My arrival in France launched a whirlwind of social activity. When it came to starting my business and settling in, though, the fabulousness was mixed with challenges. I set up in my tiny Paris studio apartment, saw old friends, made new ones, went to an 18th century ball at Château de Versailles, visited new towns, saw amazing museum exhibits, ate delicious food, went fabric and clothes shopping, found treasures at the flea markets (brocantes), and found my own chateau to buy (follow along on Instagram: ChatelaineLife).
So amazing! So happy to be back! I’ve posted on Instagram about it, but I’m out of the habit of blogging (Instagram: LisaVandenBerghe). Soon after recovering and finally testing negative for COVID, I went back to Seattle for two weeks for a wedding, birthdays, and family visits. That was wonderful too, but put problem-solving on hold until my return.
A lot has happened since my arrival, and yet nothing has happened. I feel like I’m stuck in Phase One of my move, which in my mind was: (1) get my residency card (the carte de séjour or CDS); (2) register my business; and (3) apply for my health card (carte vitale or CV). Until I get my CDS, I can’t register my business, and registering my business is necessary to trigger my CV application. I also can’t register for driving school (necessary to get a French license) without my CDS. So I’m still paying private health insurance (ouch!), vendors don’t return my email inquiries because I’m legally not a business yet, and the loss of momentum has affected me getting fabrics designed.
With August only a few days away, when most of France closes down for vacation, I’m doubtful I’ll make much headway until the fall. I know things take time here AND I feel the clock ticking on my residency window of two years, so I’m calm on the surface and simmering anxiety underneath. I’m feeling pressure to get the ball rolling so I’ll have success under my belt when I apply to renew (which is only one and a half years away!), but also financial pressure to start generating income.
I’m back in Paris again, and I took a few days to myself to recover and regroup. During that time, I thought about ways that I can move forward with Phase Two (developing the business) while I’m waiting, did a bunch of administrative catch-up, and started preparing for what I’d planned to be Phase Three (relocating to a small town). Maybe Phase Two and Three will start at the same time? That’s a stressful thought! My personal belongings that I shipped have arrived in the Netherlands, so getting relocated means having all those tools that make life easier, plus things that make me happy, so maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.