What would my life in France look like if I stayed?
As I am meeting more and more people outside of my study abroad program in France, I am realizing that many of them moved to France relatively recently and only plan on staying for a few years. Many of them are European and benefit from the European Union’s single market principle of the free movement of people, but others are from countries outside the EU like Chile and the United States. These people have taken a great leap into the unknown by uprooting their lives at home and committing fully to living in France, and I find it inspiring.
I wouldn’t want to live in France for too long because I have a home, family, and friends in the United States. But the concept of moving back to France for a few years no longer seems like an unreachable goal.
If I were to commit to moving to France, I would not live in Paris. Paris is extremely beautiful and full of great culture, gastronomy, and job opportunities. But it is also crowded, touristy, and polluted. Instead, I would like to move to a smaller city in Normandy, Brittany, or Auvergne-Rhône-Alps. These regions of France are relatively close to large cities like Paris or Geneva, and they have an extremely great gastronomic and cultural reputation. Food and culture are important to me, and since I have already experienced the great gifts that Paris has to offer, I would like to experience the other side of France. A sense of community is also very important to me. I would want to be able to know the apple orchard that my cider is coming from in Normandy or go to church with the family of the crêperie that I buy my crêpe galettes from in Brittany. Finally, I would love to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes, where are plentiful in all the regions that I have mentioned.
If I were to live in a small city in any of these regions, I would like to work on a farm, an orchard, or a vineyard. French people take great pride in the quality of their food, and I greatly admire their commitment to maintaining their prestigious gastronomic reputation. Working on a farm would make me part of this process and allow me to also work with my hands to create a great product for the enjoyment of others in my community. Working on a farm would also force me to buy a vintage motorcycle for my commute to the countryside!
Moving to France to work on a farm for a few years would be a beautiful chapter of my life. And now that I have seen that I would not be alone in taking this risk of moving to a foreign country, I feel as if though it is more plausible than I may have previously anticipated.