A year on

Here we are, in France and already we've celebrated our one year anniversary of living here or our Franceaversary as my husband calls it. Well that year flew past in a haze of paperwork, tears, new adventures, joy, laughter, exploration and doubt. It's the one thing that is most difficult to reconcile - the doubt. Both my hubby and I have had it. We've both wondered if we made the right choice for us as a couple, as a family and for our children whether furry or human.

Arguably the dogs have settled in the best. Apart from the heat over summer they enjoy our life here. Lots if interesting smells, new dogs to bark at and exciting animals to chase like lizards and wild boar. (At this moment I should point out that no lizards or wild boar have been captured or even caught.) Our whippet cross loves the lizards and he pursues them into the bushes where they escape and walk round behind him whilst his head is still in the bush and he has no idea - it's hilarious!

Some things have been incredibly frustrating such as trying to sort all the paperwork for our medical stuff so we don't have to pay as much. We're still waiting for various bits of paperwork and there's nothing we can do! Plus getting to grips with the different systems for paying for stuff is tricky. We were used to loads of direct debits whether for kids clubs or household bills. Here it's a lot if cheques still or lump sums rather than spreading the cost over time. Someone said living in France is like living in the eighties but with the internet. It's quite true.

Then there's the weather. We knew that moving from Bristol to the south of France would bring about a change in the weather. Not only was summer hot (especially with that crazy heatwave when people in France were advised to stay indoors between 11am and 9pm!) but autumn is short and snow is an event to behold, especially in the mountains. But the most spectacular weather we've experienced since being here are the thunderstorms. I've never felt so close to a storm before. One night, at 2am, a rumble of thunder shook the house so much I was convinced it was an earthquake! Another time I was driving on the motorway and lightening struck the road 10 meters from my car! Now I know that I was in a Faraday cage so was safe but it made me jump out of my skin.

The kids are being amazing. The eldest is completely fluent in French, talks with a thick southern accent and tells us how to pronounce everything. She is our go-to translator. She is working really hard in her final year of primary education and is reading everything she can. Sometimes she forgets to get dressed in the morning because she's reading. Since being here she's taken up horse riding and absolutely loves it! She's also resumed dance lessons which I'm chuffed about.
The boy is the one who says most frequently that he misses England. He had some good friends there and still feels the language is a barrier. Occasionally I hear him talking French and he's fine! He thinks he's not as good as his big sis but he's just not as confident in it. Truthfully he's doing really well. He's taken up new activities too - he not only roller skates (and is about to move up to competition level) but he has started dance lessons too. I'm so proud of him as he was so scared of being the only boy (which he is) but that didn't stop him.
As for the smallest one well she's just fine. She is now at maternelle (pre-school) and really loves it. Her teacher is kind enough to speak some English to here and help her learn French. She's adapting really well and following the big kids' lead.
I feel we've done our parenting job well as the kids are heading off on an adventure everyday and (I hope) finding life fun.

Now the kids are settled my hubby and I are starting to expand a little. He's playing badminton locally and I'm still looking for a choir having not found the right fit yet. But these things take time and we have friends both here and in the U.K. so that helps. We still miss everyone loads but are happy we're here. It's working out....I think.

See ya soon, lovely peeps.

PS 3 out of these 4 photos were actually taken in Germany on holiday this year. Can you spot the old Wrap the Kids in Crochet sign? It's taken me a while to do this post.
Time to put the kettle on methinks.