B: I really can’t understand how I’m going to get through the next 8 or 10 months when I feel like I’m already out there in our French house. The one we haven’t even found yet.
J: It will be January and then April before I’ve had chance to feel impatient again. I’m going to continue having bursts of Ariege fever punctuated by being consumed by the renovation.
B: There are so many moments where the only answer to a question or a situation is, ‘Sod that, I’m moving to France!’ – except I have to say something else or nothing at all.
J: I daydream about being asked our reasons for moving to France, and I hear myself respond, ‘There’s every reason to, and not one reason not to’. Is that going to feel insulting to those we’re leaving behind?
B: When I think like that all I want to do is list the shit we’re going to dodge, to not have to make our kids go through – ‘Excuse me, the NHS is going down the bedpan and the education system is led by ideological sabotage and everyone’s miserable and looking for the answer but they don’t want to know that the answer is to leave!’
J: I feel myself missing the spaces within our home already. How much of the feel of this house is down to us? I have to keep reminding myself our things will be coming with us so we can recreate our cosy nest in France. We can even lay out the rooms the same way.
B: There’s so many ways that this house and taking on this huge risk has shaped me and made such formative memories for our family, but I always come back to the knowledge that this is a good thing, that we’ll have such wonderful memories, and that this dream we’re living now will never be tainted by the drawbacks we know we’d face if we stayed.
J: I’m jealous of the people who will get to enjoy this house after we’ve gone. At the same time, I can’t believe my own mind, when I say in my head to myself, that we are moving to France. How can we be moving to France?
B: I still get that fistbiting feeling when we talk about it. I remember at the beginning, realising we could do this if we wanted to, just turning and saying to you ‘We’re going to do this, aren’t we? We’re really going to move to France!’. I don’t know if it’ll ever truly sink in what we’re doing, or the fact that WE CAN do it, that it’s totally up to us.
J: Every day or so one of us thinks of a new perk of living in France. Today it was French theme parks. One medieval knight themed park, and remembering of course Disneyland Paris. I bet we’ll be in reach of some amazing water parks in Spain.
B: I always keep thinking about the air, the crisp chill against the heat of the sun, and waking up on a gorgeous sunny day and opening the shutters to the blue sky and just feeling so unfettered to what is otherwise thought of, fundamentally, as the normal daily life experience.
J: I befriend the local aged eccentrics. They coo over the kids, and love the attention I give them. Just a quick chat in a shop or five minutes on the pavement. A smile or a wave. Will that happen in France or will the language barrier stop such interaction, such connection?
B: I used to really worry about the language, not enough to make it a problem or reason to stay where things are English and easy, language-wise, but just because talking is so important to me! But I feel now that we’ll be so connected to what’s going on around us and we’ll throw ourselves into it so fully that we will soon get comfortable, and one day maybe even fluent.
J: Being told we’re lucky is one of the biggest insults we anticipate around the corner. One we’ve already experienced. Yet I feel incredibly lucky and ask outwardly from my centre, how did I get so lucky? I look back at the turning points in my life, those decisions I took that changed the course of my existence. How different it could have been, so many times. Ben was the key. Meeting Ben changed everything.
B: The weirdest thing is how normal it’s all started to feel, how much I feel we already know where we want to be. How actual it is that we are going to do this thing. And yet at the same time how ridiculous it feels. In one moment I can be StreetViewing the drive into Castillon and really be there, already, when in the next I’m looking at Jen because surely, surely something about this is silly and we’ll just give it up and realise we’ve been fooling ourselves for so long about it being possible to do something so different. But that’s the root of this whole endeavour. It is possible. It’s in our hands. And though there are risks, we’re not blind and we’re not stupid. And we’ve already boshed this place. We’ve actually already taken on the biggest risk, financially, of our lives by pursuing the dream that we’re already living now. Moving to France is less of a risk than staying here.