How did I get here?
The pandemic forced me to think outside of my tidy little life.
The American political landscape: an attack on democracy resulting in a confederate flag in The Capital – the first time in the history of the United States. On my citizen’s watch.
Include what wasn’t a natural disaster – the cutting down of thousands upon thousands of trees to build cookie cutter house after cookie cutter house. The original topography from when we moved to Charlotte no longer exists.
A layer cake of COVID chaos, a divided nation, and abysmal urban planning left me decidedly depressed. I always have, and always will, feel patriotic, but something felt really rotten.
This was not a case of I think the grass will be greener (it is). But I did think there would be an atmosphere of calm (there is), and some lovely rolling hills (there are, so many, in fact).
COVID stole from us. And so many more. It stole a safety net, a business, a complacency. And so, the need for a change blew through the front door and like a spirit, wafted its way into me.
Because malcontent leaves you vulnerable to suggestion, I was primed to see signs all around me. We sat in the house for close to a year, leaving ample time to expose myself fo social media that I would not regularly have time for. Also, availability to look at a lot of things I had time for, yet never used or touched.
And boredom breeds snooping into other’s lives, simply by scrolling.
The concept of living abroad started with Thailand because if you are going to go, you may as well go big. It evolved around this great big ball we call the world to include Portugal, Panama, Italy, Greece, England, Mexico, and lastly, France.
The short list got whittled:
Chiang Mai has elephants and golf but is HOT and the Thai alphabet looks like curly fries.
Portugal, with its blue waters, beckons to expats but those who are the haves and those who are the have nots is notably apparent.
Panama is a part of the two Americas that I was not keen on – Central and South. Golf is resort based, expensive, and there might be a bandito around every bend.
Those Italian villages you read about, where they are courting people to take up residency for pennies on the dollar to revive them….we are too old for a major renovation – a well-known cause of divorce.
Greece, can’t touch this. An economically devastated country that is expensive!
England, I don’t do thatched roofs and the Queen requires pantyhose. And bad memories…I lived in Sheffield as a child where a farmer threatened to shoot our two Labradors that had leapt into his pasture and scattered his herd of sheep. True story and who could blame him? Plus, my daughter, newly relocated to London, would think I was stalking her and I would be.
Mexico also courts expats but refuses to cover any diabetes expenses. These things need to be considered. And, how much pico de gallo can one eat in a week?
France is central to so much. A stone’s throw to London. Steep in history, culture, and attitude.
We do not speak French and Howard detests mushrooms.
It is a country where we will raise our cholesterol and raise our glasses….Santé, to your health, and ours.
And so….Bonjour. Stay with me as we, along with our beloved Labrador, Sable, navigate our way in the region of the Haute Vienne. Most noted for the famous production of elegant and sophisticated porcelain.