The reaction of my children was, very much like my children, complete opposites. My 16 year old daughter just wanted to confirm that we would be in the countryside within some proximity to sheep. She likes sheep. My 11 year old son (who had been camping on a school trip and had no idea that this idea was being discussed) proclaimed, “Isn’t this a little extreme?”
My idea of selling our French adventure as a reality television series was not met with enthusiasm. If you are a reality television producer and interested, please contact me anyway.
I decided that a little more research was in order. This idea isn’t completely unprecedented. Peter Mayle and Francis Mayes aside, we actually know real people who have done this. So I got on Skype with our friends who moved to France for a year. That was four years ago, and they have yet to return, nor do they have any plans to come back to the United States.
They had some good information on long term visa requirements, schools, housing, expat communities, and cycling destinations. It was all very doable, they said. “Come on over, you’ll love it. We have dinner parties on Fridays.”
“See,” I told my wife. “We‘ll have a place to eat on Fridays.”
I’m a firm believer that kids will adapt and make friends wherever they are. Kids show up, look around, find someone who looks interesting and ask “Do you want to be friends?” Done deal.
It doesn’t matter that they don’t speak the same language. All that matters is that they speak the universal language of kindness. And it doesn’t hurt if they have some cool American toys.
- Sell our house, our cars, and our non-essential possessions and use the money to pay off any outstanding dept.
- Apply for a Long Stay Visa, the remaining funds from our house sale being sufficient enough to qualify as being self-supporting for the 12 month duration of the visa.
- Get our Welsh Terrier a “Doggy Passport” so we can bring him into Europe.
- Move to France, shipping only the essential things we need, storing the things we can’t part with or take with us in long term storage.
- Enroll the kids in a free local school.
- Buy a used car and a vespa.*
- Rent a house for several months while we convert the garage in our little village house to an additional bedroom and bath that the kids can share.
- Learn French.
- Have a glass of wine with a baquette and some stinky cheese.
- Go to our friends’ house on Friday for dinner.