For this week’s entry we bring back guest blogger Maxine Tomashefksy who reflects on the transition period of retiring to a new country. Maxine had been involved in raising money for cancer in her native California, and decided that volunteering as a retiree in France would be an excellent way to be more involved in her community. This post was originally published on Maxine’s blog, Success to the Max.
There I was on Facebook, staying in touch with my friends in the USA, England and France. As I was scrolling through the different posts I stopped at a post from one of my friends in Southern California who shared a link to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. This fundraising event is of great interest to me as I was the Campaign Manager for the Light the Night Walk in Anaheim, California thirteen years ago shortly after the 5k evening walk had been introduced.
I had worked very hard to take the walk from its modest beginnings of $10,000 in funds raised to over $500,000 in just three years. It made me feel happy to know that I left such a legacy and that after 12+ years it is still raising over a million dollars a year for cancer research to find a cure as well as for patient support.
However after watching the video showing short clips of the walk and the large crowd of people – I even spotted a few of my friends – it made me feel sad as I missed not being part of it any more. Living in another country so far away makes it difficult to stay connected to things that once were a big part of my life. As I shared how I was feeling with my husband Steve, he reminded me that there is a cancer organization here in South of France – Cancer Support France (CSF) that will have opportunities for me to become involved. I am happy to say that I have already met with the leader of CSF in our region and we have discussed some of the opportunities that I have for getting involved with this wonderful organization.
Volunteering means laying down roots
Moving forward with our life here in France, we are fortunate that in a short time – less than a year – we have laid a strong foundation and planted many roots. We have a wonderful group of friends that have welcomed us and invited us into their lives. We know that it is important for us to continue being involved in local clubs and organizations, as we integrate into our village and the surrounding communities, as well as immersing ourselves into the French culture and language to really feel at home in our new country.
When moving to another country one needs to be consciously aware of the fact that there is going to be a transition period. I call it part of the process of letting go of the past, the familiar, people, places and things that you are used to and conveniences, too, and opening yourself up to a whole new culture, language, way of life.
There will be those emotional moments when you miss the people, places and things that you have moved away from. However it will open you up to so many new people, places and experiences on this new adventure as you continue your journey that we call life. Enjoy the Ride…
Written by Maxine Tomashefsky. For more information on getting involved locally, please see our post on “Winter in the Langudoc: Joining In” and feel free to contact us at Renestance for more information. You can learn more about Renestance’s support for Cancer Support France through our article on the CSF Cycling Event.
Natasha Freidus was Renestance’s first blog editor and web content advisor. She is a consultant and trainer specialising in multimedia storytelling. You can learn more about her work at her website, Creative Narrations. Natasha moved to Roujan from Seattle in early 2013 with her husband and two children.
All articles by: Natasha Freidus