After seven months of pursuing our dream of selling our house then moving to France, today it has officially happened. We closed on the sale of our house in St. Louis! Neither of us was quite ready to believe it until all of the closing papers had been signed. Until the last minute, we were living in doubt. Since putting our house on the market back in March, 2012, we have had six different contracts fall through for one reason or another. We really wanted to move to France this past summer, and it was a harsh reality to accept that it just wasn’t going to happen, not exactly the way we wanted it to. Looking at the big picture, we can both see that leaving next summer will be much more practical on many levels.
We will be staying on in St. Louis until mid-June 2013 due to the nature of our jobs (we are teachers), and also to avoid interrupting the school year for our children (ages 5 and 8). This wait will also give us the opportunity to save more money, as we will now be paying to rent an apartment rather than paying a home mortgage! In addition, we won’t feel rushed and unsure about everything as we did last spring. Not knowing if we were going to move put us in a position where we couldn’t really talk to many people about our grand adventure. This time, we will be able to share our dream coming true with friends, family, colleagues. There will not have to be any secrecy about it now. In the spring, when we were hoping to sell our house quickly, we still knew that there was a huge amount of uncertainty involving our move. We couldn’t inform our employers of our move, just in case things didn’t work out. We knew that if the house didn’t sell, we would need to have our jobs in the fall. That was good thinking on our part, even if it was very difficult to stay quiet about it all.
Our first step now will be to find an apartment to live in for the next seven months, and it shouldn’t be hard to find one right in our neighborhood. The next step will be to eventually inform our employers that we will not be returning in the fall. I think that can wait a few months, still giving them time to find our replacements. Beyond that, there’s everything we need to get done logistically speaking for the big plunge: French nationality for me, and American nationality for my husband being the two main tasks at hand.
As the months go on, we will plan out (as best we know how) our first year of living in the south of France. We need to find jobs, some reliable source of income to support our family. I feel very optimistic about this as we are two very marketable professionals with many talents, and we have some pretty good ideas already. My husband is a little less optimistic, but I think that’s just a result of (1) being a husband and father, and (2) being French!
It does help to know that we are moving to a very familiar place where we have family, and we have also already spent a year living there (14 years ago). We have also spent the last 14 years spending the whole summer over there, so we feel comfortable. The kids and I already speak fluent French, which I’ve read all over the Internet as being one of the main obstacles of other American families who have the same dream of living in France. Here in the US, I’d say we already live as much of a “French lifestyle” as possible. It’s just the way we are. The way we live daily and the way we raise our children corresponds much more to a French norm than to the American way.
Over the next seven months, I’ll do my best to record the steps we will take to get prepared. Hopefully this blog will serve to help others in the same boat (we can’t be the only ones doing this, right?). So now, let the fun begin! Thanks for reading, and I’d love any comments or questions that my readers may have.