Despite all our planning and research there was one issue that really concerned us, would our move to France prove socially isolating? During our house hunting there was one thing on the list that was non-negotiable, we did not want to be in a remote location. It was easy to be tempted by gorgeous properties with stunning views and we'd say to each other ‘3 kilometres isn’t that far to a boulangerie ‘ but we remained resolute. For practical reasons we knew a village or small town would be better, Andrew needs a reliable internet connection to work. But primarily we knew that we had more chance of integrating and improving our language skills if we could talk to people everyday.
We officially arrived on 1st December last year. Within a few days we met an English couple who took us under their wing, through them we met the Belgian owners of Le Parc de 4 Saisons who, even though they had only met us once, invited us to their New Year’s Eve dinner party. Daily walks with our labradoodle Mortimer meant villagers became familiar with us and there are daily small conversations.
When our part time neighbours arrived for a holiday break we were immediately asked to join them for aperos (and thanks to FaceBook group French Focus Friends for all their help on that one!). They spoke no English but we spent a lovely evening with them. Last weekend when we celebrated Andrew’s birthday with an apero soirée, there were 18 guests, French, Belgian and English (only five) and none of these people we had known on the 30th November.
Of course we have been making an effort as well. When I saw a neighbour receiving a log delivery I knocked on their door to get an introduction to their log supplier. I met a sprightly 70 plus gentleman who now visits every couple of weeks for a coffee, and always brings us a dozen fresh eggs. Conversation can be tricky but we always get there, and there is always laughter. At Christmas I took mince pies to the lovely staff at theMairie and the bank, both of which still have the snowflake that I decorated the parcels with, hanging on their respective noticeboards.
So what was the event this morning? At 10.30 an unknown lady rang the door bell. We had noticed that the detached house which had remained shuttered since we've been here had become inhabited over the weekend, it sort of backs onto our garden (you can see it in the photograph). At our front door was Jo, the occupant, who had come to introduce herself and invite us to aperos tomorrow. So are we lonely? Certainly not!
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