We have officially been living in our apartment in Béziers for three days now. It’s like a dream come true. We absolutely love our apartment, imperfections and all! We love the neighborhood and it’s cafés and gardens, and can’t wait for school to start next week. Last night I was on our balcony (I always wanted a balcony), taking in the view, and I took a few minutes to take into account that this is really happening. We have moved to France. It’s no longer something that we “want to do someday”. We’ve done it, we live here now.
When I was growing up in Louisiana, it was always in the fall that my “new year” began. Since then, the only profession I’ve ever known is that of a teacher. In my mind, next Monday (la rentrée or first day back to school for the kids) will mark the first day of a new year, a new beginning. The difference this time is that the beginning of this new year will not take place in a classroom. It’s a new life for us, a new business to get off the ground, new friends to make, a time for new life experiences.
The kids are ready to start CP (first grade for Charlotte) and CM1 (fourth grade for Tristan). To my great surprise, they told me that they’re tired of vacation, and they’re ready to get back to school! It’s true that they’ve had a bit of an extended summer vacation this year to the tune of about three and a half months total. I think they’re ready to meet some kids their own age. It’s funny how kids don’t get worked up about things the way we adults do sometimes. French school, American school, it’s all the same to them.
We plan to take a “trial walk” to the kids’ school today to see exactly how long it takes to get there by foot. I’m thinking 15 minutes or so, and since we’ll be doing it 8 times a day, it should be good exercise! In case you’re wondering why we’ll make the trip 8 times a day, it’s a round-trip in the morning to drop them off, then a round-trip to pick them up for lunch. Add a round-trip to bring them back to school at 2:00, then another round trip to pick them up at 5:00.
Before leaving St. Louis, one of the students at the school where I taught read in the school newspaper that I would be moving in Béziers with my family. He came to my office to tell me that he has a cousin who recently moved to Béziers (small world!) and that she and her husband own a bike shop here. I plan to go meet them today, and maybe see if they can help me put my bike back together. For now, we don’t have a car, so having our bikes would be pretty handy, and fun too! It’s so liberating to live a simpler life, without the things we considered to be necessities back in St. Louis. I love the idea of being able to get (almost) everything we need for daily living just by walking down the street.
P.S. Yesterday we ordered the mega-electricity-transformer that one of you so graciously took the time last spring to tell me about, and we received it only 24 hours later! We can now vacuum and play on the Wii. Life is good!