-Where were you born?
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
-In which country and city are you living now?
-Are you living alone or with your family?
Living with my husband.
-How long have you been living in France?
2 years 3 months.
-What is your age?
43 this month!!!
-When did you come up with the idea of living in France?
Ever since I was a teenager, I had always wanted to live in another country. I took French when I was 14-19 years old, so a French-speaking country was one of my choices. I always dreamed of being bilingual! I had also really wanted to live in Australia and also Dubai!
One very important factor that helped my decision was the fact that my husband is French... In the early stages of our relationship (before we got married), I told him I would gladly live in France if we had to chose between living in France or the U.S. I am very adaptable to living in a new country....
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
I had to wait 3 months because of my husband's insurance policy from work - kind of like an initial enrollment period, and somehow I had just missed it.. Weird, because here in France... we have such great coverage!!!
-How do you make your living in France? Do you have any type of income generated?
After I got legal authorization to work - took three months, too... I went to the employment office in my town and spoke to the woman in charge of helping individuals find a job. In my case, it was very difficult even though I hold a undergraduate degree from a prestigious university as well as two teaching credentials...
Nothing seemed to just "transfer" over here as an equivalent... So, she recommended I teach English privately and in the public schools. The first year I had six students and this year I have 22 with possibly a new student to start next week.
-Do you speak French and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
Yes, I do speak French (well enough by now) and I feel that it is necessary to speak the local language wherever that may be when you go to live in a foreign country. It helps on so many levels! Book French is definitely NOT the same as day to day spoken French, though!
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
Not really as much as I did in the beginning. I talk with my family enough by phone and email. I don't really miss "home" because this is "home" to me now! There are certain things that I miss about living in the U.S. but I prefer living here in France!
-Do you have other plans for the future?
I would eventually like to buy a home with my hubby in another region in France (near the ocean) and open a Bed & Breakfast! I know that there are probably a million out there already but this is something I have been keeping in my brain for a while now.... Definitely MORE travel!!
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
Apt. owners. No rent...
-What is the cost of living in France?
Don't know but it's very high and salaries are very low. I don't know how everyone does it! Especially with a family.
-What do you think about the French?
I have had very few problems with the locals since I have lived here. I have had sooooo many more wonderful experiences! I think the people are great - and friendly, esp. when you speak the language.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in France?
Negative aspects first:
- For me, colder weather - I'm from southern California you know!
- SMOKERS EVERYWHERE!
- Cost of living is high.
- There is no ocean near by.
- People spit all over the streets.
- People don't clean up after their dogs.
- Great food and wine
- I get to live in a country whose language I love.
- It's great to live in Europe and be a part of this lifestyle.
- Changing seasons - even winter - it has its charm, too.
- So much to see of this beautiful country.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in France?
Don't be afraid to speak in French to people!! They will appreciate it. Be nice to others around you. Take the time to socialize with strangers!! SMILE at others when you walk on the street - don't be afraid to do this. Have a good time!
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about France?
My blog, News From France: http://islandgirl4ever2.blogspot.com