Mov­ing di­ary

With her hus­band com­mut­ing reg­u­larly to the UK for work, Fiona Flint of­ten finds her­self alone at home in France, but thanks to her French neigh­bours she knows she’s not on her own

Living France - - Contents - Fiona Flint moved to a small ham­let in Haute-Garonne with her hus­band An­drew in 2017

Fiona ex­plains how her French neigh­bours have be­come good friends

So, I know that I’ve men­tioned a cou­ple of my fears about mov­ing to France be­fore (the lan­guage, hav­ing a baby in a for­eign coun­try, etc.), but I’m not done yet – there are more! A big con­cern was know­ing that I would be spend­ing a lot of time on my own (or with a baby, who, while very cute, cur­rently has lit­tle con­ver­sa­tional abil­ity and isn’t much help with the chores), as my hus­band com­mutes reg­u­larly to Lon­don for work. It struck me that this might also be a con­cern for some of you who are de­cid­ing whether to make the move, so I thought I’d let you know how I’m get­ting on.

It’s cer­tainly been chal­leng­ing at times, par­tic­u­larly spend­ing my first two weeks in France alone due to my hus­band’s work sched­ule. I had to set up the in­ter­net and phone, get car in­sur­ance, and deal with a bro­ken boiler. This was all done with­out a land­line, and with a very poor mo­bile phone sig­nal, mean­ing that the mid­dle of the lawn (where I could get sig­nal) be­came my office, come rain or shine. This was swiftly fol­lowed by my ar­riv­ing home one day to find that there had been a power cut and the elec­tric gate wouldn’t open. In ad­di­tion, my car en­gine was over­heat­ing and I was run­ning late for a mid­wife ap­point­ment. How­ever, strangely, it has been at th­ese times that I have felt least alone, be­cause my neigh­bours have been all too will­ing to come to my aid with­out me even hav­ing to ask.

The com­mu­nity in which we’ve found our­selves has made a great dif­fer­ence to our way of life here. Not a week goes by when at least one neigh­bour doesn’t pop in just to check if I need any­thing. I’ve had so many of­fers of babysit­ting, as well as peo­ple vol­un­teer­ing to do my food shop­ping for me.

We’ve also shared many apéri­tifs with our neigh­bours, and that has cer­tainly gone down well with my hus­band!

The good news is that it would ap­pear that this sort of ex­pe­ri­ence is not un­usual. I’ve met sev­eral ex­pats here and have heard many sim­i­lar sto­ries. If you’re will­ing to get in­volved in your lo­cal com­mu­nity, it’s cer­tainly my ex­pe­ri­ence that you’ll get great sup­port from them in re­turn. I’m so grate­ful for this, and I know I will only value it more and more as our fam­ily grows.

Out and about with baby Flint in tow

Fiona feels sup­ported by the ru­ral com­mu­nity

Pop­ping out for bread

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