A Little News

A little news: Next week we are moving back to France! No, for real. We are.

I have lots to tell you and I’m working on a longer blog post about it now. But here are a few initial notes:

1) We’re headed to the same town in the Normandy region we lived in before (same school too). We’re planning for one year and then we’ll evaluate if we want to extend our stay — which is what we ended up doing last time.

2) We’ll be moving as a family of five instead of a family of eight. Ralph and Maude will stay in Oakland/Berkeley for college. And Olive will be an au pair in the South of France.

3) We are still waiting for our passports and visas to arrive back from the French Consulate. If they don’t arrive by Tuesday (when our flights are scheduled) then I’m not sure how we handle that…. I guess just change our flight?

4) This announcement may be coming as a surprise to you, but not to us. We’ve been thinking about and planning for a move for a year now. But we were very indecisive about _where_ we should move — and my instinct has been to keep the whole decision making process more private.

5) June, who’s full name is Flora June Blair, has announced she will go by Flora in France, because she likes the way Flora is pronounced in French more than the way June is pronounced.

6) Unrelated, but Monday was the 24th wedding anniversary of me and Ben Blair. I love being married to Ben. He’s my favorite person in the world and it makes me happy to think we still have lots of adventures to look forward to.

That’s it for now. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll try include answers in the longer blog post.

59 thoughts on “A Little News”

  1. No real questions-I look forward to hearing the whole story. Just a big ol’ congratulations! That is big, huge news. I would imagine this will give you lots of chances to deeply consider what you are going to do about the property you own there, huh?

    We all have big decisions we mull over and keep to ourselves-it must feel extra weighty when you have a readership of people who feel connected to your family story, too! I’m sure it’ll be nothing but love from all of us :)

  2. Congratulations! Our family is going on 4 years in France and feel so lucky to get to raise a family here. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to follow along!

  3. Wow that’s great. I look forward to hearing of your new adventures. Sorry if it’s too nosy but wondering what will you do with the Oakland house?

  4. Wow, what fun! I look forward to reading all about it. I hope you don’t mind me asking but what are you doing with your house while you’re gone? Fingers crossed your passports and visas arrive in time!

  5. I think this is wonderful. So often in bigger families the oldest kids get the most adventures and parents tire out for the littles. You and Ben just keep the fun going! Can’t wait to follow along.

  6. Agree with questions about the Treehouse — surely you will rent it out not sell it? But … who knows! I admire your bravery.

  7. Oh my goodness, so excited for you all, and a bit jealous. You are the second of two bloggers I find to be so wonderful and open about the messes we are currently dealing with in the States to be moving abroad. It really makes me feel like this is something my family and I need to consider as well. Best of luck to you guys! Can’t wait to hear about your French adventures!

  8. I am so thrilled for your family, congratulations on this exciting news! I am afraid for what it says about this country and my children’s futures that when I read your news on Instagram, my initial thought was that you and your family would all now be safe from gun violence. Clearly this is what I desire to have for me and mine, but I feel so lost and helpless about it.

  9. Wow! Exciting! I love adventures. I stumbled across your blog the first time you lived in France. Questions for another time: will you be close to your house/cottage in France? Did you decide to keep it? Interesting that it’s the same school. I wonder what memories your older children have of the school and if/how it will be different for your younger children who will attend. I’m also curious about Saturdays. I remember reading one post after you moved to Oakland about how your family spent time on Saturdays was so different in Oakland compared to when you lived in your town in France.

  10. As someone who dreams of moving to France, I’m curious how the visa process goes. Was it difficult? Expensive? Also, what will you do for health care abroad — do you have to carry your own or will you be able to get on a National plan? It all sounds super exciting and I hope you have a smooth transition.

  11. I’m so excited for your family! And a little jealous too. I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures and insight about living abroad again. Good luck and happy 24th!

  12. Could you do a post sometime on HOW you move to another country?
    I think about trying to do that at some point…have no idea how to start planning.
    Thanks and happy moving!

  13. This is so wonderful! We were inspired by your first move – sold our first house in New Orleans and move to southern France, a little town called Aix en Provence for a year. We wish we could have stayed longer. You and Ben are so fortunate to have jobs that can be done from abroad! My husband and I are both teacher (he’s a French teacher, so that was helpful!)
    Lots of southern villages to recommend if you are planning a visit to the Provence/Luberon area….and the most wonderful and hip vineyard/modern art installation @ Chateau La Coste.

    Anyways, a few questions –
    1. Are you staying in the same long term rental house?
    2. What about your French cottage? Will you continue to update, or will you sell?

    Looking forward to following your adventures!

    1. Jackie! What a lovely matching story! Our family will be in Lyon, and we would love to see a bit of Provence. Any day trip recommendations??

  14. So exciting for your family! Sounds like and amazing experience – can’t wait to read about it. My family and I are visiting France for the first time in early September and are so excited to spend a few days in the Normandy area. Hope all the passports and visas come through without any problem!

  15. Yall are such adventure seekers! I can’t wait to read the longer post about why and what you will do there. But it is lovely to see a family go where their hearts take them!

  16. wow you keep us on our toes! I love how you embrace change and make it seem ‘easy’. I know it’s not but you still go straight into it and take us along for the ride. So excited for you and looking forward to the more detailed post. x

  17. How funny to open this post right now, as I’m in the train on my way to Normandy! Every couple of years our family of five spends a week at ”La maison du vert” in the south-eastern corner of Normandy. It’s a lovely little hotel and restaurant run by a British couple. I highly recommend to pay a visit ;-).

    And all the best for your big move!


  18. Oh, I’m looking forward to your move. I first stumbled over Design Mom whilst you lived in France the first time. And since that i’m following your interesting articles, questions and stories. Wish you all a great return to old Europe and a wonderful, inspiring, happy time.
    Greetings from South Germany,

  19. How exciting! I’m curious about the timing process and how it affects what you’re doing in Oakland while you’re deciding about your move. When did you know for sure that you were going to move at this time (ie, the actual date), and why this time? How did that affect things like your kids starting back at their Oakland schools for just a week or two? How quickly are you able to arrange everything to go from, “yes, let’s do this” to “we’re off!”?

  20. I am dying laughing right now. (You know, that laughter that can only come while watching a child?)

    I just read your post to my little Bea at the breakfast table, and she is flipping out. Betty is a bit of a celebrity at our house right now, as we have been watching her Olive Us video in anticipation of our trip next week. “Mama! We may see her in Paris!!”

    Have fun Blairs! We will be praying for you!

  21. We’re another family that felt inspired by your previous move abroad – it helped me feel less intimidated by the idea of moving our six kids to another country, and we’ve been in the UK for three years (and are mid-visa renewal.) Your adventures have touched so many of us!

  22. So, so exciting. I’ve been reading since the first time you were preparing to move there! For your college-aged kids, how does in-state tuition work when parents move abroad?

  23. This is exciting! I hope you keep blogging while abroad! I also echo the what are your plans for the Treehouse while you’re gone? I also love the name “change” what a mature thought and opportunity for her. All the best.

  24. So incredibly happy for your family! I remember watching in awe as you packed up your family for your first move over there. Seeing your family make that move was a huge source of inspiration and laid the knowledge groundwork for my own family to spend a summer in Lyon. Hoping for many happy new memories for you all.

  25. So happy for you and your family!! Sending you a huge embrace for all that “change” brings about… 💓

    We were just extended an opportunity to move to the UK. And I just want to say to you and all of your heart led readers… thank you for being “here”. Because of you, I feel stronger in my determination to be actively authentic and exponentially braver in embracing the unknown.

  26. Yay! I can’t wait to follow along on this new adventure!

    I love your love for Ben Blair. My husband is my favorite person in the world as well. :)

  27. I love surprising (good) big news posts! Congratulations on your decision (that’s the hardest part, in my opinion) and fast-approaching move! Our family is fortunate to have choices too, especially since we each have dual citizenship. After a little bit of living in France, a lot of living in the USA (most notably NYC), and several years in Canada, we felt the need to buckle down and pick a place for our young children to grow up. We ended up picking France and have been here almost two years now. I’m happy with our decision, although I’m not certain it’ll stick for the longterm. I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures and your thoughts/reactions about being back in France. Bon courage pour tout!

  28. How exciting! I have been following your family for years, and I love your adventures. My husband and I have lived in many different countries, but are worried about taking our kids, 9 and 11, out of their current schools to move to another country. We spend a month in France every summer with my job and my kids love this, but they always say they would miss their friends if it was for an entire year. How do your kids feel? Do you have any of these issues or concerns? Thanks!

  29. I’m curious about your feelings regarding community. I would enjoy living abroad, but honestly, the idea of having to create a community (especially in a place where I didn’t speak the language) seems completely overwhelming. It took me so long to build one where I currently live in my native country. I’m wondering if having a larger family and/or being Mormon (because it seems like wherever you go you have a faith community waiting) makes this seem less of an obstacle? Or perhaps you and Ben Blair place a higher value on other things? I’d love to hear your thoughts! And I love seeing your family soar!

  30. What an exciting news! I look forward to hear more about your move. Why you decided to go again/ how you solve the housing situation/ how it feels to leave the bigger kids behind in the States etc.

    Ever since I found your blog (you were living in France, I have been following you. You are a great source of inspiration. The fact that you raise 6 kids feels very encouraging to me, as a mother of 4 kids. I really appreciate how you have shifted to pointing out social issues. I wish you all the best with all the practicalities of the move and I hope you will have a great year in France!

  31. I am very excited about this! I found your blog when you first lived in France and I will be very excited to follow along on this continuation of that adventure! My husband and I are planning our own move when I retire, so I will be very interested in the nuts and bolts, visas, setting up living arrangements and the like. Have fun, and fingers crossed for your Visas!

    Congrats to you and Ben Blair on your anniversary! One of my colleagues calls her husband by his first and last names, too….I think it is the sweetest thing ever.

  32. That sounds fantastic! And especially great for Flora June who won’t have so many memories from France, as she was so small still….Maybe you’ll find time to explore Northern Germany with your family — Hamburg or the Baltic Sea ….will be happy to give you tips. Hope you have a great time in France!

  33. I remember you posting that you had been thinking about moving back. How exciting! I think a lot of us have fantasized about leaving, given the current state of affairs in the US. I hope it’s a good change.

  34. Happy packing, Gabby. Seriously– no more anxiety attacks like the move from Colorado. It’s just stuff, there’s lots of good stuff everywhere, and your family is what matters. I know that our stuff is also a part of our identity, but please just breathe.

    And don’t worry about us. We’ll continue to live our lives while you pack, and we still love you.

  35. You and your words have contributed to the betterment of society for years, and I know you will continue to do so overseas. France is lucky to have you AND your family Gabby! 🧡

  36. Congrats Blairs! Gabby, I was really moved by your emotion in your instagram stories about how hard moving is, because my (false) impression to this point has been that these big adventures are so easy for your family. Like you all have some bravery gene that I lack. I guess my question is, is everyone always on board for these big things, or does it take some convincing for some family members? And if so, what is the pep talk like? How have you instilled such a confidence in your family that it’s going to be ok? (sorry, probably too big of questions for this).

  37. Hi Gabby, Thank you for sharing this with us. I’d love to learn the top reasons that drove your decision to move back to Europe.
    Sending you support as you make this move and settle into your new routines.

  38. How wonderful! I know another June, with an American mama and a French papa, who lives in Normandy. She’s perhaps a year or two younger than your Flora June. And I just realized her name is so similar to my Iris May. (: Good luck with your travels!

  39. If you don’t mind answering, what kind of visas do y’all get? Just the year long carte de sejour?
    Also, I served my mission in Montpellier, Olive is going to love it there!

  40. We are so excited for you! That sounds glorious! It seems like I am in the same category as a few other people here–wondering how you get permission to stay longer than 3 months? Yes, what Visas do you get? Our dream is to have remotes jobs so that we could travel/live longer in other countries.

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