Settling is sometimes not as straightforward as you like!

After a lovely 2 months of settling in our house Casa Rita in Limoux and in French life generally, we left France and headed abroad. Not so much because we have the urge to travel but because we have things to do and functions to attend elsewhere.

There is a wedding and this is exciting as it is the first family wedding that we are able to go to after 25 years in Australia. Coming to Europe for a party or a wedding is rather far when you live Down Under.

Then there is a 40th birthday party. While living in Brisbane a family from Belgium moved in next door and we became good friends. Some years ago they returned to Belgium but we stayed in touch hence the invite for the party. As we are living in Europe now we can actually go and party with them!

Last, but certainly not least, we need to organise our youngest who has set her mind on student life in the Netherlands. As she occasionally did got ‘lost’ in Brisbane we feel we need to give her a bit of Dutch guidance to start off with. I am aware she reads my blog on occasions and surely I will get told off for what I just said!!

Not settling as yet!

To be honest I do feel a bit displaced. I would have preferred to continue settling in Limoux, find some work, make friends and create a home. So what is going to happen in the immediate future? I recently listed our plans in an email to some Aussie girl friends and it seems like a ‘Japanese’ style tour of Europe.

The plans are as follows:

  • After leaving Limoux by plane to go to London, we could immediate welcome our youngest daughter, Zoe. A couple of days later our oldest daughter, Yasmin arrived from Melbourne. She came on the same day that Zoe and I left for Amsterdam to visit an Open Day at one of the universities.
settling, Amsterdam, grachten, canals

Canals or ‘grachten’ of Amsterdam. Before being tourist attractions they were used for transport and sewage!

  • We spent 4 days in The Netherlands and had the opportunity to see a bit of Amsterdam, Haarlem and Rotterdam. We took the bus from London to Rotterdam, something I won’t recommend to anyone 😯 . Not so much because of the bus but because of the delays caused by the Channel train. It turned out to be a tedious trip both ways!

Amsterdam, pigeons

  • Amsterdam is a great city and Haarlem is a bit like ‘little Amsterdam’. We only had about 6 hours in Rotterdam but I was overwhelmed by the presence of this city. Bombed flat in WW2 there is little history left but how the Dutch have rebuild this city and created the biggest harbour in the world is quite amazing. I know for sure I want to return to spend more time to see it all.
Rotterdam, architecture

Kruisplein in Rotterdam. A city full with amazing architecture

  • Back in London we are preparing for the wedding. You probably get the gist, a new outfit, hair, make up and more. Coincidentally a while ago I have set myself the challenge not to buy anything new for a whole year. This started in August 2017.
  • I found a nice outfit months ago in a charity shop in London and planned to wear shoes that I had sent via our removal company. Unfortunately our shipment is late and my shoes are still floating somewhere on a container. I searched everywhere for a pair of shoes in a charity shop. After weeks of missing out by size I found a suitable pair in ‘almost’ my size for 4 pounds. It will do for one day and I did not have to break my challenge 😀

Back home to France

  • A couple of days after the wedding we are heading back to France. We know some people who live temporarily in Bordeaux. They have kindly invited us to stay in their apartment when they are on holiday. We will be there for 4 days and take the train from Bordeaux to our house in Limoux. To be able to do this with the four of us is special because it may be a long time before we will spend time in our house with all of us. Yasmin, our oldest will be settling in Melbourne and start a graduate position with a consultancy firm next year in February.
Canals, Ghent

Along the canals of Ghent.

  • From Limoux we are heading to the party in Belgium. We are staying two days in Ghent and two days in Deinze, a small village near where our friends live. After that Yasmin will leave us to do ‘her own thing’ in East Europe. While we are returning to Amsterdam to meet my sister who is off to sunnier horizons for a while.
settling, Bunne, Groningen, walking, sunrise

The country side around Groningen is flat but absolutely stunning.

Temporarily settling in Groningen

  • We can stay in her house while settling Zoe into the city of Groningen. I have already discovered that also in the Netherlands bureaucracy is a ‘necessary evil’.  Consequently it will be document shuffling, making copies, getting them certified and waiting in queues. All to make her officially a Dutch citizen………..
  • From Groningen the journey continues via Bremen, Germany back to London for a family Christmas. From there it still seems a bit vague, but I am sure more concrete things will evolve.
settling, home, France, Limoux, buying a house

Studying the map and deciding where to go next

A long list and it may seem a bit crazy or too much for some.  Sometimes it just is what it is – one of my favourite mottos in life. And for that reason I will end with saying:

‘to be continued….

Love from anywhere in Europe 😀

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