French nationality

Old May 24th, 2012, 12:16 PM
  #141  
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Kerouac, I appreciate your kindness and your encouraging words. If I'm being honest, though, I have to say I think Pvoyageuse has a point -- maybe several in fact.

I wish that it had occurred to me to move to France when I was 20. It's not that my feeling for France (and for The Netherlands, for that matter) started yesterday. I didn't "suddenly decide" I wanted to go to France. But when I was 20 I lacked the confidence to do anything like that. It just didn't occur to me that I could. And then life happened to me. I got married, we had to deal with a serious medical issue, I had a child, I got divorced, and yadda yadda yadda. And while I was doing all these things, moving to Europe was not at the forefront of my mind. Now my daughter is grown and I have a small but adequate fixed income, and the dream I always kept at the back of my mind has raised its hand to get my attention again.

Only now I'm 62 (almost), and all the difficulties that Pvoyageuse mentions have to be considered. But still in spite of all that reality, I can't help asking myself the question: WHY can't I do this? I can't seem to give it up.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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Again, see if you can find the resources for a month long stay. Rent a small apartment, live frugally and see if this is what you really want to do.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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katkat - since you are Jewish you could move to Israel, obtain citizenship under the "law of return" and be qualified for all of the social benefits. It too has an excellent health system. This is not a difficult thing to do. As far as weather, summers in the Galilee are delightful.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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"I am also sorry you have taken StCirq's comments so negatively, because frankly she was only being honest with you."

Everyone here has been honest with me. Have you seen me react negatively even once before this?

"I would strongly suggest you save some of your resources and spend as much time as you can afford on a trip to Paris."

I would love to do that. I already know that I can spend 90 days in France just as a tourist, using only my passport. I actually have thought of these possibilities, even though I don't write down here everything that's in my head.

In fact, if I could visit France every year for at least a month, I would very probably find that a satisfying alternative to actually moving there. I can't even do that right now.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:28 PM
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"Rent a small apartment, live frugally and see if this is what you really want to do."

I've thought of that, but are most landlords willing to rent for only a few months?
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Then again, honestly, how do you propose to actually afford the move, adding up the expenses of moving, including airfare, shipping goods, etc? There will be fees with the paperwork, assuming you can get them, not to mention health insurance, appliances, etc. I do wish you well, good luck.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:33 PM
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"katkat - since you are Jewish you could move to Israel, obtain citizenship under the "law of return" and be qualified for all of the social benefits. It too has an excellent health system. This is not a difficult thing to do. As far as weather, summers in the Galilee are delightful."

That would be a really good idea, except that I cannot see myself moving to Israel. I would *love* to even visit Israel -- I've never been there. But I won't do it as things stand at the moment (and as they show no signs of changing).

I want to be very cautious about getting into a serious, controversial political issue here, but Israel does not feel like an option for me right now. I pray that someday it will be.

And I do, very much, appreciate the suggestion.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:37 PM
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"Then again, honestly, how do you propose to actually afford the move, adding up the expenses of moving, including airfare, shipping goods, etc?"

Exactly. That's why I wrote, "I can't even do that right now" at 4:25pm
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Old May 24th, 2012, 12:40 PM
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To answer your other question, yes you can find short term rentals - a month would be a good idea.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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katkat - I understand your feelings about the Israeli political situation and share many of these feelings myself. However, it is very diverse, politically and in many other ways, as secular as you want to be country that (and let's keep this non political lest this useful thread be lost) has been in the business of absorbing immigrants from all over the world for many years and has lots of supports for that including housing help and language classes - not to mention there lots of English speakers there. You could maintain dual citizenship if you like and could live comfortably within your income. For example, as a retiree, your health insurance payment would be a bit under $45/month and that includes most everything. Frankly, I don't know how you have been able to manage on your income in NJ - it has to be very tough. You could use some relief - being able to live decently within your fixed income in what is really a very diverse society is something to seriously consider.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:05 PM
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Katkat,

There is no need to pay for rent on a visit to France, there are ways of staying in France for free. You can house-sit for up to 3 months and hopefully sublet your apartment in the US to someone reliable if your owner allows it.

When we lived in the US, we used the services of house-sitters to take care of our cats when we were vacationing in France for two weeks. It was free pet sitting services for us and free housing for them so it's a win win. For some house sitters it's just a way of traveling around the world for cheap but for others (mostly retirees) it was a lifestyle. The site we used was http://www.housecarers.com/

So all you need to save is enough money for an air ticket and since you prefer to avoid summer you'd also be avoiding the highest air fares.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:18 PM
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"To answer your other question, yes you can find short term rentals - a month would be a good idea."

Wow. That's great. First good news I've heard in days.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:18 PM
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And just to add to the above: I'm assuming that a short-term rental would be less expensive than even a budget hotel?
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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"For example, as a retiree, your health insurance payment would be a bit under $45/month and that includes most everything."

Wowww! That definitely qualifies as awesome.

"Frankly, I don't know how you have been able to manage on your income in NJ - it has to be very tough."

Ohhh yeah. You have no idea. It's been hell on earth, although it's not hell on earth anymore, it's just difficult and frustrating because I can't afford to do anything that isn't necessary to sustain human (and feline) life. But from 2000, when I divorced, and 2009, when my SSD app was approved, it was a nightmare.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Yes, you can find a rental for a month or for 3 months. They will be vacation rentals, so they might not be terribly cheap, but deals can often be struck. If you can find a house sitting job, that would be perfect.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but a month long visit to Paris (or anywhere foreign) is not likely to give you any serious example of what life is like there. However, at least it will get you IN the country to have a more recent look-see.

Since you won't have to deal with anything serious, no utility hook-ups, no insurance, no taxes, no residency cards, no break down calls (for utilities or otherwise), no letters required to read, no major purchases, no deliveries to arrange, no directions to give or take (short of how to find a metro stop), you will only be getting a tiny sample of what it is like to be in France.

I'm am NOT discouraging you, but I would suggest you spend ONE year in France, if you can get a VISA. However, this would require you giving up your apt. in N.J. Could you use your daughter's home as a return brief stopping point IF you want to return at the end of the year. Then, you'd know you have a place to return to (temporarily) at the end of your year in France. This is a comfort zone issue.

If you know going in that you have one full year to see how you like it, I think it will feel less overwhelming. You know you will have a full year to enjoy (hopefully) and get to really know the system. You will also know that you have an end and if all goes pear shaped, you will be able to return home.

You'd still need the VISA and you'd still have to apply for the carte de sejour on arrival, as required by the Long Stay VISA process, but it seems much more logical under your personal circumstances.

Just an idea to add to your already growing thought process.

We rented for our first year in France. It gave me time to get to know how life works in France. Our daughter was 7 at the time, so I HAD to integrate. Still, renting that first year was the greatest thing we ever did.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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In addition to the housecarers.com website I listed above, here are other house-sitting websites. Hopefully you'll find a great match in either France or the Netherlands:
http://europeanhomesitting.echs.eu/
http://www.housesitworld.com/europe/
http://www.mindmyhouse.com/owners/sitter_listing/2919
http://www.housesitads.com/
http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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I don't know if it is appropriate for you, but might want to try house exchange. We are exchanging this summer with a couple from Amsterdam and we are renting a flat in Paris, but we own our house (the bank owns it, but it pay it every month not to take it away (joke)).
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:42 PM
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"I'm assuming that a short-term rental would be less expensive than even a budget hotel?"

Yes, especially off season and more comfortable - even in a vacation rental.
Check if heating is included. It adds up very quickly in winter.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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This thread is extremely valuable. Many posters are replying , I think, in a sincere and realistic way, according to their individual experiences. I’ve been following the thread, but will simply begin ‘at the end’.


>>>Kerouac: ‘all it takes is a little patience to get what you want out of life.”>>


AND, >>>Pyvoyaguse: Kerouac : good for you but you can't really compare your circumstances with katkat's. You were 20 when you moved, you were presumably fluent in French - she is 60, an age when it is more difficult to learn a foreign language because memory starts to fail you. At 20 one makes friends easily, one does not mind bumming it for a while. At 60 it is a different story. You got a job, she is retired - i.e. little contact with the outside world that a job provides. In Paris she'd be a little above poverty level - slightly better off in a small town somewhere. But she'd be very isolated. She won't have many opportunities to make friends in Smalltown, France. This would be my main concern if I were in her place (which I'm not !).>>>>
__________________________________________________ _____

I think that you’re both ‘ right.’
KITKAT, everyone is replying within their own experience. What you may see as ‘a negative post’ is only based on how each one would make this step . My overwhelming impression is that the replies that tend to sound ‘negative’ are based on the fear that you are ‘Not Taking Care of Yourself’. You need to make yourself aware of all possibilities and, Take Care of Yourself.


We are sympatico in some ways….same age, not having a wealthy situation, love the idea of living in France. ( for me, living in Paris.)


We are different in other ways…I’ve visited Paris (and Provence) 7 times in the last ten years. Longer visits, 5 of them for a month at a time, renting apartments. (good choices, they were relatively inexpensive and, beautiful.) I deliberately chose the longer visits, almost hoping that once I was there in a somewhat ‘more normal’ situation that I wouldn’t be as obsessed. WRONG. I loved it more with each visit. The longer visits were lovelier on many different levels, levels I had not even been aware of. Yes, more daily problems, but also more moments of beauty. Out of time, out of place.


Someone above suggested you visit specific ‘expat’ forums. Good idea. Essentially, visit and post your question on any relevant forum. (ie: TripAdvisor/AnyPortinaStorm/SlowTravel/OurParis/ThornTree etc. Some good thoughts may come.


Of course, you could read some books on moving to France. This is not as obvious as it may seem. Most of the huge available book market re: France seem to be written by people 25-50 (the oldest). While good, occasionally relevant, and entertaining , they are written by people who are 20 years younger than you, with vastly different issues, which brings us back to Pvoyageuse’s comments. (early quote in this post).

Note: if you are at all serious, learn how to speak French! This will ultimately be the beginning and the end of your experience.

OK. For you, since moving to France does not involve selling your home:

The Worst Case Scenario:
You decide to go to live in France and ‘leave it all behind’. However, within months you are unhappy, lonely and hate the life.
Mulling it over: ---‘would I rather be unhappy, lonely and miserable in France, or, would I rather be unhappy, lonely and miserable in the US?
This is, of course, the Worst Case. What you propose is a Risk. But, it could easily have good or great results. Who knows?








This thread is extremely valuable. Many posters are replying , I think, in a sincere and realistic way, according to their individual experiences. I’ve been following the thread, but will simply begin ‘at the end’.
>>>Kerouac: ‘all it takes is a little patience to get what you want out of life.”>>
AND, >>>Pyvoyaguse: Kerouac : good for you but you can't really compare your circumstances with katkat's. You were 20 when you moved, you were presumably fluent in French - she is 60, an age when it is more difficult to learn a foreign language because memory starts to fail you. At 20 one makes friends easily, one does not mind bumming it for a while. At 60 it is a different story. You got a job, she is retired - i.e. little contact with the outside world that a job provides. In Paris she'd be a little above poverty level - slightly better off in a small town somewhere. But she'd be very isolated. She won't have many opportunities to make friends in Smalltown, France. This would be my main concern if I were in her place (which I'm not !).>>>>
__________________________________________________ _____

I think that you’re both ‘ right.’
KITKAT, everyone is replying within their own experience. What you might see as ‘a negative post’ is only based on how each one would make this step . My overwhelming impression is that the replies that tend to sound ‘negative’ are based on the fear that you are ‘Not Taking Care of Yourself’. You need to make yourself aware of all possibilities and, Take Care of Yourself.
We are sympatico in some ways….same age, not having a wealthy situation, love the idea of living in France. ( for me, living in Paris.)
We are different in other ways…I’ve visited Paris (and Provence) 7 times in the last ten years. Longer visits, 5 of them for a month at a time, renting apartments. (good choices, they were relatively inexpensive and, beautiful.) I deliberately chose the longer visits, almost hoping that once I was there in a somewhat ‘more normal’ situation that I wouldn’t be as obsessed. WRONG. I loved it more with each visit. The longer visits were lovelier on many different levels, levels I had not even been aware of. Yes, more daily problems, but also more moments of beauty. Out of time, out of place.
Someone above suggested you visit specific ‘expat’ forums. Good idea. Essentially, visit and post your question on any relevant forum. (ie: TripAdvisor/AnyPortinaStorm/SlowTravel/OurParis/ThorTree etc. Some good thoughts may come.
Of course, you could read some books on moving to France. This is not as obvious as it may seem. Most of the huge available book market re: France seem to be written by people 25-50 (the oldest). While good, occasionally relevant, and entertaining , they are written by people who are 20 years younger than you, with vastly different issues, which brings us back to Pvoyageuse’s comments. (early quote in this post).
Note: if you are at all serious, learn how to speak French! This will ultimately be the beginning and the end of your experience.
OK. For you, since moving to France does not involve selling your home:
The Worst Case Scenario:
You decide to go to live in France and ‘leave it all behind’. However, within months you are unhappy, lonely and hate the life.
Mulling it over: ---‘would I rather be unhappy, lonely and miserable in France, or, would I rather be unhappy, lonely and miserable in the US?
This is, of course, the Worst Case. What you propose is a Risk. But, it could easily have good or great results. Who knows?
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Old May 24th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Basingstoke and FrenchMystique, you have lifted my mood with your encouragement and the information you've given me. It occurs to me that if I retired to Israel, I could afford to travel to France! How's that for win-win?
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