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Picking up and moving, change of life

Posted by Ron-181036 - Created: 17 years ago
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5 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 5)

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Posted by Jenny Lorr - 17 years ago

Hi Ron,

No long message..all I can say is Go for it!

I am very happy here in France and although there are normal every day problems that arise, I would not turn back the clock.

I've been here a while now, 48 yrs old , kids grown up and still find lots to do and fight for. It's a very special place for many reasons.

If you decide to come over and need some assistance with a few things here and there please e.mail me on rivvid@wanadoo.fr.

I have many lovely friends and know about most of the pitfalls....I think..!

Good luck


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Posted by Gaidjin - 17 years ago

Hi there!

I agree with all of the above, I "upped and moves" about 6 times already and I must say that it has it's positive points. The only intense planning and preparation you should do prior to moving to France is really settling the paperwork. It can be a nightmare if you have to deal with the move, the (semi-) cultural shock and l'administration Française at the same time. So look well into which papers you'll need and try to settle as many as possible prior to coming over.

And of course, try to learn as much French as possible.

Upping and going is most certainly a rush, and everyone who ever felt like doing it should definitely take the plunge. It teaches you a lot about yourself and you never have to deal with if onlys!!

Enjoy the preparation of the move, that too, is an exciting time :)


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Posted by angel-187474 - 17 years ago

Yes ... do be careful here ... "a great deal of planning" can lead to procrastination, if not disappointment ... "a little preparation" is merely common sense.

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Posted by szozu - 17 years ago

I've picked up and moved four times in my life (starting at age 20) without anything that could be construed as a great deal of planning: from Detroit to New York (NY became my home base), from New York to London (stayed 5 1/2 years), from New York to Spain (stayed 6 years) from New York to France (moved last year).

Essentially there are about three phases most people go through. First there's a hyper-aware state and everything is new and marvellous--a whole world to be discovered! That's also the phase where one tends to get lost a lot and the ambient conversation sounds like babble. Doing things like dealing with utility companies and/or government agencies is a semi-traumatic experience. The second stage comes when one begins to understand how things work. There are still many discoveries to be made, but one is starting to integrate into the new environment and feel comfortable. The future holds much promise! The final stage is where one has pretty much tapped into all potentially interesting possibilities and settled in. At this point the language has probably been mastered and the banality of most people's conversations becomes evident. Life becomes routine.

At some point during stages one or two, one is certain to be shocked and/or frustrated at how certain things are done differently than "at home," but by stage three, acceptance will have set in and one will have begun to learn to turn certain negatives to one's advantage.

One way to prevent "burn out" when reaching stage three is to develop some solid friendships. Another is to move into a house, apartment and/or neighborhoood that you find pleasant and aesthetic. Travelling within the country or region also keeps things interesting, as does pursuing a hobby or interest in the new environment.

I have no intention of returning to the US, since each time I've moved back I've felt like more and more of a foreigner there. This is fairly  common in expats.


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Posted by angel-187474 - 17 years ago

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Hi Ron !


Yes – I’ve « just packed up and moved » about three times now.  The first time I moved straight into <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Paradise – no hiccups; the second time was from Paradise to Purgatory – nothing went as planned; and this third time – here to France, well, lets just say that it’s improving with time, effort and patience.  Fortunately, this time someone has been by my side every step of the way.


I’ve had to grow a thick skin (so to speak – was not as adaptable to a different standard of lifestyle as I thought I was),   and to learn to pick and choose whom I surround myself with – which meant severely limiting contact with forever negative, rude and impolite, folks – not being accustomed to the very different mannerisms here.   By the way ... what seems aggressive and impolite to me – is often viewed here as  “normale”.  I guess one’s perception changes according to where one has lived before.


Learning to speak French well must be a priority – otherwise you may find yourself constantly ‘fobbed off’ each time you ask for assistance – (even though one is trying their hardest with one’s limited French).   It is only now – after about a year – that I find the locals reacting to me less impatiently.  Trying to learn French in another country is difficult, but so long as you’re prepared to do so seriously, once you’re here ... you’ll find it makes a great difference.   I am surprised at the number of stories of Anglophones who, apparently,  have settled here, and after many years – still haven’t bothered to learn the native language.


My advice is – ensure that all your financial, investment or property matters are sorted, and well and truly under control before you make the grand move – and that all the appropriate paperwork for France is obtained and clear.   (Even though you’ll be assured these matters only take 3 months ... be assured they’ll most likely take much longer!) 


Making for a change of life is an exciting adventure, and you’d be crazy not to take the opportunity that’s available to you to ‘broaden the horizons’ !   So after a little preparation - all I can say is “Go For It !”   France is indeed a very quaint little country full of many hidden charms just awaiting discovery.  And on top of that ... it's a stepping stone to the rest of Europe and also to Africa.  A new world of adventure shall be open to you ... so many possibilites, so many choices ...


Best wishes ... and best of luck ...   xxx A.