The details can kill you. And discourage you. They can almost stop you in your tracks.
Moving to another country is not as easy as packing a suitcase and taking a taxi to the airport. VISAs, passports, bank accounts, health insurance, storage units, taxes. . . I could go on, but I won’t bore you with those details. You are more interested, I’m sure, in how I’m finally getting there.
The short answer is that I’m going on my passport, at least initially. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get there. You can stay in France for up to 90 days on an American passport. For a longer stay, you need a VISA; and I’m not prepared to get a VISA just yet. Why not? Well, you have to be a student, have a job, married to a French national, or independently wealthy to get the long-stay VISA, which is good for one year. I’m none of those things. You see, moving to France to fall in love is NOT considered a valid reason for a VISA. It seems the French, and the Americans, for that matter, are not concerned with matters of love. Surprising, isn’t it?
I’ll figure out the rest later, which is really out-of-character for me. I’m not usually a throw-everything-to-the-wind kind of person. I’m thorough. I research everything. Analyze everything. Find the cheapest, the most expedient, the safest, the most efficient solution. But my counselor says I think to much. And I’m an unconventional person trying to live a conventional life. She told me I’m sitting on the fence trying to climb down the other side. I just need to jump. She’s great with analogies.
So here I go. I’m about to jump. I just hope I don’t drown.
It started as a friendship. He was a funny-looking little man (an avatar) I met in the virtual French world. I wanted to practice speaking French. He barely spoke English.
Fast forward two years and several trips across the ocean for both of us. And now, I am embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
Ok, it reads like a romance novel. It is: American woman meets French man. American woman goes to live in the South of France. He’s romantic; the place is romantic. But it’s not a novel. It’s reality. (I could have my own TV show)
In one month I leave for France, having sold my house and quit my job.
I started this blog at the encouragement of some friends. They want to read about my adventure. Yes, it is romantic; but I think my story speaks to them for several reasons.
They witnessed my divorce. They watched my life fall apart. They saw this once strong and determined woman wither to someone who felt worthless and afraid to face life alone. They cried with me. They encouraged me. I include my mother in that circle of friends. She’s my faithful friend, and she supported me most of all.
And then they watched this man love me unconditionally. Through a year of turmoil as I fell to pieces and made poor decisions, he loved me from afar; but technology brought him close. And once, he flew over just for a weekend because he knew I needed that closeness of the physical touch, if only for a few days.
So you see, this is not just a story of romance and the French Riviera. It is a story of love and healing. And this wonderful man, who happens to be French, showed me that real love does still exist. And by real, I mean the kind that lasts through the darkest valley.
And now, my real adventure begins.