Back to our Future
Only 18 days and counting! It’s almost time for our return trip to La Belle France. This will be our opportunity to decide if retiring there in two years is really the right move. We are traveling more as researchers than tourists and though we will certainly enjoy the sights, our minds will be more focused on discerning what life might be like living in France every day.
Our last trip in 2012 gave us a broad perspective of the country and its diversity. Based on that experience and much research into various regions, we have narrowed our search to southwestern France which among other things in its favor boasts a climate similar to that of the Bay Area. We are flying to Bordeaux by way of Amsterdam where we will pick up a brand-new Peugeot that will be ours for the duration of our eight week stay. It is imperative to have a car in order to explore beyond the limits of tourism and public transportation. We will travel to eight different locations in the Poitou-Charante and Aquitaine regions staying in most for a week at a time. Our accommodations range from townhouses to gîtes and country homes that are generally larger and roomier (by French standards) than those on our previous vacation. Some are located in cities or towns while others are in the suburbs or completely out in the country. Our goal is to try on a variety of living situations and see how they fit. Granted each one will only be for a short period of time, but at least we will have some real life experience that will contribute to making decisions and plans for our future.
As for speaking French, we have made a concerted effort to study and improve our skills over the past year and are much better prepared to make our best effort to communicate in French. In addition to the fact that he has more time than I do to study, Norman’s musicial ear makes it much easier for him to differentiate the sounds between Spanish and French — a task that’s made more difficult for me due to the fact that I teach Spanish all day long every day. Since they are both Romance langauges (as in derived from Latin spoken by the Romans — not necessarily romantic), it does give us some advantage to be fluent in Spanish. As ever, I remain the grammarian and Norman takes on the role of communicator. Nevertheless, I am determined to get out there and delve into some, albeit simple, French conversation. Immersion is the key. There’s only so much you can learn in a void.
We’d like to invite you to join us on this adventure back to France — potentially our future home. Meanwhile, if you are new to following this blog, please take a look at our previous posts via the Archives on this page where you can get caught up with our past adventures and find more information about how we’ve arrived at this juncture in our lives.