Thursday, January 15, 2009

mon Dieu


Ian is officially unemployed, as is almost every builder/husband I know around here.

We're a missing paycheck away from financial disaster, (I am missing one as a matter of fact) yet we're still joking and laughing each morning.

Esther's snow pants are too short and she needs a new pair. She's grown out of her ski boots. (Honestly, who can afford a lift ticket?) Our car is up for inspection (okay it's expired) and needs new shocks. We owe our accountant money. I was actually even looking into the pros and cons of dipping into my IRA savings the other day.

Yet still, we laugh.

I made the choice to give up a perfectly good, safe, sensible and secure teaching job because, mostly, I couldn't fathom having gone through all that trouble to have children then spending an inordinate amount of time taking care of other people's children while I paid someone to take care of mine. In these tight times, that decision feels frivolous. Kind of.

It's zero degrees outside. It's meant to dip well below zero tonight. The poor pony's eyelashes and whiskers are all frozen. To sit inside and look out at the brilliant blue sky and white ground, you could almost imagine you're at the beach. But you'd freeze your tits off if you tried to sunbathe out there.

Yet I'm not spending a minute of my time daydreaming of warm sunny beaches, tenured teaching jobs, or of winning the lottery.

Why? We're going to France. Yes France.
And we're going to stay a while. A long while. A year, a year and a half, maybe more.

Ian's sister has offered him a job renovating a farmhouse she owns in Burgundy. And he, we, said "yes." Yes, yes, yes.... YES! OUI!

It's a big job. The house is really run down. It's a big move. We're overwhelmed by the details. We need to rent our house, apply for Visas and British passports for the kids, refinance our house, and enroll Esther and Isla in school. Oh yea, and we need to learn French.

Well I need to learn French. Ian' already speaks it and everyone assures me the girls will be spouting French phrases in no time. I'll be the only sad sack with the crusty adult brain crying in my red wine and talking to all my Facebook friends (We better get internet access) because I can't speak the language.

Yet, still, I'm feeling remarkably giddy. One step above it all. There's nothing quite so powerful as the knowledge that your day to day life is going to take a turn to the unpredictable. The scenery is going to change, in our case drastically, the sounds, sights smells, and even the language we use to communicate with those around us will be different.

And different is good in my book.

This isn't entirely new news. We've been sitting on it for several months now, but it has recently become more real, more mind-blowingly scary/titilating than ever before.

While we don't have plane tickets in hand, we're shooting for mid March.
Foremost in my mind, other than how the heck are we going to find a good, trustworthy renter in two months, is: If French women don't get fat, do American women living in France, frequenting the Boulangerie and dipping into the Burgundy, not get fat either?

I'm still writing, but not talking about France, yet, shhhh!, over here.

27 comments:

momma's heart said...

Oh, it all sounds wonderful! I admire your talent so much!

Will you live with his sister? Or in the fixer upper while he works on it? I can't wait to see the pictures!

Joy said...

Wow, Betsy! I'm so excited for you and THRILLED beyond words for your girls! I've been following you since the first week on Babycenter, when Isla was so small, and I can't wait to hear every detail of your new adventure, which means more posting on numbmum (hint,hint :)

To follow me, you can go to your blogger dashboard (by clicking on the orange B in your upper left corner). The first tab under Reading List is Blogs I'm Following. Hit the ADD button at the bottom left, type in my URL (blaserkids.blogspot.com), then it will ask you if you want to follow publicly or anonymously, then you click Follow. :)

Oh, great picture too! Is that where you currently are, or where you're going? What will happen to the pony with the frozen lashes?!

Brooke Groelle said...

Wowza!!!
That one threw me for a loop.
How freaking exciting!!!
I love it... get the heck out of dodge for a while ;)
You guys will do great!!!!!

Betsy said...

Yes, we will live in the house while it's being renovated. (The sister lives in England.) But there's two buildings. The outbuilding you can see, will be turned into a guest house, then we can move in there while Ian does the main house. That's how it's supposed to go, at least.
Yes,the picture is from France.

Steph said...

That's fantastic, Betsy! How exciting! I hope you'll keep writing so we can live vicariously through you! Bon chance!

Emilyplays said...

Wow! What fabulous news! I am so excited for you! Wait, take me with you!! An adventure in the french countryside, just the thing to ride out our slippery economy! Oh, please do keep us posted with your adventures in France. I need to live vicariously. I think remodeling in France sounds so much more interesting than remodeling here! Maybe I can just pretend I'm in France while mudding walls.
Esther will have some amazing memories of this period in her life! What a lucky girl!

Jolyn said...

Oh my goodness, I was soooo sad for you, and then so excited! Just saw a headline earlier today about how people losing their jobs were saying it ended up being a blessing ... you will look back on this as an incredible, life-changing experience, for the whole family. You can't buy the cultural experience and perspective that your daughters will gain.

Alevin and Company said...

Moving to France-I have to say I am a wee bit jealous!

As for the language, my sister-in-law is a Spanish teacher and had a required study abroad. My brother, of course, went with her to Chile for that year, though he spoke not a word of Spanish. Not one. Needless to say, he came back bilingual. He was 23 at the time. You will do great.

Mrs. Jacqueline said...

That's so freakin cool!!! I want to see pictures lady :)

I've always wanted to live in Europe! Keep us posted so that I can live vicariously through you, LOL!

Evenspor said...

An adventure! How exciting. It will be a great experience for your girls, I'm sure. If you need to know where to send the European chocolate, let me know...

Kingsmom said...

Holly hell! That is fantastic and scary and yet even more fantastic. Best of luck on all the preparation and then the actual journey. What an opportunity. I hope you will write a lot about the experience. Oh, yeah...and drink a lot of wine!

LisaTaz said...

What an adventure, Betsy! I also followed you here from BabyCenter and I'm looking forward to getting updates from your new life. Your girls are going to have such great memories! I have always wanted to do something like this, but am too mired in my day to day life and, let's face it, fear, to do anything about it. The best we'll probably do is vacations to interesting places. Good luck to you!

Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

Holy buckets. I came here expecting a post on cold, post Christmas blues, or maybe squabbling children and here you are moving to FRANCE? WOW! AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MT said...

Hurray, hurray! I am so happy for you, and the girls, and for Ian. Can you imagine the effect of him having "international renovation of centuries old farmhouse in the Burgundy wine region of France" in his portfolio!!!!! You are social enough to learn French pretty quickly. The girls will remember this for the rest of their lives. If you need any tips or help from Geneva, let me know. My husband went wine tasting in that region just a few weeks ago. Sounds so fancy, but that is what you will soon be doing too!!!!

Betsy said...

Perhaps I can just speak German until I find someone else who can too.
We've been wanting to take the kids to a foreign-speaking country for some time now but, like most people, could never get past the "where" and the "how."This opportunity fell out of the sky and into our laps. We're very lucky. And just crazy enough to seize the opportunity, come what may. Thanks to all for your blessings.

kristina said...

Hi Betsy, I'm so excited for you. This is a wonderful opportunity for your whole family. I hope you'll write about it. So happy for you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! What an exciting time for you! We live in Prague, have been here for 3.5 + years, and I love the fact that my husband took the Max to the castle for an art exhibit today! And though both boys go to the English/British school, their classmates are from all over the world. Love it ~ much different than the States and they will have some wonderful experiences. You will have some rough "i hate france/french days" ... but you probably know that. Keep us posted at babycenter (where i usually check in with you)
sharon - in prague

Liz said...

Wow -- what an exciting adventure! I read your post yesterday and just can't get it off my mind. I cannot imagine making a change like this, but I am thrilled for your family and know it will be wonderful time for all of you.

meowmie said...

So exciting - fantastic news!

meowmie said...

Woo hoo! That's fantastic! So exciting! (Can you feel the exclamation marks all the way from Australia? LOL)

Looking forward to reading all about this.

Jen said...

All best wishes for this adventure! I'm an American currently living in Germany with my family, but just for 4 months. Your girls will definitely be fluent speakers in no time! You might check out the book The Family Sabbatical Handbook by Elisa Bernick if you haven't yet.

abrown925 said...

That is an exciting endeavor. I'll pray some great renters come your way!

Betsy said...

ooo, thanks, Jen. I haven't heard of that book but will check it out, pronto.

C. said...

Good luck Betsy, I live about 2 hours from Burgundy in Geneva and have been loving living the European experience for the past 3 years. Burgundy is gorgeous (you must get to Beaune). My 5-year old son learned to speak French in about a year. Seize the day and every opportunity you and your family have to drink in Europe!

Clare said...

What a wonderful experience for you all! I live in France, in a much less pretty part, up north near Belgium. I've been here for 10 years (Australian by birth), and my 3 kids were all born here. The 2 older ones are bilingual, and it's absolutely amazing how fast they learn!! I'm sure you'll find the move a bit of a shock at first, but there are lots of great things about living in France - unfortunately, many of them are high in calories!!! There's a great book called "Almost French", which is written by an Australian who came to France and stayed for love (my own story!), and is a great laugh. I can't wait to read about your new adventures - who knows, maybe our paths will cross... I'm also a French teacher if that helps :)
Good luck!

tdlep said...

Betsy, that is fantastic news! I have been reading your posts over at Babycenter since you first started. We have been thinking about moving abroad, too. It's a challenge for us to overcome the inertia when we would need to figure out how to find a job outside of the U.S. before we could make that kind of move. I have been craving change and love this line you wrote, "There's nothing quite so powerful as the knowledge that your day to day life is going to take a turn to the unpredictable." I am so inspired!

Kim Moldofsky said...

Wow, Betsy. I saw your teaser on Facebook, but wow. What an adventure. My unemployed husband and I are snarling at each other, so I'm glad you're laughing. You will need a sense of humor for your new adventures. But, oh my the adventures you will have. I can't wait to live vicariously through you.