More Thoughts on France

Did I show you the bowl where we keep June’s pacifiers? It was a gift for June from our friend, David. It was accompanied by a charming letter that made me long to be a better writer. It’s a pretty bowl and I love the French menu that’s wrapped around it. In fact, it reminds me:

On Saturday, we took care of the kids passport photos! I realize that is a tiny step toward possibly moving to France (it’s just the photos, my friends, not the actual passports), but hey, it’s something.

Taking any small concrete action is my favorite way to kickstart a project. What about you? What do you do when you find a project on pause? What’s your favorite way to get things started again?

30 thoughts on “More Thoughts on France”

  1. Wow!
    Good for you guys!
    I lived in France for a year (in Poitiers) and it absolutely changed my life.
    It was the best decision I ever made.
    I feel like once you allow yourself to actually take a step towards doing something, the more real it becomes-so bravo to you guys!
    I dream of the day when I can return to France with James in tow.
    (Hey-if you ever need a French speaking American babysitter, I’m game hehe ;)

  2. Oh my, I’m thrilled with tiny steps toward dreams. Thank you for the goose bumps. My hubbie and I have talked off and on about moving to Scandinavia for a while or maybe learning to make gelato in Italy and opening up a little shop back home. Thanks for the inspiration to keep inching toward a more interesting life!

  3. High five for the photos! Your post called to me because I want to move our family to Austin, Texas and that’s not even far! It’s just three hours away from Dallas where I currently am, but it’s where I want my kids to get their lives started. Taking small steps like saving money for the day when it’s time to call the movers, or out any deposits down is how I’m taking action. The rest is timing. Good luck with your dream! It IS possible!

  4. Cute bowl! We had a foreign exchange student stay with us through the month of July. He is from Paris. It was an experience. He was 15 and a bit of a…well, we’re not sure if his behavior was just because he is 15…or French…or a 15 year old French person. It was an adventure and his parents have invited us to stay at their home, close to the Eiffel Tower, if we ever come to France. Nice!

  5. I’ve spent 3 years planning my escape to Portugal (sunshine) and have another two to go; I try to take a small action every day, like de-cluttering something I really don’t want to ship. It keeps me motivated :-)

  6. I think that the Blairs are cool, and that they will be cool no matter where they live. That said, giving kids the opportunity to experience another culture is fantastic. I would probably pick Switzerland over France, if it were me. Having traveled to both places, the Swiss are more friendly to Americans — English is more commonly spoken, and Switzerland is convenient (by train and air) to most of Europe, so it’s a great jumping off place. You could also look into Slovenia. I’ve heard lot’s of good about Slovenia. It’s inexpensive and it borders the Mediterranean. That’s my .02

  7. Argh, I’m just thinking about 6 separate forms to fill out! I’m always filling out our 2 renewal forms and my two kids new passport forms and putting them in a file so we can all get our act together and get our pictures taken and go the post office but I never do it and I have to get more forms because they change them! The task is so daunting. How did you motivate yourself? Oh, yeah, France! C’est Formidable!

    1. I just renewed my passport and got new passports for my two kids and it’s really not so bad. The form is only two pages. You should just take your old passport and kid’s birth certificate to the post office and do it there. They’ll help you fill out the form, take your pictures, tell how much to write the check for fees and shipping and then mail it for you. One stop shop… :)

  8. That is such a great idea! I may have to copy you and get my son’s photo taken for his passport. I should also check my daughter’s to see if it’s still valid! I love this small step to get started for our potential summer in Germany next year.

    I was just thinking of all this in the car this morning. I’m hoping we can make our summer abroad happen; I hope your year does, too!! While we’re there, I’m hoping to find a house somewhere in Tuscany or countryside France to rent for 2 couple of weeks and have friends and family join us for a vacation…I’d love to know what websites you’ve been using to look for houses!

  9. I love it when you post about living abroad… When a project has hit a lull I try to focus on the joy I will experience when it happens. For me, it is all about momentum and feeling the excitement I felt when I first began. I use imagination to see myself where I want to be in great detail. I also like an inspiring quote or two…

    “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” -William Hutchinson Murray

  10. My cousin and I were just talking about child passports this weekend… She has two children (3 and 9 mos), and when their 3 year old was born, they applied for her passport right away. It sat in the drawer for a year and then a great airfare to Nice showed up… and the rest was history! My niece old still talks about her trip to Paris, and her trip to England, and wants to know if she’s been to London yet…

    Yep, if you’ve ever had a travel bug, get those passports and have them ready!

  11. I admit I’m the anal retentive type. My projects usually start with a list. All the steps I need to take. After that though? I tend to just jump. That may be why I have so many half finished projects… : )

    Would love to move over seas for a few years. I’m angling for retirement. But I definitely want to travel while the kids are growing up so they get a sense of the diversity of this fine planet we live on. I was just commenting to hubby that we ought to get passports for the kids.

  12. I can usually do one or two small things but I can’t really follow through until we take one big plunge and then there is not too much that can slow the train down after that! Hope you find your big stepping off point soon if your year away is meant to be!

  13. I like to make a list of very small things, easily finished, that will help me reach the ultimate completion of a goal. It always feels nice to check things off a list. And with smaller jobs, sometimes I can dole them out to children who are willing to help.

  14. I am with you in spirit, my friend! I had a crisis of confidence a few weeks ago regarding spending a semester abroad in China, and I decided that my first step would be to get my passport. It was such a small, satisfying first step.

  15. Forget the inspiration of moving to Europe or even getting passport photos taken and forms filled out — a cute bowl for pacifiers!!! I found a bunch while cleaning up today and was trying to figure out what to do with all of them. Now, instead of thinking about why I couldn’t come up with the simple idea of a bowl *slaps forehead*, I am going to go find one in the cupboard and fill it right now. Merci!

  16. My husband trades the foreign exchange market and we are thinking the same thing. We are going in baby steps…We are going to stay for the whole summer this year, and then if that goes well take the leap to a whole year.

  17. I realize that this is not the point of this post, but I just had to comment on what a good idea it is to store June’s pacis in a pretty bowl. I never thought of that! I guess that’s why you’re the Design Mom! =) Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. John and I have always played around with the idea of moving to Italy where are families are from. Our first step is to spend next summer there in a cottage and see how we feel before we decide if we want to live there for a spell. The steps we are taking to make this happen is.

    1. We have an Italian teacher who comes twice a week to the house to work with the kids and help me get back to my normal fluency.
    2. I am getting dual citizenship and it can translate over to John and the kids.

    I think what you are doing is a great way to keep the goal alive. Maybe start incorporating the French language and food into your daily routine, that way you grow into your goal. That is what we are doing with Italian and the kids love it!

  19. I’m big on goals. I write them down and move forward. I’m not big on putting things on pause. I go for it. If it’s not going the original way I create Plan B so that I don’t feel like it’s not going to happen.

    We took 3 years of French lessons before we moved for france for our sabbatical and it was a great way to be excited and have something to work towards. We are now going back for good in 4 weeks and things are crazy. Movers coming, saying goodbye, etc..but now we start a new life and new business in France so more goals for this are being written down.

    Write down what your ultimate goal is and then smaller goals that relate to it. Start watching french movies (in french with american subtitles), take french lessons, start cooking some french meals (like duck).

    Excited for you.

  20. Now that Mark is teaching at a University and most of my work is online we are thinking about living overseas every other summer. We are attempting a cottage in Ireland first. A small town on the ocean. The nice thing is that they have Ryan air with 25 dollar one way tickets to several locations so we can take weekend trips with all four of us for pretty cheap to different European Cities. It’s important to me that they see different cultures and places and I think having three months at a time in one place will be great. I’m hoping when they get older to stay in Albania. There are so many options it’s hard to choose!

  21. We just got passports for our whole family…and we took the passport photos ourselves. With an 18-month-old and a 4-year-old, we had dozens of outtakes – but we finally got a few that served our purposes. :)

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