Another Story To Deflect Taxi Driver Conversations


“I bought this bunny basket on sale for two Euros.” These are the words you use to shield yourself from further conversation with semi-private public transport. Other top hits include:
” I bought this ten dollar shirt on sale for five dollars.”

And the classic

” My cat [ beat ] eats dog food. ”

But I really did buy that bunny basket for two bucks as I take hold of France on sale. Look, I have four kids all in need of Easter Bunny happenings. It’s a good fit that I find a squishy bunny basket for my bubby bub.
So please, no comments. Let us enjoy the moment that is bunny-basket-on-sale and leave it at that.

Jean. Please step forward.

(actual photo from an online listing of a house for sale)

I’ve been looking for a house for no more than a year and one day.  I say this as a year in France has come to an end as of yesterday.  It’s been a gradual process.  At first, I saw houses … perhaps it’s time for a quick aside on buying a house in France even though I’ve not purchased one yet.  I say I saw houses and if you’re American, you think of an agent taking you around on weekends looking at all he houses s/he has lined up for you.  She picks you up in a comfy S.U.V. with a smile holding a latte and a perky attitude as though we’re going to knock this out of the park.  Kick some house hunting ass.  But this is not the picture I will paint.  The truth can be painfully realized  (or realised for the British audience ) walking through a typical conversation had in French by my super French speaking husband and an agent that happens to have a house we’re interested in.

Another beautiful Thursday morning in SouthWest France …
Brent: Hey! How are you? Great.  I saw this house that you’re selling.  Love to have a look.
Agent: Hello.
Brent: So … can I view it?  How about this weekend?  We’re flexible.
Agent: I need to call the sellers.  I’ll call you back.
[ after a cheap Rhone, some amazing pork, a little cheese and Valentine yogurt we skip to Friday afternoon.  Brent, understanding that 12-2 is lunchtime, calls the agent after lunch as he has yet to get back to us ]
Brent: Hey Madame! May I speak with Monsieur <insert agent name here>?
Madame: He’s not back from lunch [read as left for the day].
Brent: Oh.  I want to see a house this weekend, can he get back to me?
Madame: He’ll be back in the office on Monday [read as Monday late afternoon]
Brent: uh. Okay.

Et voila.  Rinse and repeat.  It is uncertain as to pin this crazy behavior (behaviour, love ya brits! mean it!) on The French or Southwest France or This Crazy Economy with Mortgages Going Bust and Buyers Few and Far Between, but DUDE, what’s a girl with money to buy a house gotta do around here to buy something!?
That said (hate that expression, promise never to use again), I’m glad it took so long because while I was trying to shove my Seattle living life into a quaint farmhouse in country France but with a better stove, I realized (sigh, realised … okay  done with this cute tactic … bugger that) maybe I want something different.     While waiting patiently for agents with houses to sell to get back to me, I figured out that what I really want is not the farmhouse, but the farm.  And so after much searching, an offer has been made.  A great farm that I want to buy.  Sounds simple.  Great.  Cut to America where you say, “cool.  I’ll take it.”  And Ms. Perky gets all done-deal on you and you find yourself nose high in papers to sign with the whole weekend ahead of you.  Wrong.  There is no Ms. Perky.  There is no done deal.  You’ve entered phase two of buying a house in France, which throws you into the front row, sweating but excited while you await the Randy Jackson and fellow Dawgs of France to see if you’ve made to the next round.  Three to six weeks of waiting while a technical committee decides if you buying that house is good for France.  Wow.  My project is good for France.  Here’s to hoping that I remember all the lyrics and that adding another farmer to France is a good thing.  And by definition, a YOUNG farmer at that!!! So we sit and wait while working on plan B.

(I think a rug will tie this room together)

One day, Three Kids and a Flight to the French Embassy

zee kiddies

I really wanted to fly in the night before, but as frequent flyer miles would have it, we JUST missed the time frame and were booked on a one day return to SFO and back. So many things to go wrong. We miss our plane. San Francisco fogs up and the flight is delayed. The Bart stops working. One of our three kids decides it’s a good time to poop in their pants. The points of failure are endless. I, of course, went through them repeatedly as I wait for my 3:30am alarm to ring. My three year old son does his usual pop in to say, “hello,” in the wee hours of the morning only this time we’re up and showering for our day’s adventure. The kids get ready, we get ready and double check the very long list of things to bring when you’re applying for a Long Stay Visa in France. We all got in the car on time and arrive at the airport no problem. Sweet! We’re running late, but the security line at this hour runs smoothly with all the done-this-before business travelers. Our flight is boarding already which saves us entertaining the children while simultaneously annoying said business travelers. Our flight leaves five minutes early. Are you kidding me? We land, hop on the Bart after super potty break. We actually might make our 10 o’clock appointment, unbelievable. After training the children to RUN REAL FAST through the subway exit thing before they get decapitated we surface and quickly locate the embassy. We’re early, huh. Hey look! Croissants and espresso, perfect! After our goodies were knocked back, we figure it’s time to show the French our personal documents and hand over our passports. The embassy lets us in provided we check our croissants at the door. In front of us are a pile of chairs with people who look like they’ve been waiting awhile. Brent sits in the pick me next chair and he’s up at the counter before I can fix Darth Vader’s broken arm for the sixth time today. Not even the building wide fire drill would distract the French from going through our plea to live in France for a few years. All five appointments were squished into twenty-five minutes. We were done before any of the children realized this was our final destination. Rather than wait for our six o’clock flight home, we opt for a fun ride on the Bart back to catch an afternoon flight. Another hitchless ride home that ends with pizza and beer on the table by four. Now we wait to hear back on where we live our lives for the next few years.