So we will be moving to France this summer! We have been working on it and moving towards it for awhile. These are the most common questions I am asked about it:
Why are you going?
My husband is a computer programmer. He works from home and he is good at his job. Living overseas is something we have always kind of wanted to do. I grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico and traveled a lot before I got married. My husband lived in Korea for 2 yrs. serving a 2 yr. mission for our church and lived in Australia for a summer when he was 16, and loves travel and languages. Our priorities changed when we had kids, we thought we would just live a quiet life. I had never lived in any one place for more than 4 yrs. I wanted to know what it was like to live in the same place and know everybody and be part of a community. Well it turned out that even though you might stay, your friends may leave. And that along with other factors after having the twins got us thinking about past desires. Once the twins were potty trained we left Utah for a new experience in New Hampshire (which we have loved and consider home), and now that our youngest will be 4 this summer and our oldest is 17 and will be a senior next year– it is do it now with everybody or later with only a few.
How did you set it up?
So my husband starting talking with bosses almost 2 yrs. ago to let them know that he was interested in any overseas work openings. There was a possibility that he would get a position in Singapore. When that didn’t pan out, my husband asked if they would be OK with us just moving to another country paying our own way , with my husband doing his same job. They were find with that so we proceeded to make arrangements.
Why did you pick France?
We started doing research on the different countries. We wanted to go somewhere that is pretty first world for safety with the number of kids we have. That pretty much cut out Latin America and Africa, and then we decided that Asia was probably too different for our first time overseas. Then we wanted a country that spoke another language as that is a huge advantage in many ways for the kids as they grow. So that pretty much left Europe. Then we looked at the homeschooling laws for the various countries– that eliminated Germany and most the Nordic countries. We looked at Belgium but the housing seemed pretty strict– you couldn’t get a lease for less than 3 yrs. France looked like it had plenty of options, big enough houses that would fit our family for a 1 yr. lease. Italy also looked like a good option. Ultimately, we really like French people, the culture and the language.
What are your arrangements?
And we eventually found a biggish house on airbnb in Brittany. Airbnb really changes the housing situation for us, because we are not committed to a full year lease, we just have to give 30 days notice to leave and we pay month to month. So that really cuts down on the risk, given that we can leave at anytime if we don’t like it anymore. We also bought our plane tickets super cheap through Norweigian Air– about $230 per person one way. Of course if we want to check luggage, or have a meal, or have an assigned seat, we would have to pay extra. But it works for us. And then we were all set- plane tickets bought and housing set– that was in about November, I think. Then we had to figure out the visa. I had corresponded with the consulate and reviewed the visa process and it looked like they would give us a long term visitor visa when the time came. They said that you cannot apply for a visa more than 90 days before your departure date. So when the 90 days got closer, my husband again reminded his company of the arrangement. They looked into it some more and decided to sponsor us. We just got word that our business visa application was approved. All that is left is to pass an interview with the consulate in Boston. Looks like we will be all ready for when our flight is scheduled to leave!! Yay!! We thought we might have to camp somewhere for a week. That was great news!!
What is your Current Status?
We are clearing out the house now. Our first yard sale was Saturday, we sold some big items and our friends cleared out the food storage and preparedness items, so that was awesome!! I took everything left over to Goodwill, about 4 trips! It has been a huge effort. I hate cleaning and organizing, packing and moving. But it has felt really good to get so much done. And I have found a couple long lost books and items I have been missing the past 2 yrs. We may have another yard sale the last Sat. before we leave because we want to hold on to the washer and dryer as long as possible. We will get rid of all our kitchen stuff, dishes, pots and pans, etc., then, also the TV and the meager, lousy furniture and stuff that we have left. We will rent a storage space for our momentos and some of the kids’ memories, and then ship our school books and scrapbooks, maybe the ukuleles. But we are pretty much only going to be able to take our clothes and our current school books. For the amount it would cost to ship or store, we can buy new.
We purposefully rented because we sort of did this exact same thing 2 1/2 yrs. ago when we moved from Utah to New Hampshire. We were not sure how long we would be here, etc. So fortunately we don’t have to worry too much about the house here. Although our landlady has been very nice, she wanted to put the house on the market in May, but we were no where near being ready to show it at all. So the realtor comes on Friday. It is really good for us to have a definite deadline like that. We got a lot of the kids’ rooms done on Memorial Day, I’m hoping to get the school room, and the rest of the upstairs done today. That will leave the kitchen and the downstairs closet, and then a 3rd going over the boxes in the garage. I am going to have let even more go. But it surprisingly is getting much easier and is super exciting. We are also moving to our summer school schedule, packing, cleaning and moving is our priority now. Plus I have to figure out how to get to Plymouth, Cape Cod, and Salem before we leave. I’d love to drive up Mt. Washington and go the beach a ton too! And make sure we get to spend time with our good friends here.
So wish me luck! It is an adventure for sure. Have you had experience living overseas? Have you ever had to get rid of most of your stuff? Do you have any advice to share? Thanks for reading!