Living in France has been a longtime dream of mine and with some hard work, perseverance and lots of good karma I arrived in Paris on Tuesday – April 14th, 2015
While it’s been a long journey, I think it was definitely worth the wait.
Lots of things had to happen for me to make this move – the most important thing was having enough money to support myself, and to satisfy the French authorities that I wouldn’t need to work (and take a job away from a more-deserving Frenchman) Here’s a summary of what I’ve been up to the past few months:
Step 1 – Sell house.
I started this process about a year before my big move. It was hard for me, harder than it should have been. This was because I had moved to St. Louis in 2005 and bought my house when the market was still hot. Then the recession hit in 2008 – right after I had spent $50,000 on a new gourmet kitchen (seemed like a good idea at the time). Then I lost my job, and never earned near the same salary again. I managed okay, but when it was time to sell the house I had quite a bit of deferred maintenance to take care of.
This is where my first good karma experience happened. I found a buyer through word of mouth who was looking for a house in my specific neighborhood – and they didn’t mind that it needed some work. How cool is that? The sale closed in mid-October. 2014.
Step 2 – Sell Stuff
Since my plan is to move to Paris I need to get rid of my stuff. To help with the house sale I had hired a real estate agent to act as my transaction agent, it was through her I met a woman who helps people get organized and get rid of their stuff. My timing was perfect. She was having her semi-annual sale just a few weeks before my closing was scheduled. And another bit of good karma came from her too. Her husband works as a handyman on the side. He was able to take care of the deferred maintenance on my house without it costing me an arm and a leg. Amazing how these things happen.
Step 3 – Where to live now?
Now that I’ve sold my house I need to find a place to live. An acquaintance at work owns several apartment buildings and offers me one with a month-to-month agreement. I go look at the apartment and leave thinking “There’s no way I can live here”. Guess where I ended up living for 5 months? In that apartment. It really wasn’t bad at all – and it was just temporary. (I told myself every time I hauled my laundry down the dark and wobbly stairs to the basement.)
Step 4 – Quit my life-sucking job.
I’d prefer not to go into any details here for many reasons. Except to mention that this was easier than I expected. It’s a long story, but I was pretty much able to just “transition” out as we merged with a larger credit union. My last day was at the end of January 2015.
Step 5 – Find an apartment in Paris. Commit.
Living in Paris is expensive. I considered many possible scenarios – a few months in Paris, then a few months with friends in the Dordogne (in an effort to save money!). But with some input from my sister I decided that I needed to commit to living in Paris. After looking at many, many apartment listing sites I finally found a perfect apartment on Sabbatical Homes. It was spacious, by Paris standards, in a good location and a bargain at 900€ per month. Even better, the owner only requested 100€ to book the apartment. So now I have a move date – April 14th. This is fun, and scary. I don’t even have a visa yet. But I have an apartment!
...to be continued...