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Why did I choose France?

I grew up in Kansas.

Kansas is affectionately known as “flyover country”. Translation: “There’s nothing there”. While this may not be entirely accurate, I can tell you that Kansas lacks in anything more than a couple of hundred years old.

Food. Can you name a food that Kansas is known for? Me neither. Except for barbeque - which is the best anywhere in the world, in my non-biased opinion. But that’s about it. Nothing else there compares to what you can find in France.

Medieval towns. Check. Roman ruins. Check. Baguettes. Check. Cheese. Check. Wine. Check.

Plus with high-speed trains and cheap flights it’s all so easy to see.

After 4 years of living in France, I don't care that I’m not in Kansas anymore.

Archives: I'm here! I finally made it to Paris. Part 1

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...


Archives: I'm here! I finally made it to Paris. Part 2