Friday, July 10, 2015

France Dreams Coming True

I don't know how many times I've started this blog post, but it keeps drifting off. I think that happens with things that I'm emotional about.
Here goes another effort:
A few weeks ago, after a morning of teaching, I looked at the screen of my phone and saw that I'd missed a call from my husband. He knew I was teaching, I thought. Why is he calling me?
But he'd sent a text too.
"Dispatch is being sold. Call me when you can."
And that's how, one morning in June, that we both learned the company that has supported our household for 17 years might be coming to an end.
That's a scary scenario when you're in your 50s like we are and learn that the primary family income is in jeopardy.
My husband's newspaper company has been fairly stable in spite of the bad economy seven years ago. There'd been some lay offs and some shake ups, but Earl flowed from assistant editor to copy editor to reporter.
Suddenly, it seemed very likely that Earl might lose his job. Because while he left editing behind, the company left his pay the same each timer.
Meetings the next few days, meant to soothe worries, left us in a bit of a panic.
No one would lose their jobs for 90 days, the new management assured the editorial staff.
90 days! Holy crap!
I created a budget that showed we could survive on my salaries if we needed to, and if we didn't pay for college. Our boys are both still going to school.
We talked about possibilities in the car, sitting at the dining room table, lying in bed in the morning if we both happened to be awake.
"Well, there's the house," one of us said, I'm not sure which, but the house we bought seven years ago has gone up in price enough to leave us with a tidy profit if we sell it.
We looked at different neighborhoods close by and discussed where we could move. I talked with Earl about job possibilities and he started sending out feelers.
Our long-term plan has always been to retire to France. We love to vacation there, the lifestyle, the food, the scenery, the language.
So Earl began to question whether that could happen.
I've always insisted that we need to have a home in the U.S. If we bought a new home in Ohio, we couldn't afford a place in France.
A note from my Aunt Esther helped change my mind. (I wrote about it a few weeks ago here.) She wrote to thank me for my book Trail Mix and for the opportunity to go on the adventure. She had always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail and is unable to now.  "My other dream was to walk the Grand Canyon. But the Old Mother Nature's Clock just went too fast," she wrote.
And it struck me, we aren't that far away from where she is. How fast will those years ago and how many regrets will we have?
If we buy a house in France, we could always sell it to buy a place in Ohio if we wanted to come back.
And so, I said to Earl, "We can move to France."
He looked at me.
"If you lose your job, we can sell the house and move to France," I repeated. "I know it's what we've wanted."
I've applied for jobs teaching English at French universities. I imagine my odds will increase if I'm actually living in France. I could even teach online courses for my current universities in the U.S. Teaching online would allow me to live anywhere that has an internet connection.
We could get a three-bedroom house and rent out rooms through Air B&B to make extra money.
And we've always dreamed of creating a writer's retreat B&B. We could redo outbuildings like garages or barns to be rooms and cozy writing nooks.
We're about 30 days into the guaranteed 90 days of job that Earl was promised.
We've done very few chores to prepare the house for sale, but we've made plans in our head and we've shared the news with some friends.
"Oh, I hope Earl loses his job," my friend Tracie said. "Can I hope that?"
I know what she means.
The status quo is so comfortable, but maybe it's time to take a few chances on adventure.
Within the year, within six months, I could be writing this blog from somewhere in France.
Maybe this farmhouse for sale with a view of the Pyrenees.

Maybe this farmhouse with an old barn in Limousin.

We're about to set off on an exciting new episode. 
I hope you'll all come along. 


Unknown said...

I really did mean that in the best possible way. I'm glad you understood my meaning.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I understood T's meaning .. good luck Paulita and Earl ..hope all your dreams come true.

Paulita said...

Thanks Tracie and Anne. And I know that both of you will visit us when we move to France.

Jackie McGuinness said...

Old Mother Nature's clock certainly does move too fast. Love your attitudes on this!!

Tamara said...

Wow - this is big.. and scary... and exciting... and you seem in such good spirits about the possible change. Of course, the way it's all happening wouldn't be wished upon anyone, but if you go to France, you'll be living the dreams of many of us. Keep us informed... either way - we wish you all the best with the next 60 days! Paris in July may be reality for you next year.

Just Me said...

I'm so excited for you guys Paulita. And inspired by your gumption. You always have had that type of outlook on things. I really admire you. Cheers!

Teddyree said...

How exciting and inspiring and good on you for taking that wonderful leap ... your post made me a little teary lol. I really do believe things happen for a reason and your hubby's job was obviously your leaping off point. I can't wait for updates :)

Lisbeth said...

Wow, what a change. Sometimes one just needs a little push, unintended or not. I am so impressed that you dare follow your dream. I think with our new digitalised world it is easier to move and live where you want, and still pursue your work. Especially if it is something 'free' that you both seem to have. I presume your husband can continue work on-line with writing and editing.
Looking forward to hear how it all goes! Yes, maybe Paris in July 2016 will be closer to you. Good luck, whatever you decide.

Paulita said...

Thanks to everyone for your support. I'm so torn between hoping it happens and fearing that it happens.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

It is a complicated moment but it sounds as if either way is good. I can't help but hope, like all the rest, that you end up following your dreams. I am pretty sure you would never regret it.

Louise said...

Wow. What news Paulita. What an opportunity. It sounds like it's a matter of time for you, and your timing may be right. I can't wait to find out what happens- good luck to you both either way.

grammajudyb said...

My mother always used to say, "when one door shuts, another will open, you just have to have faith" . She was right most of the time. Good luck on which ever door you chose.

Jeanie said...

Paulita, it is frightening and yet you have my great admiration for you are turning what could be a dire situation into, quite possibly, a dream come true. I've heard many say that after they were forced out of their job for whatever reason, their life began again and was all the better. I'm thinking that just perhaps that might be happening to you. I send you all good wishes for the wisest decision, the best outcome and (just a little bit) a "go Francais!" dream!

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