Wow. You guys are...wow. I can't even put it into words. You're amazing. Thank you to each of you for your support and enthusiasm. It means the world to B and me that you're so excited for us as we embark on this new adventure. I think you legitimately may have broken the internet with my last post...or at least slowed down Facebook and Weebly for most of Friday. I have a stats tracker on my Weebly phone app, and Friday's data made me laugh out loud. Here's a snapshot of the past month. There was just a teensy bit of a jump in readership on Friday. Just a smidgen.
And in addition to all of your sweet well-wishes, you all had tons of terrific questions. Since inquiring minds want to know, I will now attempt to answer most of them.
Frequently Asked France Questions:
Q: What are you going to do with Luna??!
A: To those of you that asked this, thank you. Seriously. We love our furry girl to pieces, and it means a lot to us that she was your first thought. Unfortunately, our furry peanut won't be going with us. We decided an 8-hour plane ride was just too much for our 7-year-old girl. Also, we plan to do a LOT of traveling around Europe while we're there, and it wouldn't be fair to board her every other weekend. Instead, she'll be going on an extended trip to her Pennsylvania country estate, aka her paternal grandparents' house (not to be confused with her North Carolina country estate/maternal grandparents' house). Her Nana and Grandpa are retired, so she'll have someone to hang out with all day. Even though we will miss her silly self like crazy and wish we could bring our chien noir with us, she'll be loved, well taken-care of, and spoiled to bits. And of course the minute we return to the U.S. we'll take her back!
P.S. - Fun bit of trivia here: B's company has been telling him he might be going abroad for an extended period of time since January of 2013...when we fostered Luna for two weeks. For those of you who remember that time, that's why we didn't adopt her at first. But when she kept showing back up at Greenville Humane Society, we decided that it didn't matter if/when we might live abroad because Luna was clearly meant to be our furry daughter. Just look at that face. I can't believe we were able to resist her even once!
Q: When exactly are you leaving?
A: This is a terrific question, one that I would really like to know the answer to myself. We're going to the French consulate in Atlanta today. Our visa applications were approved, but they have to meet with us in person. If they get what they need today, then we might be leaving as soon as mid-April. If not, it will likely be mid-May. Stay tuned. I mean, y'all know we're pretty shady characters, so who knows if they'll actually let us in...I mean, crazy Americans who want to eat ALL the cheese and macarons and Nutella crepes and drink ALL the wine? I'd be afraid of us, too.
Q: How long will you be gone?
A: This is also a terrific question, and also one that I would like to know the answer to. Right now, the answer is, "We don't know." It's a minimum six-month assignment, but the "maximum" is open-ended. It depends on the projects B is assigned to once he gets there. I'm voting to stay there as long as we can possibly manage. Duh. But rest assured, we will be returning to the U.S.
Q: So you're going to live in Paris, right?
A: In case you skipped this section of my last post, we're going to be living in Tours. It's in the Loire Valley, which is known for its chateaux (castles; think Biltmore Estate) and wine. It's about an hour southwest of Paris by TGV, the high-speed train, and it's about 1.5-2 hours from Paris via regular train. The railway system there is great, and Tours is a super convenient place to live. It's much, much smaller and quieter than Paris, which I love. When we went in 2011, I felt SUPER safe walking around the city by myself, taking trains to the chateaux by myself, generally doing everything by myself while B worked. It's situated on a river, and it's just really lovely. See a few pics below of city.
Q: What do your parents think about this?
A: At first they were a little hesitant and nervous, especially after the terror attacks in Paris. But after they had time to get used to the idea, and after I swore to my mother I wouldn't mock Muhammed on my blog, they relaxed. Now they're really excited to come visit. Dad can't wait to eat and drink his way through the countryside, and Mom can't wait to see the beautiful churches and architecture, and, of course, go buy Longchamp purses with me. When in doubt, bribe the nervous mama with shopping - it works wonders.
Q: Uhh, so, B is going to work. What are you going to do?
A: The short answer is: write blog posts! Work visas are pretty much impossible to get in France because of the high unemployment rate; they don't want outsiders taking potential jobs (and, well, can you blame them?). B is getting around this because he's already an employee of a French company - the company he works for now is based in Tours. He just happens to work in the North American headquarters. Fun little technicality there. But I just get to be a French housewife. I am SUPER excited about getting to go shop for fresh, organic, farm-to-table produce at farmers' markets. I'm TERRIFIED about having to do laundry: pretty sure we'll have to use a Laundromat, which I have never used before in my life. The closest I've ever been is the laundry room at the bottom of Granville Towers East my freshman year of college. So this ought to be fun.
Q: Where exactly are you going to live? A house? An apartment? A cardboard box in the plaza in front of the Hotel de Ville (town hall)...?
A: Okay, let's say it all in unison now: "This is also a terrific question and one I would like the answer to." Are we seeing a pattern here? We don't know exactly where we'll live, but it will most likely be an apartment in the city of Tours proper (since we likely won't have a car). We may live in a hotel for a couple of weeks until we find something. That's still up in the air.
Q: Are you going to travel around while you're there?
A: YES! We are really thrilled about this opportunity to see SO many places that we've wanted to go, all in one extended trip. Here are some places we'll DEFINITELY visit (and who wants to go there) are:
Florence, Italy (B and me)
Belgium (B and me)
the Greek islands (me)
*We're SUPER thrilled because we're going to Oktoberfest with my brother and sister-in-law. We SERIOUSLY cannot wait for that.
I hope this at least sort of answers some of the many questions we've been asked. A lot is still up in the air, but we're slowly figuring things out. We will, of course, keep you posted as we learn more.