited. So for the moment we content ourselves with working part of the year in Australia then at least when we are in France we are actually on holiday (besides, we can earn much more in Australia.) In fact I have landed a job where my pay will be annualised, meaning that we will have an income stream next time we are in France which will be fabulous.
We have done and experienced so much together in the last few years, sometimes it doesn’t seem possible that we only met in 2008.