May You Live in Interesting Times
This is the last Nouvellettre® of the year (except for tomorrow’s French Property Insider). Every year I find it hard to believe that another year has passed, each one passing faster than the last. This feeling of time speeding up is due to relativity. Think about it: one year out of 20 feels a lot longer than one year out of 50, for example. So, with each passing year, the time feels shorter, even if nothing has really changed except for that changing relationship.
Last summer while traveling in Italy with my daughter, I was served an espresso in a cup that on it read, “May you live in interesting times.” That’s no joke. I asked the waitress if I could buy the cup, but she did what she probably wasn’t supposed to do—she gave it to me. It is a constant reminder that for good or bad, we do live in interesting times.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most challenging periods of our lives. It’s a kind of war—a war with an enemy we can’t see, smell, hear or feel. We have some weapons against it, but it’s new territory and we’re learning as we go along. Countries and companies are trying desperately to contain it and manage their liability, but they are basically “grabbing at straws” and in the process, we are all affected, both negatively and positively.
For us at the Adrian Leeds Group, it’s been a positive period for the company. When the first serious confinement went into effect in March 2020, we were completely void of any activity. That in itself wasn’t positive, but it gave us the time we needed to get our house in order—we were able to focus and concentrate on getting a new website up and running (five years and three web teams later); the chance to discover the advantages of a new program named Zoom that we hadn’t heard of till then that enabled us to reach a whole lot of people in an instant; and it gave us the time to simply reflect on who we are and what we want to become. I got healthier both mentally and physically in the need to combat the virus without fearing it. And we made a lot of new friends in the process.
You readers out there were reading more and watching a whole lot more video. You were surfing the web while dreaming of a different life in a different place. You were participating in Zoominars and online meet-ups to learn more without leaving your own homes. As a result, you came to us to help you change and enrich your lives by considering an investment in France or moving here. Business has been booming ever since, but that’s not the best part of the Covid-19 fallout. The best part is how many new friends we have made and for that I want to thank Covid-19 and all of you.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not taking the seriousness of the pandemic lightly. I have friends who have died. I have friends who became very sick, but recovered. I have friends who I have lost because we didn’t see eye-to-eye on the subject. This is certainly not the positive side of these interesting times we live in, but like most situations, there are positive aspects erupting from the negative.
This last Nouvellettre® of 2021 is devoted to thanking all of the new friends we’ve made during these interesting times. They may have started out as clients, but 99 times out of 100, they go beyond the business relationship and become real friends. Remember, when you’re working with someone to find them a home, you really get to know them well. You discover their assets and liabilities, their conscious and subconscious personalities, their strengths and their weaknesses…as do they discover ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you for believing in our ability to make your dream to live and/or invest in France come true! (Here are just a few of their comments)
Once upon a time, a friend of mine decided not to work with our team to sell his apartment because he didn’t want to “mix business with pleasure.” There are many reasons not to, according to articles you might find online, and it’s a general theory that many people live by. However, there are also reasons that make it advantageous to consider. Don’t forget that our friends have a vested interest in looking out for us and taking care of us best they can. Perhaps the friend will do a much better job than a stranger.
At the time, I remember thinking how for us it normally works the other way around—it starts with business and then becomes pleasure and turns into a real friendship. That speaks a lot for both our clients and for us—if we hadn’t done our jobs, then I doubt we would have become such good friends after all was said and done. Unfortunately, his decision to not mix business with pleasure affected our friendship, not maintained it, as I felt his lack of trust in our ability not only to do the work, but maintain the friendship, was in itself a real blow.
I will add, however, that you wouldn’t want to impose on a friend to provide a service for you free of charge. That’s when mixing business with pleasure is not a good idea. For example, if you have a friend who is a doctor and you call to discuss all your aches and pains rather than just making an appointment and paying for the visit, that might lose the friendship. I’ve met several people who want to purchase property say, “I have a friend who says he’ll help me so we don’t need you,” and I think “bad idea.” Is the friend an expert in the field? Does he have the time and willingness? Are they risking the friendship?
I’d also like to thank our staff and associates, who are also way more than that—they are our closest of friends who have remained loyal for many years and continue to not only do a great job for us, but for their clients. Bernard, David, Judith, Karina and Luz in Paris; Ella, Jennifer, Patty, Roni and Roxana in Nice; Martine and Laura, our designers/contractors; Schuyler, Janet and Said in the U.S. and France on the website; our money managers such as Kim, Brian and his staff; and my business partner, Matthieu. These are all people who deserve a big thank you for contributing to the success of the Adrian Leeds Group, and the happiness of our clients.
All of these people make up our “community.” So do you readers. You’re part of it and that’s how we think of you…as our “community.” We are all in the same boat for the same reasons and that makes us instant friends. So, to you I say thank you, too. Thank you for receiving the Nouvellettres® and for reading them, even if just time to time. Thank you for all your comments, both good and bad. Thank you for pointing out our errors (we know we’re not perfect). Thank you for voicing your opinion, even when you don’t agree. And thank you for loving France as much as we do.
We couldn’t do what we do without all of you. And we wouldn’t want to.
May 2022 be interesting times…
Happy happy new year!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. The little espresso cup was a special collaboration with Illycaffè and La Biennale di Venezia in 2019 on occasion of the 58th International Art Exhibition entitled May You Live In Interesting Times.