Expat tales from France: Grand-Mère dans la Boîte. When 68 year old Debby Bine decided to have a fresh start in life and leave the US for France, she had to figure out a way to keep in touch with the family she’d left behind…
In 2013 I moved to France. That’s probably no big deal since people move here every day. The idea of leaving Beaufort, South Carolina to live in France however, had never really entered my mind. That is until I made a return visit to Uzes, a fairytale town in the south of France. My first view of the quaint, medieval village was for only one day. The Saturday market was on and it was love at first sight. I knew I would return.
When I came back three years later, I knew I had to live here. Now my dream has come true. Better yet, I live in a tower apartment in this magical land, just like Rapunzel.
It took a long time to get to this place in my life: a 40-year marriage and divorce; two children; PTA president; stay-at-home-mom; a long corporate career. That’s a lot to cram into one lifetime and still have the nerve to take on a new life.
When my mind was made to move to France, it took only three months to get here. That included selling all my earthly possessions except for a small storage locker I left behind; applying for and getting a long-stay visa; and arranging all the details involved in relocating to France.
It makes me gasp to think of doing it again today, but it can be done. It just takes guts and determination. The point is, obstacles will always be in your way. There will always be something or someone that you feel is holding you back. But if you’re not happy where you are, do something about it.
“Why can’t you be like other Moms,” my son said lately. He’s having a bit of an adjustment with my living so far away. “I never have been like anyone else, and never will be. You should be proud of that,” I replied. He is, he says. He’s proud that I am enjoying this part of my life. Yet he wants me to be closer to his family and my first grandchild. “I’ll fix that,” says me to myself. I’ll be “Grand-Mère dans la Boîte” (Grandma in the Box).
Every week I talk to my infant grandson on Skype. He seems to see me and he responds. If not for Grand-Mère dans la Boîte my new grandson could have been one of the reasons I would have backed down on my plans.
My “runaway” story seems to encourage others. I hope so. If you’re not where you want to be, dig deep inside of yourself. Are the obstacles in your life real, or are they hiding the fact that it’s really you, afraid to make a change? As they say, “Get a grip.”
At age 68+, my life as an energetic, healthy person is growing short. Wasting time is not an option. Every last minute will be the best.
Remember this: you come in alone, you go out alone. Follow your bliss.