Some years ago we bought a new home in Limoux, France. I spent a fabulous 3 months travelling and researching the South of France and compiled a short list of properties. My husband joined me to inspect them and we ended up buying a house in Limoux.
These 3 months back then were easy as they felt just like a working holiday. I always knew I was going back ‘home‘ to Australia. I even came back to Limoux twice for a stint of 5-6 weeks to work on the house. Being in Limoux this time is different because now this house has become our home and it is the only one we have.
Since we bought the house in 2014 it has been the temporary home for a long list of Limoux lovers. Some stayed a week and some stayed up to 6 months. I moved here myself at the end of August – it was only me who left Australia initially. Keith followed me a couple of months later and here we are – living in our new home Casa Rita in Limoux 🙂
Still a holiday home?
Don’t be fooled that fast because the adventure still feels like a holiday and I am sure it will be for a while to come. The fact that we have so many countries nearby and to hear different languages on a daily base creates a true sense of holiday and adventure. That was very different in Australia because all I heard was primarily English for 25 years.
This is actually quite amazing as Australia has a population consisting of dozens of nationalities. It is not rare to be the only ‘real’ Australian on a party. By the way I am not venturing into the political issue of ‘genuine’ Australians so don’t get me on that one!
Different countries and languages
I speak 5 languages but I have not been able to do much with it during my time in Australia. A pity but so be it. Australians do learn languages in school but for a Dutch it is a laugh inducing low key affair. My daughter Zoe ‘learned’ 4 or 5 years Italian at Primary school. All she managed to master was ‘May God bless you’ (obviously a Catholic School) and the odd culinary term.
I thoroughly enjoy hearing and speaking other languages. I can be texting with my sister in ‘Dutch’, speaking ‘English’ to my husband and local expats I have met in Limoux and ‘French’ to my neighbours, local cafe owners and handyman. This can all happens in one day on more than one occasion.
The other day I was skyping with a long time friend in Switzerland. You may guess it right that the language was in ‘German’. She is Austrian and, yes, we talk German to each other. We met in Switzerland more than 30 years ago while working in the same hotel. No need to say that we stayed in touch.
The bottom line is that since I am in France I have so many chances to speak other languages and I absolutely love it!
Our home is in a tourist attraction….
My Austrian friend and I both live in a small town that are considered tourist attractions. She lives in Wengen, a ski resort that has only 1000 inhabitants although the population during the high seasons probably grows ten fold. Limoux has roughly 10.000 people but I am not sure how many people would be here during the busiest months. But I bet it is a fair amount.
I like it that Limoux is not only a tourist attraction. It was one of the reasons we chose to look for a house in this town. Limoux is a normal French town where people have more things to do than dealing with tourists. People have non-touristy jobs, there are two high schools, a hospital and even a psychiatric hospital.
The art to create a home
Looking back at my short stints and longer times in different countries I do feel that I seem to be able to make a home where ever I lay my hat – to say it in George Michael’s words. Must be the pragmatic Dutch in me – I get on with what I have and not with what is out of my reach.
So yes, although I am still a bit in holiday mode, I am enjoying the ‘settling in process’ and we are slowly finding our place in Limoux – meeting people and sorting out things. I am currently fighting the fight with the French bureaucracy…… to be honest really not that much worse than the Australian equivalent.
It is all about preparation, being friendly and asking for assistance. Somehow that does the job! So since shortly ‘home’ is in Limoux even when it does not feel like it yet. It just takes time 😉
See you soon!