Everything is coming together for our move to France. I feel like saying “at last”. But this implies a long time in the making of what seems very sudden this week.
And in a sense, it is “at last”. We’ve thought about moving to another country for years. A lot of people have. As a child, my husband dreamed of living in France. I used to fantasize about a move to Canada to grow organic vegetables.
We’ve made a two attempts to move out of the country in the past six years. Both failed. My husband’s job transfer to Toulouse fell through in 2008 with “lundi noir” (Black Monday). The day America’s unregulated “shadow banking” system collapsed, it dragged the global economy off a cliff. My husband’s job transfer, a lot of American dreams and several countries have gone with it so far. Later, New Zealand recruited me based upon my medical license. They took our application money but then disallowed our immigration points and turned us away.
Both of these moves depended on a company giving one or both of us jobs. We learned this: If your goals (happiness) depend on a job (someone else), you’re in trouble.
Things are working so well now that it looks like we planned this all along. But what appears to be the outcome of long-term planning is simply the result of being raised by depression-era parents. My upbringing instilled in me a core sense of financial insecurity. It gave me a basic distrust of credit cards and debt, stock markets and banks. My student loan adventures hammered these lessons home. I’m grateful for this.
I was driven by anxious urgings of my spirit but with no clear plan in mind. I worked all the hours I could for eight years, paid off debt and saved money. We lived with ancient cars, library internet and books, home-cooked meals and mended clothes. I practiced the art of everyday frugality.
When our jobs and careers vanished, we wondered what to do. We searched in vain for replacement jobs to make our life look like what we were used to.
Last year we sold the house and off-loaded 22 years of accumulated stuff. We placed our pets with friends and family. We started work on our own projects, rolled retirement accounts out of the nervous stock market into insured banks and set up portable health insurance.
This winter we assembled our dossier for France’s Talents and competencies visa, turned it in and waited.
During times of change, I’m more acutely aware of the folds, stretches and wrinkles in time than usual. Across the deeply pleated and stretchy curtains of the space-time continuum, I hold hands with myself. I encourage and steady myself as I leap. This gives a silent feeling of rightness but no printed instruction booklet. This leaves me with as much uncertainty as I can tolerate while I work through details from written check lists.
We’re down to the wire now. In a few days we’ll pack our belongings into the trunk of our 1992 Honda sedan and drive away to another state to take care of business there. We have tickets to fly out in late June.
This feels right.
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Thanks fort reading.