Today marks six months of us living abroad in France. We definitely miss the United States for many reasons, but we’re not going back anytime soon. December is the deadline to when we can renew our visas, and if we can find a place to live in Nice, we will stay longer for another six months. There is also the possibility that we may decide to live somewhere else for that duration. Everything is all uncertain right now, but we plan on being back to the states in early June 2014. We will return to Seattle for our belongings and make the move to San Luis Obispo, California.
By living in France, we truly have come to appreciate the culture and things we have at home. Sure, there are still some things we dislike about the states, but we’ve come to really appreciate and miss what we had at home. We realized we were spoiled with the abundance of health foods and ability to travel with ease when we wanted. We miss being able to communicate with people, and I’m not talking with just friends, but everyday communication, like being able to express yourself or ask something easily. It’s tough not being able to speak fluently in a different language. Aside from the language barrier, the smoking has been really bad here and we can’t tolerate it any longer. If we do decide to come back early it would be because of this. We can only hope Nice is really better, but seeing that smoking is (has become) a cultural thing here, we are slightly pessimistic. Aix-en-Provence for the first month was a lot better than Paris in terms of smoking, but over the last two weeks it has worsened. We are breathing in smoke more regularly now, and although it is a little better than Paris, what is not is the dog excrement. It is worse here, which makes our walks around town unpleasant. The combination of urine, feces, sewer, and cigarette smoke makes it disgusting and we are glad to leave soon. We really only have three weeks left before we make our next move to Nice, and we are happy to be spending a week of it in Rome.
We had previous plans of hiking and exploring Provence as a whole while here, but that plan failed. The reason being is that all the hiking we wanted to do is closed for the summer, and traveling around here is very limited without a car. We would have rented a car, except the cost to do so is ridiculous. To us it wasn’t worth it and we would rather save the money for a plane ticket to travel outside of France. And sure, we will be renting a car to drive to Nice, but that is a necessity for us. That said, our explorations have been limited to Aix. It wasn’t what we expected, but at least we can look forward to some outdoor activities in Nice.
We do believe Nice will be better, and we look forward to living next to the sea. But overall, we realized France is not the place for us and we probably won’t come back here unless for a good reason. Don’t get us wrong, we have enjoyed living abroad. People have been extremely kind and it hasn’t been all bad. We can debunk the rumors of the French being unkind to Americans from our experience. And we love being so close to other European countries, but we aren’t particularly fond of living in France. Traveling is one of the main reasons why we are staying a little bit longer so we can complete our list of places to visit in the future before heading to Seattle and California. A couple of the places we want to visit is better to do so in spring than in winter, and we simply don’t have the time to visit those places right now. With the move and Nick having to work, he just can’t take too many days off every month.
I won’t go into grueling details about everything, but in short I think I’ve made my point across. If we were to do this again, we will choose wisely on a place for our sojourn, because living in a place is surely different from visiting. You don’t realize what you have until you don’t have it anymore, and we are so grateful for the things we have at home. So, we have another six months to a year before we go home, but in the meantime we are looking forward to Nice and traveling some more.