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Thursday, March 18, 2004
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
I am writing you from Delray Beach, Florida...where about 130 people have gathered to spend four days immersed in the subject of living overseas. It's the bi-annual Live Overseas Conference where the local offices of International Living and a variety of other "escape artists" gather to discuss the ways they can fulfill their dreams in some faraway land.
Naturally, we represent France -- Jocelyn Carnegie and I. The other local offices touting their wares are Panama, Mexico and Nicaragua. IL is also working on opening more offices in key points around the world (Argentina, Honduras, Italy and others) so some of these are represented, too, unofficially.
There is a definite split in thought between living in Central America vs. Europe, as you might imagine. The two offer entirely different worlds and for many, the decision is tough.
The theme for our presentation on France was PASSION. What better way to describe living there, n'est-ce pas?
It's taken me years to understand what "La Maladie" really is. That's the bug that gets under your skin the first time you see the Eiffel Tower and fall in love with Paris. It's a feeling you get that you can't explain...why do we feel so at home so quickly in a place we haven't spent more than 24 hours in?
It doesn't make sense, so it's a conversation often heard between expats and it wasn't until recently that I fully understood it. That's what I tried to express during the 45 minutes in front of the audience with a PowerPoint presentation -- a travelog of France, the challenges and the benefits and an assortment of homes currently for sale all over the country as low priced at $17,000 and as expensive as $2,000,000.
You know...France's public transportation ranks way up there and healthcare in France is still rated at the top by the World Health Organization. A quality education is of prime importance and virtually free of charge to all residents. Within hours you can be in another European country speaking another language and enjoying another cuisine thanks to a central location and high speed trains. If you're working in France, short work-weeks, bountiful vacation time and an abundance of holidays give you a chance to stop and smell the roses.
On the other hand, it's not easy to obtain the right to live in France if you're not an EU citizen and French is no piece of cake to pronounce, much less master. Learning all the nuances of a complex culture in order to effectively survive in it is one of the biggest challenges for many…and dealing with the tedious bureaucracy? -- well,
No, it "ain't" always easy. So, what is La Maladie? It's the PASSION that is the undertone of everything and everyone French. The French are simply passionate about everything they do and that undying desire to perfect every art is what I believe heats up the scene and keeps us coming back for more.
A la prochaine...
P.S. Happy 6th Anniversary to Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group! Celebrate over hot conversation and a bowl of Hot Chili, too on Saturday, April 3rd. Visit http://www.parlerparlor.com/ for more information.
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* Further resources:
* Need to understand how to make your dream to live in France come true, then take us up on a one-on-one.
* An International Living Paris Pied-à-Terre Can Be Yours
* Getting a mortgage in France is easier than you think
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