The first thing we had to do back in the fall of ’11 was to really decide once and for all that this is what we want to do, and that this is the best decision for our family. My husband and I have just hit the big 4-0, and we have two small children, as well as one who is now 21. We lived in Béziers, France back in 98-99, right after getting married. When we came back to St. Louis, it was mainly to allow me to finish my Master’s in French. At the time, it seemed like it would be so easy to pick up and go back whenever we felt like it. 13 years later……. In a perfect world, we will move back to the south of France this summer (2012).
Time to tell the family about our big move. My husband is French, and his whole family lives in France. Telling them was a piece of cake, and they were thrilled! My whole family is in Louisiana. To them, St. Louis is already too far away. This proved to be a bit more difficult, but six months later, Mom & Dad gave us their support (whew!).
Tell the family, but not the kids just yet. It was really hard keeping such a big secret, but for job security it was necessary. We finally decided to tell the kids (they were ecstatic), and of course the news spread like wildfire. Lots and lots of questions were aimed in our direction, and we still don’t have all of the answers.
Right after Christmas, we decided it was time to get busy! Spring was on the way, and we had a house to get ready to put on the market. It took one solid month to go through every single item in the house while getting ready for the moving sale of the century (not really). We had our sale in mid-February, and we sold everything we do not plan to bring to France, with just a few exceptions. We’ll still need a 20′ container, though.
With the moving sale accomplished, it was time to get the house ready to put on the market. With the help of an awesome real estate agent, we found out exactly what we needed to do to make this house sell. Without going into all of the details, I can tell you that it was the hardest job we have ever embarked upon. Ever. Working day and night, we got the house market-ready in 6-7 weeks.
Two open houses, about 10 showings, one contract that fell through, two home inspections…. lots of stress. Still playing the waiting game. Had to lower the price on our house today in hopes of getting some more showings.
Lots of administrative things to do. Working on finalizing French nationality for the children (and for me), enrolling the kids in school both in France and in St. Louis (just in case), reserving a 20′ container for the move, making lists of what to do when the time comes to move. It’s pretty difficult, because most of what we need to do cannot actually be done until our house sells and we’re certain of the move.
This is not really “step 8”, it’s been a constant since we decided to move: Looking for work in France. We’re fortunate in that my husband is French, so it will be easy for me to get a “carte de séjour” until my French nationality has been finalized. Here in the US, I’m a French teacher. I’m exploring many avenues to make money while in France, all the while keeping my schedule free enough to accomodate a school schedule that’s less than friendly to mothers who work full-time.
I’m sure I’ve skipped out on many of the details, and I may need to further edit this post, but I wanted to get it out there. This whole year, I’ve scoured the Internet for people like us, making the big move. It’s hard to find information, so if you have questions for someone who’s going through the transition right now, feel free to ask me questions 🙂