On the 14th November 2017, I announced on my floristry website that Barry and I had decided to move to France. In my case, having been born and brought up in France, it was a return to the homeland. For Barry and the children, then 4 and 6, it was a brand new adventure moving abroad, to a country where they spoke another language.
Before the Move
Whilst we had talked about it several times since meeting in 2007, the decision was eventually made following a one month stay at my parents in the Alps during the Summer of 2017.
Up until then, I had not felt the need or the desire to come back to France.
Other than a few years spent in Ireland, I was born in France and mostly grew up in the French Alps, where I attended the International School in Grenoble. During my time there, I had realised that I much preferred the English way of teaching, and so decided to pursue a legal degree in the UK.
From then on, I mostly lived in the UK. I loved the UK way of life, how people seemed less formal than they did in France. I only had yearly holidays at my grandparents to go by, but I loved going to the UK and never regretted moving there.
I met some lifelong frends at the University, and then in the legal world when I started working in Bristol. I also met Barry at work, and soon we had bought our first home and became parents. Our time in Bristol was very much a defining moment in my life, and I cherish it dearly.
So What Changed?
A number of things changed.
By 2017, I had been in Bristol for 10 years. We had been living in our home since 2011, the longest I had ever lived in the same house!
Barry and I had both gone through career changes, leaving our jobs as lawyers and retraining. I had become a self employed events florist, and Barry had found work for a design and landscaping company.
We had also become parents to two children, and so our lifestyle and life choices had changed a little too, wanting the best for them.
The children, whilst still little, were growing fast and we knew it wouldn’t be long before Siena would want her own bedroom. Our house had taken on a fair amount of value since we had bought it, but looking for a slightly larger house would have us looking at properties at an exhorbitant price in the Bristol area. Considering our respective career moves, we didn’t expect to get a mortgage. Nor could we get our heads round getting such a huge mortgage in any event!
By 2017, the Brexit vote had also taken place…
All in all, we had a reached a point where we felt things had to change in our current lifestyle, but felt a little stuck in our current situation. We also felt caught in the rat race, and desperately wanted to break free from it in order to focus on a simpler life, especially whilst the kids were still kids.
In the summer of 2017, the kids and I went over to my parents for a month. For the first time since I had left France, I started thinking about living in France again. I saw how much the kids played outside and how they thrived on it. The warm summer sun also did me the world of good. By the time Barry joined us at the end of the holiday, I shared my thoughts with him, and luckily he agreed that now would be a good time to make the move.
Announcing Our Decision
I first mentioned the idea to my parents, and initially got scared as my mum pointed out all the technical and logistical things we hadn’t thought about it… We tend to follow our instinct and work it out as we go. I got spooked by the practicalities of moving to France and so buried the idea at the back of my mind for a bit.
However come October, the idea had once again come back up to the surface, and Barry confirmed he was still on board. We had the house valued and put on the market, and then officially announced our decision to those around us.
When we announced it to our friends, most of them reacted unsurprised, seemingly more prepared to it than we were! We had afterall enjoyed countless holidays in France over the years, usually staying with family members. We had also gotten married in the French Alps back in 2015.
So after the idea had blossomed in August 2017, by the Autumn the decision to move to France had been made!
To some extent, making the decision was the hardest bit. Once we made the decision and the house was put on the market, all we needed to do was decide where in France we wanted to move to.
Join us on the next blog post to read all about it!
Have you moved abroad with your family too? Did you move to France or to another country? Let us know our thoughts in the comments below.