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Expat in France
Blog Expat: living abroad


So… we are moving back to the UK. La vie en France has lasted from February 2015 to September 2017.

I just went back to read the post I wrote about adjusting to life out here, and I can hardly believe I ever felt like that. Lyon has become home and I can’t remember when it didn’t. I will be sad to go, but I’m also looking forward to a new chapter.

My husband is looking to progress in his career, and unless we wait it out in France, moving to the UK was his best bet. While we were umming and ahhing, I did some research on jobs I could do in the area, and I stumbled across a well-respected journalism school, and a little cartoon lightbulb appeared above my head.

So that made the decision all the easier (and took the pressure off my husband as the instigator of the move, which I think he was relieved about). I start my NCTJ diploma in Journalism in Brighton in September.

As much as I love it here, I think I’m ready to go. Hitting the two year mark made it feel serious, and as though we have to buckle down and really build a life here, rather than simply enjoy it as a transient phase. I think it’s a little different for me because I’ve been working part-time at something rather new (copywriting) and so my whole Lyon experience has been completely free of routine – I’ve not had the monotony of getting up for work, the trudge of the commute, or having to politely chat to new colleagues at lunch. I’ve been pretty free and easy. And while that is an unabashed privilege, it can only last so long. I feel like I was at a fork in the road: move back to the UK or knuckle down and find full-time work in France.

Again, I want to preface this with the fact that I love it here, but I never really saw it as being a ‘forever move’ – perhaps because I get itchy feet, but perhaps because I didn’t have the grounding of regular work and commitments. Who knows. Another version of me may have found a great job here and never left.

But personally, (at least in this moment right now), I find the thought of living somewhere forever to be terrifying. And I’m not sure why. I really find comfort in the thought that I could pack up and move on if I want. Apart from getting married (which took me a while to come round to – the institution, that is, not my partner) I’ve never done anything permanent: no tattoos, no pets, no big purchases or long contracts. I could pack up my life in a bag and move on if I want, and that thought calms me for some reason.

I remember saying to one of my friends while travelling that we could disappear if we wanted to, and never go home. And while I had no desire to disappear, the fact that I could have was comforting - a reminder that I'm actively choosing the life I have.

I think part of reason I like moving is because I get to pretend that I’m a different kind of woman. I’m already imagining myself in Brighton now – the kind of woman I’ll be when I live there. The journalist student Sophia, who spends Saturday mornings at the local parkrun (I’ve already googled my nearest one). The Sophia whose hair is not a wild mess every morning and can engage in smalltalk without wincing. This is the Sophia I’ll be when I move.

Except, will I? Probably not. I could easily run now, but I don’t. My hair is untamable, and I’ll always be shit and awkward when talking to strangers.

But the thought that I could change is tied up with the thrill of moving. I imagine one day I’ll get over this – writing it down, it all feels pretty childish.

But I suppose I’ve always been a late developer.  

La rentrée

La rentrée

Fête des Lumières

Fête des Lumières