One of the most common questions we get about our move to France—aside from “Why did you move to France?” doesn’t relate to our move, but to the U.S. “What do you miss most?” we’re often asked. So, I decided to give that some thought. Here are the ten things we miss most about living in the United States:
1.Family. We have a son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in Texas, as well as extended family in Texas, Oklahoma, and California. Traveling back for a visit is expensive, so we only make it back once or twice per year. And even when we do go, we can’t possibly see everyone. That is by far the greatest downside of living in France. But we’re grateful for technology that keeps us close, and for the depth of relationships that ensures we’ll stay close despite infrequent in-person visits.
2. Friends. We are so fortunate to have wonderful friends in the U.S., some of whom have become our “family by choice.” And some of them have already visited us here, which has been wonderful. But we miss our friends, and we often wish we could just bring them all here to be with us on this adventure.
3. Mexican food. We LOVE TexMex, and it’s just not the same in France. Visiting friends occasionally bring us RoTel (a canned tomato/green chili product) and Velveeta (which I hate, but it DOES make good queso!), and tonight I’ll be making chicken tortilla soup with some of our precious ingredients. And we have cool neighbors from Chicago who invite us over for Mexican food. But nothing matches Austin’s breakfast tacos.
4. Speaking English. We’re working hard to learn French, and I can manage fairly well in shops and restaurants now, but it’s not easy! It’s a relief to be in a country where we can speak our native language everywhere.
5. Shared history. We can’t believe how many wonderful friends we’ve made here in Montpellier, many of whom we met through our Renestance friends. But the friends of 50+ years, with whom we share so much history, are far away.
6. Familiarity. We love adventure, especially the constant discovery of life in France; everything is new to us. But when we visit the U.S., it’s nice to revisit old stomping grounds, favorite restaurants, and even familiar geography where we don’t have to rely on GPS.
7. Baxter. When we decided to travel full-time during the pandemic, we had to find a new home for our cat, Baxter. He loves his adoptive parents and his new home, but we still miss him terribly.
8. Favorite foods. Frozen limeade for margaritas, Mexican ingredients, Pepperidge Farm Herb-Seasoned Stuffing Mix, bountiful fresh corn, bison meat, barbeque, iced tea, breakfast tacos, big breakfasts with biscuits and gravy, and Central Market’s annual green chili scones.
9. Our house. We loved our house in Wimberley, Texas. I still sometimes look at pictures with longing. But we bought an apartment in Montpellier—with the help of Renestance founder Dennelle Taylor-Nizoux—and we’re renovating it! We love it already.
10. Easiness. Everyday life in the U.S. was easy. We spoke the language, understood laws and rules, were familiar with the culture, had two cars so could come and go as we pleased, had established relationships with doctors, dentists, etc., and generally could live much of our lives on autopilot.
But here’s the thing: we didn’t WANT to live on autopilot! We deliberately chose to live in an unfamiliar place where we didn’t (yet!) speak the language! We chose adventure, with the intent to be lifelong learners. And so far, with lots of help from Renestance, it’s working just exactly as we’d hoped. We feel lucky every day to be living this amazing life in France.
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/
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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