Chandeleur Crepes Recipe

As if any of us need an excuse to eat crepes but in case you do… the French have a celebration for that! Chandeleur.  While January is the month of the galette des rois filling every pastry shop, now all the cooking shops are filled with crêpe making supplies as everyone looks forward to the holiday…

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Third Trimester Check In

I’m officially into the third trimester and for the most part, this pregnancy has been going well. It may have started out looking a bit dodgy in the first trimester, and then there were a few weeks in the second where I had to be on bedrest (since baby was headed for the door) but…

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French road trip destinations: Soulac-sur-mer

I always think that if you’re going to come to France, you should plan some time to take a road trip (or at very least a train.) Why? Because this country is so vast and full of things to see beyond Paris alone. No trip to France would be complete without some time spent in the…

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Oh maman! Belly Balm DIY

I’ve started to take on some rather luscious morning rituals these days and among them is putting this lovely rich oil blend on my stomach when I get out of the shower. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in the battle against stretch marks! Some of you might know that before moving to France I…

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Enduring the move

I was still in grade school when I realized I wanted to live abroad. At the time I didn’t know where I just knew I saw myself living somewhere else. Just because I felt that way, didn’t mean I knew how to get there or what it would entail.  I read a lot of books before…

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  • Rob PJanuary 12, 2018 - 17:55

    In some ways, moving to Vancouver Island from Langley has been quite similar.  No paperwork hassles due to immigration issues, no language barriers, but some of the other issues were still there… Finding new doctor and dentist, living in a completely new place that we’d only visited before, securing housing, etc.  Some days all you can do is open a fine micro-brew (the “Wine” of Victoria…) and enjoy a quiet afternoon and forget about the difficult bits for a while.  And know that in the end, it will be worth it!ReplyCancel

    • Christina (Vine and the Olive)January 12, 2018 - 19:04

      Yeah, I think you’re right. Any move is a hard one. Getting set up just takes time and it is a hassle but it does pay off in the end. Being a frequent visitor can be a tricky beast because even though you feel like you know the place (especially because I’d be around for long stretches at a time) it doesn’t actually get you any further ahead. If it makes you feel better we like a good microbrew over here too… or at very least a good Belgian brew, because I gotta hand it to them, they’ve got more going for them than just the fries and the chocolates!ReplyCancel

  • IvanJanuary 13, 2018 - 01:05

    Enjoyed reading this article. Lots of sound observations and interesting to hear another perspective. For us, the hardest thing was getting a place to rent. Medical insurance was easy, and work was legally easy, although hard to find. Different regions in France also cause variation in what’s difficult — it  sounds like the area around Paris is more demanding in terms of courtesy than the southwest. Speaking to other people who have moved to France, it always amazes me how everyone has their own challenges…. But EVERYONE is exhausted and often bewildered by anything administrative here. It’s very, very hard to get your bearings, but it’s also a rite of passage, and if you get someone else to do it for you, you’re just delaying the inevitable. If you want to live, really live in France, dare I say BECOME French, you have to make it your personal project to understand and manage your finances, phone/internet plan, apartment rental, health insurance, work benefits, retirement, and everything in between. You have to be a functioning adult, and in France it means coming to terms with a bazillion acronyms and what they mean to you. Fortunately if you do research online, call and talk to a helpful person (50% chance), or visit a local office that is a real branch with helpful people (80% chance), you can learn a lot. Keep at it. Don’t give up.ReplyCancel

    • Christina (Vine and the Olive)January 13, 2018 - 09:25

      Absolutely! They definitely want you to show that you want to be here by jumping through hoops and I will say that I always hear that lodging is one of the hardest to tackle and I was fortunate not to have to worry about that. In general, I believe it’s better to arrive with a job than without one if you want things to move faster.

      The process of going through it though has really caused me to be more organized than ever. I wasn’t too bad when it came to going back and forth for four years (that’s a whole other story of crazy organization) but when it comes to documents or following up with people I have what I need or seem to get through things much faster now because I’ve got dates of phone calls, AR’s to prove they’ve received my dossiers and I am firm but calm and it seems to get a better response on the other end.

      I can’t help but laugh at your percentages about people on the phone and in person. There is a lot of misinformation or staff who either don’t know or won’t do their job (debatable.) It’s very frustrating but knowing to get a second opinion by talking to another person is a helpful tip!ReplyCancel

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