“Just show me the plan.” That was my wife’s reaction to my recent idea of moving our family to Provence. Spontaneity is not one her character traits, especially when it comes to life altering decisions. Apparently “Sell-Everything-and-Move” does not constitute an actual plan.
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.
It turns out that there are a multitle of details to attend to when it comes to moving long term to another country. There are issues with visas, insurance, taxes, bank accounts, pets, schools, cars, housing, etc. etc. Oh, did I mention that none of us is fluent in French?
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.
But back to The Plan. In a nutshell, this is my 10-step plan:
It’s not a complicated plan, really. What could go wrong?
* vespa purchase optional