What is this adventure all about? Why France? Why a blog?
Our motivation for setting out on this adventure is quite complex. This is the abbreviated version:
Reason 1: Life is too short. Our boys lost both their grandfathers in recent years. Ange's dad passed suddenly in the night and I lost mine after a one-sided battle with cancer. Their passing prompted the realisation for both of us that life is far too short to be wasted away in an office building. Now is the time to live.
Reason 2: We have always dreamed about taking a year off and going somewhere interesting. The south of France has always been at the top of this list. I fell in love with France during my OE adventure in 1988/89. We also toured Southern France on a holiday in 1998 when Ange was pregnant with Jack. Returning to Europe some twenty years on after our first big adventure, where we meet and fell in love, sounded like a great plan.
Reason 3: Our three wonderful boys are growing up fast, too fast. It seems like it was just yesterday when they were just a tiny ball wrapped up in my hands. We felt this would be a great opportunity to spent more time together as a family and share memories that will last forever.
Opportunity: We had been saving for a number of years to undertake major renovations on our home back in Auckland. When the time to act finally arrived and first cost estimates rolled in, it just wasn't worth it. We had already moved on.. we now want more from life than some fresh paint and art deco furniture: Living is an outdoor pursuit.
So we took the leap: quit our jobs, rented our house and here we are.
Blog: The initial intention was that this blog would serve as a record of this adventure, of our memories, for when the kids get older. It is also proving to be very useful for keeping in touch with friends and family. The "Biscuit Bunch" is continually evolving and I'm not sure where it will end up. It is great fun!
If you are visiting this blog for the first time, I recommend having a look at the next menu: "Story so far" which has a high-level, monthly summary of all posts. You should also look at "Highlights" which will list all the most popular posts as selected by our kids and other readers.
Saturday, 23 June 2007
|Moving to, Living in France||France Property Links|
Rentals (Short and Long Term)
Other Rental and Property Sales:
|Transportation||Other/ Tourist Links|
|July 2008: Spain, beaches, bulls and visitors galore|| |
July Post Highlights
|June 2008: France awakens - holidays pending|| |
June Post Highlights
|May 2008: First Visitor, markets and lots of rain|| |
May Post Highlights
|April 2008: Pets, London and more|| |
April Post Highlights
More running around to sort of our residence permits but enjoying the warmer weather. Starting to get to know more people, especially through the kids football.
The highlight was spending 10 days in London, principally to celebrate Angela's 40th birthday. We both met in London around 20 years ago so this trip involved lots of reminiscing for us. While the kids had a exiting time exploring the city, cool museums and the Lady Di Memorial park in Kensington Gardens.
|March 2008: Paris Trip, Bikes, Castles and fun|| |
March Post Highlights
We caught the TGV from Bordeaux to Paris, rented an apartment and tried to pass as Parisians for a week. Not that we thought we could succeed, we just wanted to give it a try.
It was a fantastic, full-on crammed-in week. We arranged a baby-sitter so that Ange and I could compete in the Paris half-marathon. We walked up the tower, tramped the streets, paid homage to the great and were generally exhausted at the end of each day.
On our return home we jumped back into our established routine:
For kids: Ecole du France on Lundi, Mardi, Jeudi, Vendredi and NZ catch-up school on Wednesday
|February 2008: Arriving in France, Settling in|| |
February Post Highlights
After an interesting arrival in France we drove south to the Dordogne to meet the owners and see the house where we planned to spend the next year. We were made to feel very welcome by Pavlos and Petra (the owners) and Corine (our agent).. everything was just perfect.
The kids were settling well into their new school and were awe-struck by some of the adventures they went on.
As we started exploring this area it really dawned on me: We were going to have the most amazing year possible.
|January 2008: Leaving New Zealand|| |
January Post Highlights
January was a hard month. I have two distinct memories:
Its turns out that the Visas were approved in December however a computer fault resulted in a notification delay of 3 weeks. After a postponement we were finally airborne at the end of January.
|2007: Planning/ preparing to leave|
Although it had been a long time goal the adventure become official in mid-April 2007, as I started telling people about it.
The planning spluttered on for a number of months without getting real traction as we were both busy with work and family. This shifted up a gear in August around the time that I switched to a contracting role. By November I was working almost non-stop on this project. In hindsight we should have started much earlier but we learnt many lessons in the race to the finish.
Most of the planning involved Internet research: where to stay, costs, stories from people who had done this before. By far the toughest task was the French "Long Stay" Visa, without an EU passport this really was a daunting challenge.