The focus of life in France is very much one of family being first and foremost. In England, family life was so busy and hectic, fitting in work, school, clubs, social occasions, football and golf left little time to just sit down, relax and be together. My own personal daily life has changed dramatically. I’ve gone from working in a busy school, juggling this with children, housework, ironing and friends to taking a much easier role helping Ian with his Admin, working from home. I still have to do the ironing though!
Another thing I’m trying to adapt to is that the girls now call us Mama and Papa, the traditional French ‘Mum and Dad’. Its cute, I like it, but very different. I am trying to integrate with other parents but with a language barrier it is not always the easiest thing to do. Fortunately for me we have met lots of new friends, mainly English people, but these families are in a very similar position to us and we find ourselves drawn to each other. Christmas came and went quickly but it was not short of parties and invitations out, the girls too making new friends, English and French. Without our neighbours, Jane and Lee, it would have been much more difficult as they have helped a lot by introducing us to their friends, who in turn introduced us to their friends and so on! New Years Eve saw 30 people at our house, who’d have thought! These lovely friends alongside a fantastic Facebook group I was introduced to, Mums Space France, has made me feel more than welcome and offers a wealth of information and support. Coffee mornings are due to start soon, although will probably also involve some cake. Well why not.
There are things I miss a lot. I did not realise just how much I would miss my daily hectic life, well some of it! I do think that Ian has it a little easier as he does get to go back to England once a month, but with the children in school I cannot simply up and leave them!
I miss all the mums at school and the 15 minutes of nattering every morning surrounded by children running in every direction. I am lucky though as I have a lovely neighbour who I do see at the school bus drop off so I’m not totally alone! In France I get to pick Evie and Isabelle up. This was usually Ian’s job back in England as I finished work later so this is a plus!
Heather and Joanne, oh how I miss you 2 lovelies, my 2 best friends at work! Our daily gossips in the staff room and hysterical classroom antics brightened every day. Who knew you could become an expert tree cutter outer! Heather will sympathise with me on that! Or the time we kept a stash of doughnuts in our stock room; all the things we realised we needed from there on that afternoon! I miss the doughnuts…..
Whilst I love my 2 girlies very much, something else I miss is having ‘date nights’ with Ian. Its not so easy to find a babysitter in the middle of France when family are 850 miles away! Saying that we do find time to pop out for lunch at our favourite restaurant nearby and I suppose I’m no longer a golf widow!
We are headed back to England mid February and I’m already booked in with my 2 favourite school teachers for a girlie meal out. We have a meal booked at our favourite place, The Parkers Arms, where we held our wedding in August and a meal out for Ian’s birthday, just the 2 of us. Plenty of socialising planned and the chance to catch up with friends and family; I am very much looking forwards to it! With Ian having to go back to England once a month, I do find myself on my own quite a lot. It makes for long lonely days when the girls don’t get home from school until almost 5pm, so its not all fantastic in France, but its quite close.
Mum out 🙂