This morning we were out walking Heather when we stopped to talk with our neighbor, another dog walker, at the top of the street. He said with a grin that he and his wife had already looked into the closest airport to Carcassonne (you know, the one right there at the edge of town that we could walk to, if necessary) and asked if we would be missing things here. My first reaction was to look askance at him as if to say “Are you kidding?” but immediately I realised our motive for moving has never been one of escape.
We aren’t running away from something; instead we’re running to something: a better quality of life for us and Heather. One of the online forums where you can discuss life in a different country had a listing of several tips for adjusting successfully to life in France. One contributor cited the slower pace of life, the fresh fruits and vegetables markets, the friendliness of the locals and their willingness to work with his limited language skills as highlights of his move. He went on to say that in the Languedoc, the region where we’ll be living, he was encouraged by “the lack of rampant materialism, the secular nature of society, and ongoing traditions.”
Later that same day I was having a similar conversation with my dentist whom I visited for a final check up. Knowing that today’s exam with cleaning was going to cost 133 dollars while a similar trip in France would be about 25 dollars, we talked about the differences between life here and there. He said that dentists in countries with “socialized medicine” (which I might call “universal health care”) often seek out additional forms of income since they “don’t make any money”. Hmmm, that “lack of rampant materialism” mentioned above immediately came to mind because our experience with French people has been that they value time with family and friends above making more money. Yes, we are definitely going to something. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving!