I am moving to France: The reality is setting in.

When I was in “obtaining visa” mode obtaining the visa is all I though about. I needed to obtain the visa, so as a result my thoughts were not as much on moving to France but on  collecting documents, saving money and learning French. Although I am still focusing on saving money and especially learning French, now that I have this work visa my thoughts have been changing.

Slowly, very slowly actually, the reality is setting in. The initial excitement came when I made the decision, but back then it was still a dream. Now it is not a dream and it is the reality and I am feeling a more dulled version of that excitement. Holy Moly! I really want to go do not get me wrong, it is just that sometimes I am a nervous freakazoid and the reality of the fear that I need to overcome in the next few months is what is causing that dulling effect.

These fears include:

  • The fear of flying
  • The fear of not having enough money
  • The fear of failing while I am there
  • The fear of not being accepted

Basically, when I review this list, these are basic fears a lot of human beings have to deal with.

What makes this situation a little perverse is that I am excited at the same time. And not just excited to go to France, but excited to overcome these fears before I go! I am excited because I am afraid. If you ever watch “How I Met Your Mother” you will know that the infamous character Barney likes to use the phrase “Challenge Accepted!” whenever someone makes a mere mention of a possibly impossible feat. When I look at that list above, I take on that same attitude: Challenge Accepted!

The only action plan so far is to chant and to avoid or brush off any comments suggesting I will fail, or any TV shoes (les emissions) that deal with crashing airplanes (When discover channel’s “Mayday” is on sometimes it seduces me in, but I will stay strong).

I am moving to France! Exciting!!!

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France, A Love Story

The title of this post is also the title of the latest book I just read.

The book is edited by Camille Cusuman but is a compilation of stories from many women, talking about their love of France.

The short stories’ authors include M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl, and Alice Kaplan, well known female writers mainly from the U.S.

Some of the tales are of woman moving to the country. They introduce life in their towns, their neighbours, and everyday tribulations.

Some stories tell of women who take a vacation and experience love with a French Man.

The book introduces the love affairs women have had with the food of France, the people, the lifestyle and the French language.

Definitely give it a read if you want first hand accounts of the life in France as a traveler.

My Mini Quebec Adventure (part 2)

Bonjour mes amis!

I am on the VIA train right now, heading home from my Quebec adventure. I have to say that my experience here far past any expectations I could have had.

I have a reader who just emailed me and said that he traveled to France and really enjoyed his time. The key to his enjoyable time was detaching himself from all expectations during the trip. This is kind of/sort of the attitude I took for my short Quebec adventure. I left my expectations behind and was committed to having a great time with Mon Homme.

All of the food in Quebec was mouth watering. We dined on typical French cuisine the entire time, sometimes splurging on a multi-coursed dinner and other times scrimping our wallets and purchasing la nourriture from the grocery store (supermarché). It was simply all délicieux.

Here is the list of the top 5 things we did:

  1. Les Chutes de Montmorency (The Montmorency Falls)- They are massive! The local transit bus “800” took us all the way there (it was around a thirty minute ride from Old Quebec). We were led from a small walking path to a huge bridge that takes you right over the falls. Honestly, we were not expecting much but they sure are impressive. We then proceeded to walk down what seemed like 2000 stairs to the bottom of the falls to get soaking wet. It was an all around awesome time!
  2. Lower Old Quebec- Little did we know until the evening of last night that Quebec has a “secret” area full of cobblestone roads and cute little shops. Most of old Quebec is built around the Chateau Frontenac, near the top of a large hill, surrounded by the walls of the historical fort. The roads are paved, there are many shops and restaurants and a lot of tourists. We had walked the streets at least ten times until I turned to Mon Homme and said “I remember that Quebec has an area with cobblestone roads”. To arrive there we had to find the staircases behind most of the main roads that took us to the lower Quebec. This area is so charming and we found our restaurant for the second night here!
  3. Shopping- I don’t know if it is completely true, but clothes and shoes just seemed cheaper. We really needed to sift through the tons of tourist shops to find the true gems, a cute dress shop, another maple syrup store, some other crafty places. If you travel here, dedicate at least one day to shopping.
  4. Eating- Go anywhere! The price range is the same for every single restaurant so just  choose one! Besides the delectable wine and beef tartar, the sausages, burgers and soups are some of the finest too!
  5. Speaking French-I am happy to report that I was able to function with the French language. It is not the same French that is used in France as the languages really evolved differently since the French settled here eons ago. But, never the less, everyone speaks only French (it really is hard to squeeze the English out of them) and I loved the feeling of being able to understand and speak.

If you are traveling to Quebec any time soon, please drop me a line and I could recommend some great places for you to visit!

Thanks for reading!

A French in Canada

Soon I will be a Canadian in France. I will have to face the challenges of speaking the language and getting a job, supporting myself, and integrating into a new culture. I will be making new friends, finding my new fav places to shop and eat and starting with only two suitcases of my stuff.

My boyfriend, being a French in Canad, shows me how some of these challenges may play out when I am in France. As he, himself, has had to go through this process when he stepped off the plane (his English was already pretty fluent though!).

He needs to obtain a internship work permit here in Canada.  He already has a job offer and yet has to wait up to 44 days for the permit to be approved! How stressful this is to wait to work for a job that has already been offered!

My lesson learned, expect to wait in France and be financially and mentally prepared for this. I will also apply as early as possible.

Liability Insurance

Ok, so I have hit another obstacle. I do not own a car or a house and therefore I do not have an insurance broker. What does this mean? I am finding it extremely difficult to find liability insurance.

Here is the liability insurance journey so far:

  • I researched where to find this type of insurance and found out that one could obtain it from the same insurance broker that you have with a car or home
  • As I do not have a car or house, I decided to ask around
  • I had a lead: Tenant’s insurance with liability. I had heard that this would probably be my only option
  • I called up a well recommended insurance company and told them the situation. They told me it would probably be no problem and to call them back when I was ready to obtain it.
  • With my appointment one month away, I decided to get this insurance set up. I called the insurance company. The gentleman asked me to give him a week to do some research and he would get back to me.
  • A week and a half went by and I heard nothing, so I called him and had to leave a message.
  • I received a message in my inbox saying that he could not provide me this insurance and as far as his research went (which sounded pretty far), no one else was willing to provide me with this insurance either.

And now here I am…

The application gives you the option of signing an affidavit stating that I will obtain liability insurance upon arrival in France. The insurance broker did recommend I do this. My only worry about this is that I would have absolutely no idea how or where to get the insurance in France. What if I ran into the same problem that I have run into here? I will email the consulate asap and tell you how it goes. Even thinking about this gets my tummy flipping a little with nervousness.

The other option is to get my aunt to call her insurance company and add me into her plan with liability (I live with my aunt). I will do this asap as well.

I hope I will shortly have this problem sorted out.

If you know anything about this topic, or have been through the same situation, please let me know!

Thanks!

Books On France

I have been itching to get my hands on some awesome books that detail life in France. I am way more interested in hearing about real people’s experiences than a fictional character’s story, but both will do.

I was completely inspired after walking into the library in my neighbourhood last November (shortly after Mon Homme et moi started dating) and finding “My Life in France” on display. This is the novel about Julia Child’s life in France as she tells it to author, Alex Prud’homme. This book takes you through many regions of the country, the food, and the amazing people she meets along the way. It is definitely a winner if you want to learn more about the French life. Just a fair warning though: This book takes place quite a while ago and France has apparently modernized since then. The world is becoming more of a global playground where traditions are not worth as much value as the next dollar. I refuse to believe that France has lost most of its flavour, because if what I hear about the French is anything close to being true, these people keep preserving the culture close to their hearts. I will not be able to actually report on the truth until I experience it for myself.

I have also read a charming fictional novel written by American, Sandra Byrd called “Bon Appetit“. I have written about this one before. Because of the seemingly parallel story to my own life, I could not put it down. It is about a young woman traveling to France to study at a pastry school and work in a bakery, while trying to find love and increase her faith at the same time. It was cute and quick, exactly how I like those fiction novels. Give me a 2000 page food encyclopedia and I’ll read the whole thing in detail over time, pass me a fiction novel and I will hope for the ending the entire time!

So because my travels will be arriving in a few short months, and the reality is beginning to set in with the purchase of my plane ticket and insurance (although the visa is yet to be obtained) I am trying to get my hands on a few more great (English) books that can tickle my mind with a French experience. And because I am trying to save every single penny I have, I am extremely appreciative of the public library system in my area.

I went online to research some awesome books that really outline the culture of France, plus I asked around. The books that I have chosen are as follows:

  • France: A Love Story: Apparently a compilation of many different stories written by actual women who traveled to France and fell in love.
  • A Moveable Feast (by Ernest Hemingway): A true story about the life of Ernest Hemingway in 1920’s Paris.
  • France For Dummies: The dummies series of books are totally awesome! You can learn anything from scratch by reading these books. I know this book will outline all the key tips and tricks on navigating and fitting in with the French.

I will let you know how they go!

I ordered these books on my library’s website. They will be shipped in from a further library in a few days and I can pick them up just a couple of minutes down the street from where I live!

I am so ready to get my French on!

Thanks for reading….

Travel Anxiety Turns Into Excitement

Traveling can bring on great anxiety. This can be true for any trip, even if the trip will only last one week long.

I remember very clearly the stress my parents would always have a week before going on vacation. By the end of that week, they really proved the need for the vacation! I, myself, have traveled too and I always have that pre-trip anxiety. My mind jumps to all of the worse case scenarios: What if I forget something, what if I get stopped at the border, I don’t want to be late for the flight, did I print all the right documents? What if the airplane has a problem, what if I hate the place I am going…and more. Each thought glimpses through my mind for a few split seconds before I get distracted by another fleeting thought. Now imagine planning to go away for an entire year! This trip has the potential of bringing me great anxiety.

Tangent: Manifestation

I am choosing to go on a little tangent now, I want to talk about my little obsession with manifestation. New age pop culture has infested my mind with the idea of manifestation. I looked this word up to explain it to my FB (French boyfriend) but the dictionary definition proved unsatisfactory.

The dictionary says, “Manifest (verb): 1) to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show plainly: He manifested his approval with a hearty laugh. 2) to prove; put beyond doubt or question: The evidence manifests the guilt of the defendant. 3) to record in a ship’s manifest. (Thank you dictionary.com)

I am clearly not talking about recording a ship’s manifest. Making something clear and evident to the eye seems more accurate. I am talking about physically manifesting a situation. Thinking and feeling something so often that it comes true (literally making something evident). Creating from nothing! In the negative terms, this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Shakespeare's version of self-fulfilling prophecy in Macbeth

So, on top of all the normal anxiety I was having for the trip, I was also worried about being worried, afraid that I could physically manifest all of my worries. Until my FB said something that really changed my thinking. “If you are afraid of manifesting, why don’t you just manifest what you want instead, like a great flight and an easy travel.” It is so true! If  (and that is a strong if) I can manifest scenarios with my thoughts and feelings, than I might as well manifest good things. Positive thinking, in simpler words.

Anxiety is the same as excitement!

I have struggled with anxiety for a while and what really changed my perspective on the anxiety is when I was told that anxiety and excitement are located in the same part of the brain (do not quote me on this, I have no clue if it is true). The body’s physical response to these two feelings is identical: sweating, fast heart rate, etc. And what is so great about this little fact tidbit is that when I simply choose to switch that one negative traveling thought into a happier one, my body’s reaction is instantaneous. I feel excited!

I love feeling excited!

The idea of having to go through this challenge is now starting to really excite me. The idea of flying 30,000 feet over the Earth’s surface (going so fast!) is kind of cool. And going through the whole experience of settling for a year in a new country seems like it will be satisfying not impossible!

If my thoughts can really manifest something from nothing, than I will have a flight on the clearest day of the year, with no turbulence, arriving an hour early. I will have a job within the first two months in France, the French will love me, the visa will be handed to me no problem and all will be well.