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Michelle: An Opportunity That Couldn’t Be Ignored

If someone had said to me four years ago that I'd be moving from Canada to a small town in France, I’d have laughed hysterically and thought them mad. Despite what I was experiencing at the time, it’s no exaggeration to declare that never in a million years would I have dreamt of moving here, despite what I was experiencing at the time.

What those closest to me didn’t realise then was the real depth of my struggle with... call it the start of the classic “mid-life crisis” or self-discovery (the epic Elizabeth-Gilbert type). Suffice to say, I'd come to a point where, after endless false starts and failed attempts, I felt the universe was trying to tell me something, only I didn’t know what; I became distressed, developing chronic back pain and high blood pressure.

The turning point came when my (now ex-) boyfriend began talking about moving to France, and I thought, “Why not?”. Not only was I undaunted by such a huge move (due to the numerous ones I'd undergone with my family as a child), but this drastic action seemed to me to be something I couldn’t NOT do.

As word spread about my decision, two camps formed amongst friends and family: the first one held admirers calling me brave and, in the other, skeptics resided. The latter felt that I was blithely making a life-altering mistake by moving to a foreign country not knowing anyone with language skills that were equivalent to a rusty high-school level.

To those who admired me, I chafed at their sentiment and felt like a fraud for being labelled “brave” because, truthfully, I felt that my choice of direction at this juncture were as though the hands of fate were ushering me that way – and none too gently. Nor, contrary to the other side, was it a rash move on my part. Being a somewhat staunch planner, I had a plan and a back-up plan, based on a worst-case outcome.

With my decision made, it was time to set things in motion. On my scouting trip in April 2015, I was fortunate to meet Marie Lyne, co-owner of the B&B where I stayed. Having driven solo to their door never having been in France before (save for three days in Paris), a GPS as my guide, with a handful of prearranged appointments, and speaking only basic French, Marie Lyne thought I was insane. But, again, fate played a huge role here because, not only are we great friends today, she was the one who found the quaint house I currently live in.

Throughout this ongoing journey, I continue to discover many things, not least of which how resilient I truly am (still not to be confused with being brave). For, having come out the other side of my past struggle, I now have a renewed sense of happiness, confident that things will continue to lead me in this new-found direction.

 

For Michelle, moving abroad, while not planned, was a relatively easy choice as she already spoke the language and had the necessary passport. Still, that didn’t make the initial adjustment period any easier, as knowing the basics of a language and speaking it fluently enough to make close friends is very different! But this pushed her out of her comfort zone and made her a more self-reliant person. Overall, relocating to France has led to her enjoying life much more!


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