Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Fear and Jubilation

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Is it possible to be over-the-moon excited about something and petrified at the same time?
That's how I'm feeling these days.
Our plans to sell the house and move to France are progressing. Downstairs right now, some men are updating the bathroom and installing a new floor in the main room.
We are slowly getting rid of furniture, a bookshelf here, a spare refrigerator there, trips to Goodwill each week with books and clothes and kids' items that we no longer need. School papers, pictures, and books that we can't bear to part with are tucked into plastic bins. We'll probably go through them again and again, slowly releasing items that we can't possibly move overseas.
The purging of belongings feels marvelous, freeing.
The living room is painted and free of clutter. I could definitely feel secure showing the living room to potential buyers, but there's much more work to do.
So where's the fear?
Every time I think about that day when we climb onto the plane leaving our three children behind, my heart clutches. Can I really do that? Say goodbye knowing that I won't see them for six months, a year?
Of course, when they went to college, Grace in New York, Spencer in Florida, I survived without seeing them for three months. We managed to stay in contact.
Maybe it would be easier if they had moved away. Then the twinge of guilt wouldn't eat at me.
I guess I'm always the one who has left. After grad school, I packed up and moved to Florida, 1200 miles from my parents. We didn't have cell phones so once-a-week phone calls and letters had to fill the daily gap of contact.
My two oldest children encourage us to go. My youngest, 21 now, has accused us of abandoning him, but that has been a few months so his feelings may have changed. He has his own apartment, but I guess the idea that we wouldn't be here as a safety net seems scary to him. To me, too.
I am sad to sell this house and leave our community. It's like a 1950s enclave, except liberal. It has an incredibly low crime rate and excellent schools. We walk to the library and an array of coffee shops and restaurants. An Irish bar blares out music on St. Patrick's Day and the latest California-style bar celebrates Cinco de Mayo. Pretty much everything we need is within walking distance, including Earl's job, 3 miles away and my job, 4 miles away. We can bike into downtown Columbus, or walk when we have an extra hour.
But I've dreamed of living in France.

We've visited over and over again. In May, I'll take my 12th trip to France.
And Earl's dreams are filled with retirement plans. He has worked as a reporter for 40 years. It's a grueling business that eats up his days -- sometimes 12-hour days, and causes his eyes to pop open in the middle of the night, worried about making a mistake in a story.
He allowed me to stay home with the kids and I only worked part-time jobs while he carried the brunt of the financial burden. I owe him this. I need to support him in his retirement and carry the financial load for a bit.
Once he retires, we couldn't afford to stay here in this house, plus to pay for insurance and student loans and other expenses. So a move is in our future.
Setting off on an adventure is challenging. In every Disney movie, the main character dreams of what could be out there and something propels her.
I guess it's time to be my own Disney hero, no matter my fears.


Anonymous said...

1. You are right to follow your dreams. If you don't try, you'll always regret it.
2. This is the perfect moment to do it. The nest is empty and your husband is retiring.
3. You can always go back.
4. Downsizing is good--especially if you later decide to move back to be near grandchildren; you will have more flexibility in finding a place.
5. Languedoc-Roussillon is a good place on a budget, especially away from the beach. And anyplace in France, health care is just more affordable. The full cost is about what Americans face as co-pays. A doctor visit is €23m with 2/3 reimbursed.
6. Some friends will drift away, but with others, you'll pick up right where you left off, even if it's been a year. And you can skype or pick up the phone. International calls have gotten so much cheaper--when I first moved to Europe in the '90s, I had a callback service where I'd dial a computer in Iowa, which would call me back and give me a U.S. line for calling, so I'd be billed at U.S. long-distance rates. I still spent $300-$500 a month on calls. Now, I spend €96 a month for two lines and Internet, with unlimited international calls to most of the world. (I always manage to find countries that aren't included, though.) In general, expect to be the one calling. I don't think any of my friends or family ever figured out how to call me. The size of the phone number scared them. To me, the hardest would be not seeing my kid. I dread the day ours leaves the nest.
7. Your husband has the perfect career for working on what he wants, when he wants, in retirement, even from France. I don't know how French income taxes work, because I pay an accountant to do them; I can give you accountant referrals when you come.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hello Paulita.. A beautiful heartfelt post. I remember moving ..only and 1 1/2 hours away and leaving my son and his girlfriend and baby. .they were fine .. Didn't want to do it but had too.

You will be fine and I sure your children will be too. It is a huge move ..and I can understand your joy and then the feeling of guilt and all the emotions of going through the times you have spent there.

I dont even have a home now. . Cannot move away as finances are not enough..haven't on work full time now .

You have talked and dreamed of this for years ..Just do it !! . Says then"brave one": I dream of things and never do them down to fear. Hugs.

Louise said...

Oh you can definitely be excited and nervous at the same time. It's a huge move, it's only natural to be apprehensive, and full of anticipation. But yes it is usually the kids that move away isn't it? You do need to follow your dreams though, no matter how intoxicating, or how scary they may be. Bonne chance.

Paulita said...

Francetaste, I love your step by step defense and explanation Definitely helps support me.
Anne, I know that you are much more of a Disney character than I am because you have been forced to go on an adventure without a safety net. So scary. I do hope you got what you deserved from your divorce, though I don't know how those things work in the UK. Sending you hope for adventures that bring you joy.
Louise, Good point that I don't want to limit myself to feeling only one side of things. I should embrace both the excitement and the fear.

Jeanie said...

Paulita, I would feel the same -- excited AND a little terrified! It's a lot -- but you are living your dream and how many of us actually DO that? We might travel, but do we pick up and move? No. I think that takes a lot of courage, energy and wonderful spirit. I'm very, very happy for you!

Sim Carter said...

I got a little emotional reading your post. It's a turbulent time for you and you put it so beautifully.What's also freeing is the idea that Nothing is forever. Or has to be. You'll be fine, the kids will visit, it will be a marvelous 2nd act for you both! Like Jeanie said, you're being brave, doing something most people only dream about. I can't wait to see the book that comes of it! We'll all want to read about your adventures.

Paulita said...

Jeanie, Thanks. I think I convinced myself over the years that there's very little I'm afraid of, so I might as well JUMP!
Sim, Thanks. It felt like I put it all out there. Hopefully, all of the prep and the adventure abroad will make an equivalent of "A Year in Provence."

John Phillips said...

Paulita, your plans to move to France, and all the methodical work you've done to actually pull it off, are so uplifting. No problem having some trepidations as the process moves forward, but don't let those feelings pull you backwards. Remember that Paul Simon song "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"? This is similar: just slip out the back, Jack, and get yourself free! You two will triumph by accomplishing your dream move, no matter what happens. Family will adjust and admire you two. AND your successful move will give Lynn and me a perfect reason to head back over to the Languedoc-Roussillon area to check on how it's going! Keep inspiring the more-timid of us!

Paulita said...

John, Thanks for your encouragement. I'm still moving forward, in spite of my fears. Look forward to the time when you and Lynn come to visit.

Just Me said...

I love the idea of embracing both the fear and excitement. Good job on your progress. You must appreciate the time you have to close the windows, draw the curtains and turn out the lights in the various rooms of your life.

Just Me said...

I am really curious about the communications. What options will you have for contacting your loved ones?

Paulita said...

Just Me, So scary when you put it that way -- closing the curtains and turning out the lights.
We'll have facetime, skype, email, text. My friend Delana has a cell phone that she uses to call the U.S. without extra cost, so I guess I'll get one of those too.
I guess France isn't that much farther than Louisville these days!

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late to the party but wish you all good things. The preparation stage, too, is an exciting part of the journey. It's just that often we don't realise this until it is over.

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