Recently I wrote about things I miss about living in the U.S., now that I live in France. One reader commented that she would be interested to know what I DON’T miss, and I thought that was a great topic. So today, here is a list of the top ten things I don’t miss!
This article has been written by Sandy Shroyer for Renestance as a guest blogger. You can find follow her adventures in her blog at https://www.roaminretirement.com/
10. Expensive wine. In the States we were accustomed to spending over $10 per bottle, but in France we can get quite good wine for half of that. We spend less here on other things, too, such as food, healthcare, and transportation.
9. Gas prices. We bought an electric car, and we don’t drive a lot, so owning a car is much cheaper here (but of course, in France gas is more expensive than in the U.S.).
8. XL everything. We don’t miss the land of Super Big Gulps, outsized restaurant portions, huge houses, and huge cars.
7. Food (except TexMex!). The food here is fresher, cleaner, and tastier. There are exceptions, but for the most part we no longer feel the need to buy organic foods. Bonus: stores post the origin of produce, so it’s easier to buy food that was produced locally or regionally.
6. Lawn work. We don’t miss grass lawns (in Montpellier, most gardens have fake grass)—or the work, not to mention the water, required to maintain them.
5. Ostentatiousness. I don’t miss the mindset of “I make more money/have a bigger house/drive a fancier car/am more successful than you.” Here in southern France, it’s considered impolite to even ask what someone does for a living, much less to flaunt one’s success.
4. Tipping. When we visited the U.S. last year, we were astonished at how much we spent on restaurant meals (especially in New York; a martini in our hotel’s bar cost $21!). The 20% tip simply doesn’t exist here, although it is appreciated to leave a few euros for exceptional service.
3. Overconsumption. In the U.S., our last home (which was the smallest we’d ever owned) was 2200 square feet. Our French apartment is about 900 square feet, and it suits us perfectly. In the States we always had a car for each driver in our household; here we share one car, which we only drive about once per week. In France we’re learning to have only what we need, and we’re learning to want less.
2. Work. I had a wonderful career and worked for 49 years. I don’t miss it one bit.
1. Driving everywhere. In the U.S., we went everywhere by car, and heavy traffic was a daily headache. We didn’t even have a car for the first year in France, and even now that we have a car we mostly walk or take public transportation (but no, sadly we have not lost weight!).
Interestingly, I found it hard to come up with ten things I don’t miss (intentionally avoiding politics, of course). But if we ever left France, there would be an easy list of 100 things I’d miss!
In early 2022, Sandy Shroyer retired from her professional career. Her jobs have included cooking for hired ranch hands, serving as a community mental health center staff psychologist, performing various leadership roles in healthcare firms, managing a lot of highly successful sales executives, and selling technology and services to health systems and health plans. The best part of her career was people—those who became lifelong friends, those who irritated her into learning important lessons, and those who taught her things through their kindness and genius. Her superpower is connecting people, whether it’s professional networking, introducing friends who become friends with each other, or just figuring out who might like to know someone she knows. She tried never to miss an opportunity to have fun at work. Sandy and her husband traveled full-time in the United States during the pandemic, and they are spending their retirement in Montpellier, France.
All articles by: Sandra Shroyer