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
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