Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day Three.

I have moved to France, alone with my children, to live with my inlaws. My husband will follow in time, but for now he still lives in South London, fixing up the house that we thought we'd live in for a decade but which we actually outgrew emotionally within two years. Times are strange.

The girls and I flew to Languedoc on Saturday after 24 hours spend mostly crying about the impending move. I'd been so excited about getting out of fucking south London that I forgot I was leaving Nye behind for 18 days, that in nine years the longest we've been apart for was nine days and that the girls won't see him for a further week, having spending most of their waking hours with him for four and a half years. The reasons I had for thinking that this wouldn't be a big deal escape me right now. It's a big deal.

We are settling. It's now (...counts it out on my fingers...) Tuesday. We've done three days and three nights. The girls start l'ecole maternelle (nursery) tomorrow and although I have no idea what that will comprise of (because I still don't speak a damn word of French*) we are all excited and looking forward to this next, huge, milestone. We visited the nursery on Monday and it seemed very sweet, smaller and more structured that our nursery in London, which was what I think is described as 'child-led' (the French are not led by children.) There were tiny desks in rows and hand-writing exercises on the walls. I can't help but recoil at the shock my children will get when they realise that 'nursery' is not a standardised thing, that it will not be simply what they already know but with new children. But then again perhaps they won't recoil, I hear that children are more adaptable than adults, less thrown by things being different. Here's hoping.

Other things that are happening; I am being kept awake every night by a god damn frog that lives in the pond outside my bedroom door. It is raining in biblical proportions. I have no idea which of the six types of flour is the right one for making cakes. French toothpaste tastes funny. We have yet to catch a wild boar. And to learn the French for 'where is the lightsaber shop so we can buy one to kill the wild boar which we are going to catch and make into dinner because wild boar is just hairy pig and pigs make bacon, did you know?'

*not true. I can invite someone to dine with me and then tell them 'I'm sorry but it's not very comfortable for me like that.' The language course I've been using is clearly catering to a more sociable traveller than me.


  1. Gorgeous pictures, as ever. Missing you even more than before xxx

  2. My husband, son and I have just made the move from the UK to the USA, so it'll be interesting to follow your journey in France as you settle in. It looks so peaceful and serene there.

  3. I admire you so much for doing this moving alone with the child. Since I have been reading this hole moving to france and the girls going to nursery, I keep wondering, the girls know some french? or how are they going to communicate with the other kids?


  4. Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful pictures, but more of all your fears and worries. I think you are so strong for doing this and your daughters are lucky to have parents who listen to themselves ! Also, as a French person, I cannot help but think that the transition is going to be okay for your kids and your family :)

  5. I really hope that you will hang out with me when you are next in Scotland. xx

  6. we believe in you! try to be gentle with yourself about not realizing that the time apart would be such a Big Deal - my guess is that you had to use everything you had within you to get to France with the littles, so there wasn't a lot left over for thinking about that - it's okay. You will be okay. And (having worked at an English-dominant nursery with many children who did not speak English) rest assured that the A & E will be okay. It may be a bit of an adjustment stylistically but the language stuff will resolve itself before you know it. Keep breathing!! We are all sending you good vibes here in Internet-land!

  7. What an adventure! I did it twelve years ago, to Italy, and the hardest part is persuading myself that the new adventure that I have to face, with my sons happily bilingual and bi-cultural and casting off to new destinations, is NOT moving! At least I can read about other adventures and feel that wonderful vicarious thrill, thank you for the wonderful photos and headlong prose.


play nice.