In just two months, I’ve transitioned from a starry-eyed optimist to a legal expat in France. I can hardly believe it myself. It took my amazing friends and family’s efforts in the US and France to make it happen. I will honor your privacy and not call you out by name; however, you know who you are. I am forever grateful for your time, sweat, muscle, love, and encouragement. Honestly, I am the luckiest person in the world because of the friends and family that surround me.
So… the move started immediately after I returned from France in July.
First was the sorting out of a lifelong collection of “stuff.” Then, estate and clothing sales were held over two weekends. (Of course, I would choose July to make this move. It’s the second hottest month of the year in the Low Country of South Carolina.)
In between, the preparation and paperwork for a long-stay visa and a visit to the French consulate in Atlanta were necessary to keep things rolling along and legal.
By mid-August (THE hottest month in the Low Country), my son and friends helped me move everything out of the house in Beaufort. Some of my most precious belongings went to a small, climate-controlled warehouse space, some to my friends’ homes for safekeeping, some to consignment stores in Beaufort, and lots to my son to sell on eBay.
When I left Beaufort to say my final goodbyes to sons in Alabama and Atlanta, I was down to ONLY a carful of stuff. Oh…I should say a “rental car” full of stuff. I was in a wreck along the way, and my old, faithful Acura was declared a total loss. Actually, it was great luck. I needed to dump it anyway before my departure to France.
With my daughter-in-law’s expert help, who throws out refrigerator items according to the expiration dates, I condensed a carful of stuff to one large suitcase, one carry-on suitcase, and a backpack. OK, I must confess. My son is shipping two more 18″x18″x16″ boxes to Uzes.
After two months of exhausting work, after imposing on almost everyone I know, after eating every Southern fried food item I could stuff into my mouth. After a memorable farewell party with friends, I was on my way to my new life in France.
Fried green tomatoes and fried chicken
Whistlestop Cafe in Birmingham, Alabama, was made famous by Fannie Flag’s book and movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes.”
Landing in France
On this trip, I took the route to France through Atlanta, Toronto, Paris, and Marseilles. Initially, I planned to take a train from Paris to Nimes. However, as luck would have it, a train strike on the day I was to land in Paris was announced in time for me to change my plans. Instead of the train, I flew from Paris to Marseilles. I’m not sure I would recommend this route because Toronto has a six-hour layover. However, it did give me time to take a shuttle to the nearby Sheraton for a manicure, pedicure, and a decent meal before the long flight to Paris.
On Tuesday, September 10, I arrived in Paris, then Marseilles, France. My move-in goal is Tuesday, September 27.
My French Home. I’m an expat in France!