Have you ever lived in another country short-term?
A few years ago when we were in California, Simon and I began to toss around the idea of living in a different city for a short period of time, like maybe a month at a time. I am perpetually intrigued by how other people live, and my time at Pepperdine lent me to wanting to return to SoCal for an extended time. I’ve semi-jokingly always told Simon since we were newlyweds that if he ever decided we could move to California, then I’d be the first one to pack up the U-Haul. But the reality of our lives is that our families are here in Oklahoma City, amongst a slew of other factors. What if we could live in, say, Malibu again, but with my kiddos, maybe for a month in the summer?
Obviously that sounds like an expensive pipe dream — and it absolutely was. I had zero clue about real estate/Airbnb/rentals and how crazy expensive they could be in Malibu, as well as in neighboring Santa Monica. Suddenly it felt discouraging, not to mention that at the time I also had Fussy Baby Archer, who was a horrific sleeper. It felt daunting to do it relatively alone, without the help of our nearby families.
So we shelved the idea, with a little bit of melancholy, occasionally tossing the idea around again from time to time. But I continue to be intrigued at the idea of experiencing a new way to live, even if only for a short term.
Fast forward to summer of 2019 when we took Jude to France for the first time. Other than Oklahoma City, I’ve spent the largest chunk of my life in France; I have extended family there and I speak the language. France feels feasible to me.
In Villefranche-sur-Mer, our hostess at the rental we found casually mentioned that typically she rents that apartment for a full month at a time, and prefers to work closely with people she knows. All of a sudden my neurons started firing. Could we do a longer-term trip? I began dreaming about being there, but this time with my whole family in tow.
Villefranche felt so good for our small family in much the same way that Carlton Landing does; it was walkable, with everything we might need (including transportation) only steps from the front door. The beach is steps from the apartment. Plus, that view – it was breathtaking. The time I’ve spent in France always feels so soul-satisfying and simple. And going for a few weeks in June was like coming home, in so many ways.
But the real nuts & bolts of it came together for me when we started crunching numbers. The price was pretty surprising — SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than anything we looked at in California. Could we do it? Is it feasible? Is that CRAZY? Can we really pick up and go to France, all four of us?
The short answer is … I think so. I’m moving the needle forward on this crazy plan to go to France next June, and socking away my pennies. It makes me nervous to plan for something so far into the future. What if something happens? What if my dream gets crushed and we don’t get to do it? It feels scary and vulnerable to me to put it out there, taking a risk on something so far in the future. Not to mention the logistics of getting all four of us there. Will Archer love it the way we do?
I think of my Mom, who loved to remind me that God loves to delight his children and that his ideas are way bigger and better than any we can come up with for ourselves. It felt like a bit of a crushed dream to not be able to make California happen. But France? France is like a far superior option where my soul sings with delight.
So we’ll see. Time will tell. But I’m dreaming big — and hoping for something amazing.
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