Where to Land Continued: Hurray!

Hurray! Stuart and I have finally come to a decision about where we will settle as a newly-married international couple. It is actually the decision we had started with, but now, having taken time to consider all our options, it is the obvious choice.

And the winner is…France!

The Reasons Why

I’m sure this does not come as a surprise if you’ve been following this blog. I’ve been leaning that way all along. Even though it is mostly irrational and somewhat of a bigger challenge for me, something in my heart keeps saying, “France” and I’ve decided to listen…even though it is a little scary. In addition to the dream I had about Paris being “home” and the knowing I had that I would be moving to France a couple of months before meeting Stuart, I also had some astrocartography done which revealed the region in which Stuart and I will live as a very supportive area for both of us. I also had a psychic tell me that my destiny lies in France…and since I already knew intuitively that was true, I take it as a confirmation. I release expectation, though, because who knows? Maybe my destiny lies in France because I have to go to France to learn my destiny lies somewhere else.  : )

As for the logical reasons, first of all, it allows us to be together sooner rather than later. And hello, we’re middle-aged newlyweds. We don’t want to wait an additional 6-12 months on top of the time is will take to organize this venture in order to start our life together! As mentioned in my earlier post about France, as a non-EU spouse of an EU citizen, I can arrive in France without obtaining a special visa and apply for a Cart de Sejour once there. (FYI: This option doesn’t apply in all situations; most folks will require a passport…even fiances.)

Second, as a result of our deliberations, we discovered something miraculous and wonderful called the EEA Family Permit. So, should we decide we’d like to settle in the UK after all, we can do so by applying for the currently-free family permit, available to UK citizens (and their spouses) exercising their treaty rights in the EU, which Stuart is doing by working in France. We therefore bypass the rather complicated and expensive UK Spousal Visa.

Third, France has the winning climate and a location for easier travels to other European destinations. France will give us the best of everything.

As for the Negatives

The language, the lack of choices in the grocery stores, the difficulties in establishing work and collaborations there…none of them need be as daunting as my mind tries to tell me. I musn’t forget my potentials, all that I have so far achieved in this life, that I am the creator of opportunity, and that I will be with my thoughtful, talented, loving and kind Stuart. This chance holds too many gifts to forsake it out of fear. And as for the negatives of which I am as yet unaware, I shall endeavor to see them as gifts…and forgive myself when I forget. I know the little challenges will be balanced by little triumphs.

I will without question miss my friends and family, my sweet house, and many of the things with which I have identified in the US. There will probably be periods of homesickness and grief, but these will be balanced by unexpected pleasures and newfound joys. And even better, I will not be one of those people who wonders what would have happened if.

Looks like this is really, truly happening! All I can say is “Holy Merde!!!!”

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Where to Land Continued: France

Since my husband lives in France and is self-employed there, it would seem entirely logical for me to relocate there. There are many reasons to go this route and just as many not to, so in order to sort it out, I commence…

First of all, France has a relatively easy process for the non-EU spouse of an EU citizen. I just show up and then apply for my Cart de Sejour, or residency card, within 3 months. No long, complicated forms to fill out beforehand. No 6 – 12 months waiting to reunite. Obviously, this is a HUGE plus.

On the more intuitive side of things, several months before meeting my husband, I was telling people how much I wanted to visit France. You see, a couple of years ago, I had a dream I was riding in a cab in Paris, my face pressed against the glass as I looked up at the buildings in awe exclaiming, “I’m home!”

Then, one day in my kitchen a few months before meeting Stuart, I was chopping carrots and thought, “Wow, I’m moving to France. I don’t know how. I don’t know when. But it is going to happen.” And now, here’s this opportunity to realize all of that.

“So, get thee to France!” you may be saying.

There are some negatives to consider. First of all, I don’t speak the language. While I have a good ear for French pronunciation, I remember very little from my two years in high school many years ago. “So what?” you may think. “Learn it.”

I could and am (Memrise), but it will take me several years to become really fluent. Oh, and I’ve forgotten to mention, though my husband has lived there several years, he doesn’t really speak it either! I’ve already come to learn he would be little help in that department (sorry, Honey).

Now, every document, every food label, every piece of mail we receive, every road sign will be in French. And if important papers are not in French, they will need to be translated…such as my birth certificate and marriage license. That is a daunting challenge, though one that excites me all the same. Living in a country where I just don’t understand anything is a spiritual-growth playground for undoing my mind! I guess that makes it a plus and a minus and therefore, the issue of language is cancelled out.

Another negative is obtaining my French driver’s license. Apparently, this is no easy task for an American. The test is in French, requires lots of class time, costs a small fortune, and has an absurdly low passing rate. This is definitely a negative. I’ll write more about this another time, as there is more to this issue.

Positives:

  • I’ll be with my Honey!!!
  • It’s sunny and beautiful.
  • The pace of life is poifect!
  • The most beautiful beaches anywhere are close by.
  • It’s easy to travel to wonderful places such as Italy, Switzerland, Spain…and even the UK (though I would need either a visitor visa or EU Family Permit to go there).
  • Rents…and eventually houses…are more affordable there than, say, the UK (but I have a house in the US with a very affordable mortgage that can’t be beat).

Negatives:

  • While I can work online from anywhere doing what I do, I will undoubtably lose some clients who prefer in-person work, and I won’t be able to get new clients there or teach workshops unless I find English-speaking participants.
  • Working with my current musical and vocal toning collaborators will be greatly impacted.
  • Stuart’s current living arrangement is a rather rustic space in the middle of nowhere (though he is very willing to move closer to a bigger city such as Cognac).
  • The bio shops are teeny and carry very little selection at a hefty price; in fact, the grocery stores we went to were rather sad. Here I am in Asheville, NC, a mecca of whole foods including two EarthFares, a co-op, Greenlife, and most recently, Trader Joe’s. That won’t be an easy adjustment.

I know there’s more, but my head is already turning to cotton, so I’ll continue another day…