It's only with the prospect of leaving looming over me that I have come to realise how rooted I feel here. How the familiarity of where I live is my home. All my life I have sought adventure and now instead of it beckoning and pulling me towards it there is something that yearns for my feet to remain planted on the ground, on the floor of our house and the pavements of the streets I walk every day. My babies were born in the hospital on the hill which I can see from here and their lives lived out here so far and so too my life as a mother. An identity that seems to have consumed me over the past three years.
As is perhaps often the case when we make 'big' decisions in life there is an initial excitment and giddiness at the prospect of what will be new and then start all the mundane considerations which allow time for doubts to creep in. My shyness of this adventure has surprised me.
Moving to France is hardly the most adventurous move we could be making. Renovating a small French village house has been done many, many times before so there is little about our plan to provoke the cold feet I'm dragging along at the moment. This move is relatively safe and not really unknown to us (my partner is French and I have lived in France before) and before having children I envisaged taking them away for months at a time, treking accross exotic mountains or tasting new foods in bustling market places. For the time being I think it's wise that for now we're trying a path well trodden to somewhere closer to home.
The most significant change will, I think, be moving from our urban life in a bustling, exciting and friendly city to a small, rural French village and the life that comes with it. This distinct upheavel to our lifestyle is welcome but not because we are unhappy with the one we have, we just that we want to try something different too. It's what I know I will miss that makes my roots here feel stronger; my friends, my family and the community we are part of. It's as if what I believe to be best for our family is in conflict with what is already pretty good for our family.
We plan to spend the first three to four months living in a tent (or tents) to save on the cost of renting somewhere (not really viable on our super small budget) and to enjoy being as close to our natural surroundings as possible. I'm excited at the prospect of waking to the sound of birdsong or raindrops or wind or to the heat of sunshine through the tent walls. I want the girls to wake and unzip a door and be instantly outside breathing in the fresh air and walking barefoot on grass. I'm looking forward to not having electricity on hand in the evenings; to read books until it goes dark or write with pen and paper. This is some of what is pulling me, most of it is about being more present in our natural environment and further away from the distraction of technology which I often find to be in conflict to what I want my children to experience in their early years.
I'm trying to keep these images in mind during the times when I think I want to stay here and continue my lovely routine of playgroups, parks, museums and everything else here which makes it so great. Sometimes changes feel overwhelming but I believe that I might regret not making them if I let my attachment to my life right here and now dictate the decisions I make.