June 15, 2014

The French Village People

Once we could speak enough French, anything became possible.

Now that "anything" has taken on the form of a completely new experience.

We're moving to the countryside!

Our new village of La Fère (link to pdf of photos) boasts a population of 3,000, a park, a cathedral, a small castle, and gardens galore.

We will be about 2 hours north of Paris in the Aisne department of the Picardie region. [MAP]

Yes, we are self-proclaimed city people, and we're moving to a village.


Volleyball. It's always volleyball.

When we first began this European journey in Belgium, I was okay with playing whatever level could give me enough free time to travel and enjoy Europe. Then the nine month seasons wore us down: not just any volleyball was good enough anymore. Marc was cringing through my slow matches, and I was bored and restless.

Of my four tryouts this spring, two were through a Paris volleyball friend, one I had contacted via Volley-Zone, and the La Fère coach had contacted me through the same website. I had a potential fifth tryout with a club I tried out with last year, but it was too late for our timetable and I had already committed to La Fère.

Yes, we're giving up my fabulous English tutoring job, Marc's basketball club in Levallois, and the transportation network of a metropolis. But we're also happily saying goodbye to babysitting, Parisian volleyball politics, crowded train rides, and pollution.

Like most decisions in life, it's a trade-off.

At this point in our expat adventure, it's a change we are willing, able, and excited to make. It's a better team and better coach with a better contract. It's an opportunity to experience France without the tourists. God opened all of the doors to La Fère; we've paid attention, and we're walking through them.

We'll let you know if visits are even possible once we are introduced to our new apartment in August. Flights will still be through Paris CDG, with trains going north from Paris Gare du Nord. It won't be the buzz, pop, and flash of Paris anymore; instead it will be an escape from the city, a place where you can come to take a break and relax.

The blog is going to take us to the north of France now. I hope you're ready for the trip!