Mov­ing to France has given th­ese five ex­pats the chance to pur­sue their cre­ative pas­sions. finds out why it has been so re­ward­ing for them

Gil­lian Har­vey

Living France - - LIFESTYLE -


As well as a cle­ment cli­mate and more re­laxed way of life, many ex­pats find their move to France gives them some­thing far more pre­cious: time. With lower prop­erty prices, many find that they are able to live mort­gage free and be­cause of this, they are able to re­con­sider what they want to do, of­ten pur­su­ing long-held cre­ative am­bi­tions and turn­ing them into suc­cess­ful busi­nesses that are both re­ward­ing and en­joy­able. When 37-year-old Anne-Lise Bor­gen’s hus­band Gio­vanni, 39, se­cured his dream-job as a car de­signer in Paris in 2009, An­neLise had no qualms about leav­ing her job in Los An­ge­les, where they’d lived for nine years. “I was work­ing as an art di­rec­tor in ad­ver­tis­ing,” ex­plains An­neLise, “and al­though the job was chal­leng­ing, my heart wasn’t in it.”

Once set­tled, Anne-Lise found her­self with more free time on her hands than she’d had pre­vi­ously. “Al­though my job in­volved cre­ativ­ity, it was as if it sapped all my in­spi­ra­tion; I had noth­ing left,” she says. “Once I’d re­signed, my per­sonal cre­ativ­ity started to come through again – I be­gan to get ex­cited about new ideas.”

Hav­ing strug­gled with dys­lexia at school, Anne-Lise be­gan to think of ideas that would help chil­dren en­gage with let­ters. “My niece turned one around that time, and for her birth­day I de­signed some fun car­toon let­ters to spell out her name. She has dys­lexia in both sides of her fam­ily, so it’s pos­si­ble she might strug­gle with it in the fu­ture. I wanted a fun way to help her to en­gage with let­ters, rather than the stark black-and-white writ­ing we usu­ally see.”

Anne-Lise had her own rea­sons for be­liev­ing that this would help to get her niece ex­cited about read­ing. “At school, when I was strug­gling to read, my teacher sug­gested to my par­ents that I read comics,” she ex­plains. “The com­bi­na­tion of pic­tures and words helped me to en­gage with the story, and I be­gan to re­alise that I could read af­ter all! It re­ally built my con­fi­dence.”

It is that con­fi­dence and love of lan­guage that Anne-Lise hopes to in­spire in oth­ers. Hav­ing en­joyed cre­at­ing let­ters for her niece, she be­gan to ex­per­i­ment with other de­signs. Her ‘Al­fa­betika’ range of let­ters pro­vides a colour­ful

Anne-Lise Bor­gen has cre­ated a range of colour­ful

let­ters to help chil­dren learn to read

and write Learn­ing can be fun

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