As the old year leaves us and the fresh year arrives I always find it a time for reflection, and in some ways a little bit of melancholy for what we have lost: Time that we will never recover not being the least of it, things we have left behind, mistakes we have made. I think that nature provides a bleak canvas for us to enhance our thoughts if we allow.

The new year however also provides us with a blank canvas, on which we can paint our own picture for our life, a picture of hope, anticipation and excitement. But I truly believe that you cannot plan for your hopes without considering what you may have changed, or what you have learnt from in the last year. Here is what I have been thinking.

I started last year with an element of fear and sadness. I wanted to have an adventure, I wanted to make change, and I knew that I could no longer continue what I was doing without becoming really ill, to such a degree that I may not be able to return from the place my illness would take me. So my adventure, to get lost in France,  was, really, the only way that I could go. I wanted it, I embraced it, but I was also sad. I had all of the memories in our home, of things that had happened there, the excitement, hope and anticipation that we had when we bought the house.

I was going to leave people that I loved behind, and I hoped that they would understand, but it was clear at that time that they did not. Reflecting on that now some still don’t. That has been a key thing for me this “season of goodwill” because some people that I love did not, and were not in contact with me because of the choices I have made.

Looking back now perhaps I should have understood more the impact that my move would have had on them; but I also feel a sense of disappointment that some people cannot wish you well and hope the best for you.

I have come to realise that we will not hear from some people again; but I have also come to realise who my true friends are, one particular friend who sent me a beautiful letter, explaining how my decision last year has made her reflect and consider her life in the future, more importantly for me she has urged me not to change. It made me smile and cry at the same time, because I found Christmas very difficult this year. (Relieved in some way  by the Soap Opera situation in my kitchen on Christmas day!)

Other friends, some who  have embarked on their own adventures in other lands, emailing me on Christmas day, just to say that they are thinking of me, and love reading about the life that Rich and I are trying to make; others always staying in touch and helping us from afar, like mother hens. I just want to say that their love and support does not go unnoticed.

Moving here has been a steep learning curve, not least in understanding how vast France is,  the size of each region  – our initial rental property was near Chartres Sur La Loire in Sarthe, over one hundred and fifty kilometres away, so it was a joy moving us here!

I have learnt that reliability and integrity are commodities over here, which luckily are something that both Rich and I have in abundance, albeit I was told once that I had too much integrity!

I have learnt that you should not always believe everything you are told and that you should always do your own research!

We wished we had been as good with money and less wasteful when we earning good salaries in England – we would be so rich now if we considered everything as we do now!

We have met some wonderful people since moving here, we have also realised how strange some people can be, and although this can be the same in England it seems to be a little intensified over here, because the circle is so much smaller. We have seen friends leave because ‘good old life’ has changed their path for them, even though they did not want it to. We wish them well in the future and hope to see them again.

We have come to realise the importance of the ‘hear and now’, what is the point of planning and always thinking way ahead,  or worrying about what might happen when the only thing that actually exists is the very moment you are in – deep I know!

I suppose that more than anything I am learning to appreciate the small things in life, the simple things, and loving every moment of it.

So here is to a positive new year, enjoy the cold! Enjoy the spring and the hope that it brings with it, love the summer and the long summer evenings, (mind the hornets though!) don’t let your walnuts go to waste in the autumn, and most importantly love the one your with – even if it is only you!!

Make new friends, trust a little bit more, let go of those who make your life bleak

Happy New Year – albeit a little late!

Moisy