Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Growing up in a country that succeeds in time and energy management, getting things done in the most efficient manner is part of my being.  Sooooo, sometimes I get a "bit" frustrated with the way things are done here in France.  The South of France more specifically, can't speak as knowingly about say, Paris.

In this day and age when we can set a car on Mars, and watch video sent directly from it on our computer, does it take a week to send money from a French bank account to an American one???  Shouldn't it be a press of a button and magically through this amazing invention called the Internet the number should be subtracted from one account and added to the other???

In addition, why do I have to fly for 9 hours back to America to hand in papers that will then be MAILED back to France, the other side of Nice actually, to be read and stamped, only to have me fly 9 hours back to America again to have a Visa sticker pasted into my passport that says I'm allowed to stay in the country I just flew out of???  Why can't I just go to the office, on the other side of town, and have all this done??  They have computers, I'm sure, that can send information back and forth to the other country much faster and more efficiently than me flying to deliver them only to have them mailed back to where I just came from.  I can google myself so I know it works.  When is France, and I'm sure America needs to be involved here, going to get on the twentieth century bandwagon and connect???  It does amaze me!

Oooohhhh, the paperwork...

Even to get your kids into a pubic school, you have to go to a town hall office, fill out lots of papers, have two different people look at them to decide which school is in your neighborhood, a third person stamps those papers and tells you which school to make an appointment with in order to enroll your child.  Why?  Shouldn't that info be on the Internet somewhere and you just call that school and set up an appointment with the director?  Why do we have an office and three people to do that?

Lastly, we've given notice on our lovely apartment and guess what we have to do to make it official.....we have to send a Certified letter from the post office for 4 euros 40.  Now, this isn't such a big deal except for the fact that the real estate agency that it's going to is literally next door to the post office.  Can't we just drop off the letter in person? ...You guess the answer.

Anyway....after all the inefficiency of the above mentioned, yesterday I was finally awarded my meeting for the Carte de Residence for Monaco. As a reward for all my patience, and substantial amounts of paperwork, it seems that in 20 days I will be a card carrying member of the "Land of Expensive Cars and a Real Live Princess".  And even if Monaco is just as behind in it's time and energy management, the lines are MUCH shorter. :)

Some customs we just have to grin and bear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Little Break...

With the Monaco move stillllll underway and the summer in full "go", we decided to take a week in the "country."  Seems that's what the French do, so why not get on the bandwagon.

We chose a house only if it had a pool for the family to lounge around and a big yard for the kids and Charlie to run about in.  Didn't really matter what the area had in store coz we didn't plan on doing any site-seeing.

We stocked the car with BBQ foods and wine, grabbed Grandpa, and off we drove for two hours to a town called Boucle Bel Air.  Not really the country, but close enough.  A week of pool side lounging and relaxation.....

There in the distance is Mont Sainte-Victoire, outside
of Marseille, that appears in a bunch of  Cezanne paintings.


A week of no leash and "yard patrole" duty.  Charlie was in doggie heaven! 
The house's mascot.  He wouldn't leave his post.  He flew around our heads
and landed back on this branch to stare us down a bit before doing
it again, and again, and again...Funny little guy.  

Even got Grandpa to play a bit of football...

Aaahhhhh, now I get what the fuss is all about.  This is definitely a habit worth forming!!!  Already planning the next "house holiday"!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finding Happiness...

A year ago I moved from my home in NYC to live in the paradise of the Cote d'Azur.  I was keen on the idea, welcoming the change.  I had been doing well in my career but was open to finding a new passion to pursue.  And getting away from the winters to live along the sea was a big sell!

Well, during this year, I've been struggling a lot with finding my new happiness.  In such a paradise I feel I have no reason to feel unhappy, but I do.  Doing a little forum searching I see it's not uncommon for Expats to go through a bit of unsettling, a little depression, some confusion, etc., while finding their feet in the new environment.  With the language barrier, the customs barrier, the lack of familiarity, the distance of family and long standing friendships, and the lack of career fulfillment, life can be tougher than one perceives it will be.

I feel like I've been contemplating the "new" me for months.  But, I've finally started to really feel like I'm making a list of things I want to include in my life, from possible professional activities, exercise and sports interests, cultural activities to pursue, even volunteering opportunities.  The list is currently in pencil and gets rearranged, erased, and added to from time to time.

The main problem I run up against, or maybe that's my excuse, is the language barrier.  Say I decide I want to return to school and become a child psychologist.  Well, I'd have to be really fluent in french to be able to communicate with the children well.  To understand the nuances of what they were saying and to speak back to them with such nuances to say what I want in a way that isn't so direct. The way good psychologists talk in circles, questioning and directing you without you realizing.  This darn language issue even keeps me from pursuing a true love of mine, horse back riding lessons.  I'm afraid they'll only speak French and I'll constantly be lost.  Again, most likely just an excuse, but it keeps me from diving in all the same.  None of this would be the case if we had moved to London.  But it rains there alllll the time.  Heck, right now as we're sunny and 90ish, they're cloudy, rainy, and 65ish.

And then there's the realization that some of my sadness is because I don't have my "wine therapy" friends.  Those friends that you can sit on the couch with or go to a good margarita bar with and spill all and vent and feel comfortable with doing so.  You support each other and let each other have a good cry when it's needed without any judging.   The ones that know your crabby side and still love you.  Let you take two weeks to finally get around to returning their call and still love you.  I miss you girls!

Anyway, my list keeps getting worked on and soon I hope I'll be brave enough to start tackling it in reality.  And maybe I'll find a "wine therapy" friend here, someone who actually stays living here longer than six months, and feel a little more at home.  It's not as easy as I thought to start a new life in a place so different than the one I've know for over forty years.  But I'm still willing to give it a try.

We'll look back on this post in a year and see where I've gotten to....

(all pics taken from my terrace by me, and maybe the husband)

***After writing this I found an article I would like to share....http://www.mondaymorningmemo.com/newsletters/read/1981, it's sort of about finding your passion or better yet, doing something about it.  Enjoy.
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