Moving to France – one month in

It’s been just over a month since I left London and moved to France. In some ways, these past few weeks have gone reaaaaaaaaaaally slowly, but at the same time, it’s November and time seems to have disappeared. So, I thought I would reflect on what it feels like. Also, I’ve been nagged by certain people  to write more on my blog.

Sleep is excellent

In the run up to the move, I wasn’t sleeping. My anxiety peaked and panic had started to set in. Was I making the right decision? What if I was getting rid of items I would regret? How was I going to afford to do anything? Etc.

My first night here I was exhausted. The aforementioned anxiety coupled with a super early start and carrying my *really* heavy bags (I thought I packed well, turns out I managed to fit about 50kg of crap in my two bags, 10kg more than I was allowed. Thankfully, Ryanair took pity on me and didn’t charge me extra) took its toll and I fell asleep at 7pm and woke up at almost 10am the next day.

But that night was an anomaly. It took me a while to get back into some kind of sleeping pattern, and I still don’t think I am quite there yet. It didn’t help that in my first week I got RAVAGED by mosquitoes and had more than 70 bites on my body, which would, of course, agitate me as soon as I tried to fall asleep.

I am, however, sleeping much better than I have done in a very long time. Although I feel like I am still trying to catch up on years’ worth of sleep I’ve lost worrying about things.

Routine is hard

I hate mornings. Hate, hate, hate getting out of my lovely bed. I preferred to spend an extra 30 mins dozing than putting make up on before work. Me wearing make up was normally a sign that I a) had to go to something important for work or b) was meeting friends/going on a date.

Now that I don’t have to go to work, I don’t have to get up. THE DREAM. It’s like Saturday every day. But, also, really bad. I don’t want to just spend this time lazing in bed and playing Candy Crush. But, what’s the motivation? Previously work, and by consequence, money, were my motivation.

Now, I am trying to make my motivation exercise and health (physical and mental). Get out of bed, go for a run (at least a couple of days a week), and then DO SOMETHING. But, yea, that’s proving pretty difficult and unappealing. So, got to work on that.

I haven’t spoken to anyone younger than my mum since I got here

EVERYONE HERE IS REALLY OLD. Well, at least parent age. I’m happy chatting to anyone, but I do miss people my own age and having that social side, both in an office and outside of work.

Thankfully, I can chat to people whenever I want on Whatsapp etc, so I’m not that lonely, but it doesn’t quite match going to the pub, having a couple of drinks and giggling about stupid things.

I’m also not sure how to make friends in another country when you have no cause to speak to them. People are scary. I definitely need to overcome my newfound shyness and meet some people.

You don’t need 90% of the stuff you own

Ahead of moving, I knew I had limited storage space, and limited luggage on the flight. I have accumulated so much stuff in my life thus far that leaving and sorting it all out was a pretty daunting prospect. It was very therapeutic though.

I sold what I could on Gumtree, eBay etc, and gave huge swathes of clothes, bedding, towels, kitchen equipment, and household items to charity. My dad let me store some items at his – all the important things I knew I would want on my return, and items from my childhood I couldn’t bear to part with, and I managed to get everything into my little car (before I sold it) to take to his.

I then just had a suitcase dad gave me, my “travelling” rucksack and my hand luggage to get the remaining stuff to France: laptop, a selection of shoes, a few books, clothes (a handful of staple items and one or two nicer items), a couple of coats/jackets, and make up (I *do* wear it occasionally) and bathroom/everyday essentials.

I still think I have brought too much. When I next “settle” somewhere, I think I am going to make it an annual tradition to sort through my crap and endeavour to buy fewer items in general.

I had forgotten how happy cooking made me

Living by yourself is hard when it comes to cooking. Virtually everything is sold in packages aimed at couples or 2.4 families, so most things that you cook end up being bulk meals, and when you only have one drawer in the household freezer and one shelf in the fridge, it can mean eating the same meal a few days running, and trying to find different ways to plate it up to make it seem exciting.

Because of this, there were a lot of times in the last couple of years where I really struggled to get enjoyment out of cooking. I either couldn’t afford certain things, or couldn’t face another week of chilli. My eating habits took a plunge and so did my happiness. It may sound silly, but I get so much pleasure in cooking for other people and when all you do is make variations of similar meals for yourself over and over again, I really struggle with that.

One of the agreements for me living at home is that I cook for us all twice a week. And I love those days. Don’t tell my mum though or she’ll make me do it everyday and we can’t have that 😉

Independence. Do I have it?

My mum and I are very similar. We react in the same way to situations, and get grumpy over the same stuff. We even sound the same and her sisters, my aunts, can’t tell us apart on the phone. Most of the time, however, that translates to us falling out.

It’s been a learning curve for both of us to find a way of communicating that doesn’t upset the other. Thus far, I think we’ve only had two full blown shouting matches, and they both could have been avoided. But then, they helped us clear the air and find other ways to deal with the situation (I can’t even remember what they were about, I *think* one might have been about what I was eating for lunch!).

I’ve either lived by myself or with friends/my sister for 10 years now. It’s not easy being in your late-20s and living at home. And I think as long as everyone recognises that, it starts to get easier for all involved.

I’ve found ways of getting time to myself, and with my own thoughts – running, gardening, cooking, reading, listening to music – nothing groundbreaking, but they are all important to give us all some much-needed space from each other.

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