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Expat in France
Blog Expat: living abroad
La rentrée

La rentrée

I’m hiding in our second bedroom, pretending to ‘work’, while our landlord shows prospective new tenants around our flat. I have five more days in France.

In France, this time of year is known as la rentrée – after the languid summer days of August where everyone is en vacances (literally everyone, even the supermarkets close) the French head back to school and work at the beginning of September, refreshed and ready to go. It almost has a sense of the New Year about it. This September, I am having my very own heightened period of rentrée: getting ready for a new flat, a new city, a new (old) country, new friends and a new career (hopefully).

After spending a week in Brighton we managed to find a tiny, expensive flat in Seven Dials and this time next week I’ll be living there. I am itching to go, not because I can’t wait to move into an empty apartment by myself (husband will be joining me in two months or so) but because I hate this period of waiting for everything to end. I’m more of a ‘sneak off during the party’ kind of person than an ‘announce I’m leaving and hug everyone’ kind of person, so I would rather just get this over with. Since my husband will be living between Lyon and Brighton for the next few months, the process of leaving will necessarily drag on a bit.

While I’m excited to move on and try somewhere new, I’m quite apprehensive too. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve spent the best part of the last two years working sporadically, and on a rather random timetable. I’ve allowed myself days to complete work that should take hours, and wasted whole mornings procrastinating which resulted in staying up all night to meet deadlines. I’ve never said no to a project, but I’ve bent my schedule to fit around my husband’s.

This will all have to change.

Although it’s a scary prospect, I think some structure and a few challenges will probably do me good. I don’t want to be the kind of person that shirks hard work, and I think at the moment I am a bit like that. Although life in France hasn’t been easy, I haven’t sought out situations that would improve my language skills like some people have, or pushed through a bit of social discomfort to make more friends. Although I’ve said yes to pretty much everything I’ve been offered (holding conversation classes, accent coaching, writing copy) I’ve not really made the leap into taking any of it a step further. I’ve been scared to throw myself into it. Perhaps because I’ve always viewed my life here as temporary, but that is probably a generous interpretation. I think a kernel of fear has been behind every decision I’ve made, and the desire to not be tested. I think I’ve gone a bit soft.

But that’s going to have to change pretty quickly. I am about to start a course (and career) which is the antithesis of comfort, and is basically an eternal deadline.

Where is the crying-while-laughing emoji when you need it?

In all seriousness, I do feel like I'm on the precipice of a big life change, and it seems fitting that it coincides with my last rentrée in Lyon. Time to shine my school shoes, dig out my pencil case and go meet the rest of the kids in class.


One month in

One month in