Would you live abroad?

Posted on: 27/04/2011

I know a few of you who read this that already do…to the extent that you have embraced your new country for all its foibles and more importantly for its uniqueness.

Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.netThat’s the thing, isn’t it?  I can’t think of a single country where I’d say, oh, this is just like X country.  Every single part of this planet has something totally individual to offer.

I ask the question because my parents are trying to make their minds up whether or not to live in France permanently.   Currently the only house they own is the one I’m sitting in, on French soil.

There are financial quandaries to get past, but at the moment, whilst my mum would gladly live here forever, my dad feels he would miss the UK too much.  So they are here on a sort of trial run, living here for a few months before they make their decision.

So many TV programmes are now dedicated to people who want to live abroad, though they are more likely to be in English speaking countries.  The language barrier is not a small one, especially in France. Like the British in the UK, the concept of someone coming up to them in their home country and talking at them in any language other than French is downright rude.  (And quite right too.  Manners require that you at least try.)

Perhaps that’s what’s really bothering my Dad.  He doesn’t really have any confidence speaking French since he gave up his language classes a few years ago.  Of course, he could find a course here, but I’m not convinced he really wants to.

The distance is also an issue. Realistically children and grandchildren wouldn’t be able to visit more than once a year; the cost is too prohibitive.  But, on the plus side, when they do come they are more likely to stay for some time, possibly spending more time together than before.

But it’s the culture that makes one fall in or out of love with a country.  You have to embrace it totally to be able to live somewhere permanently.  Every place has its own feel, and it’s a question of whether that rubs you up the right way or the wrong way.

I’d love to live abroad.  I haven’t seen enough of the world.  I love the challenges it brings.  But I’d never be able to persuade loved one, and I’m not sure I’d want to while we have grandparents – the ones who do live in the UK – that we also want to spend time with.

So I’ve warned loved one that I’m going to need some seriously long holidays in lots of interesting places to get my culture fix.

And my parents?  They started building this house ten years ago. It’s gorgeous. And it’s great weather…Maybe Dad will be persuaded one day. Maybe.


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