On Bastille Day, two years to the day since we left Quillan to return to New Zealand, and after at least a year of discussion and deliberation, we have made the decision to return to life on our favourite square, in our favourite little town in the Pyrenees. In October 2016 we will return to Quillan for (at least) four months.
The decision to return has not been an easy or straight forward one. Between work and school, there’s no ‘right time’ to move countries.
Last time, as I was on a year’s maternity leave, the question of whether to live in the sunny summer south of France or windy, wintry Wellington, was easily answered.
This time, the stakes are higher. The boys are older. It’s not so easy for them to break their New Zealand schooling. We can’t so easily ‘force’ them to move. We’re both working full-time, so financially there’s more to be lost with time off. Long leave is discretionary, and not a given. Baby Nicholas is not a baby any more and much more aware of changes in his environment.
But, life is short, and the benefits of travel are great. Sure, it’s complicated, but life is complicated. There’s no right time, but that’s the point. If we want to do it enough, we just have to make it happen.
And so, on Bastille Day, I have resigned from my job, to move to France. I am breaking out of the corporate life for a while, to do something different, to do what makes me happy. It feels good.
It’s complicated. Tom and I will go first and have two months on our own. That in itself will be a new challenge. He will go back to French school, while I plan to spend time drinking coffee, watching the world go by and writing a book about our experience. Watch this space. In late November the rest of the family will join us, when Oliver has finished his academic year at college. We’ll have a further two months there as a family.
While we were all keen and always keen, the decision to go was not always a given. We debated and dithered on timing and approach; we also dithered on destination. For many months we considered and researched whether we should try a different village for size. In the end, we kept coming back to the fact that Quillan ticks all the boxes.
What swung it for us, was the unexpected, but perfectly timed opportunity to also ‘mind’ a B&B while we are there. Right on our favourite square, this will give us a different perspective on the town, on life, the potential for a small amount of income, and the chance to get a ‘taste’ of life running that kind of business. Unsought and unplanned, when our friends put the proposition to us, it didn’t take much more than a nanosecond (or two) for us to agree,
It’s scary. It’s not been an easy decision to split the family. The stakes are high, but I am excited. There’s freedom in not knowing where the next few months may take me. Bring it on!