Life is all about making decisions. We make dozens every day. Most of them are small and largely insignificant, but others, like what country would we like to live in are a touch more life changing. Some decisions are out of our hands, but I’ve always been someone who has thought if there’s something you’re not happy about, or would like to change… well, it’s up to me to do something about it. Life’s what you make it and all that. A good friend of mine commented on social media post I made nearly a year ago, about our first impressions of French life and showing a panoramic view from our terrace, that I was a “lucky bugger”. I know exactly what he meant, especially as I spoke of feeling proudly European and knowing about his discontent with the cultural and political direction the UK was heading, post-Brexit. But, one thing I had to say was that I was anything but lucky.
Lucky is winning the lottery. Lucky is hitting a golf shot thirty yards wide of the green, rebounding off a tree, back on to the green and into the hole. Lucky isn’t leaving a job that brings you huge satisfaction, leaving a city as beautiful as Edinburgh, and leaving a family you love dearly to start a new life in a different country. A country where the language will be a problem, where earnings start from zero, and where you know literally no-one. That social media post had large notes of positivity, but as has often been the case throughout our first year, we were largely hoping that we had made the right decision to give up what was a very happy life in Edinburgh. We were very lucky in one respect, despite arriving in the midst of a French covid lockdown, to find ourselves living next door to Frank and Carole, the loveliest couple you could wish to meet who helped us in so many ways to settle in to our new life, and who continue to bring smiles.
Yesterday saw our first wedding anniversary, and next week sees one year since we arrived in France, and having just returned from ten days back in the UK where we spent wonderful time with our families, it’s safe to say it’s an emotional time for us both at the moment. Yesterday we had a fantastic meal at Hotel de France, a lovely restaurant here in Rochechouart, following a peaceful, picturesque and slightly muddy walk around the Charente lakes and an afternoon learning French online and polishing copper pans. Today has seen us spending more time with our lovely new friends. But not being able to spend time with our family when we have an overwhelming desire will never be easy. We have another trip booked back next month to spend Christmas in Edinburgh, and we can’t wait to welcome our loved ones here next Spring.
The most important thing we have is our love for each other. Life is never easy, never straightforward, and moving here has certainly been challenging at times. But, we know why we made the decision to give up so much and our lives have changed hugely in so many ways. More than ever life is indeed what we make it. We feel like we have only just dipped our toes into our new life here, that we have so much to explore and discover, and as time progresses it will bring with it more familiarity and an increased feeling of calm and happiness. Have we made the right decision in moving here? If we’re honest, we sometimes have our doubts, but one thing we were aware of before we came was that the first year would not be easy. Sometimes I can’t believe how much my life has changed, and to be living in such a beautiful town, with incredible views from our windows, and to be sharing it with the love of my life… well, maybe my friend was right. I am indeed a lucky bugger.