Friday, November 12, 2010

Why Am I Still Here?

I've been thinking about this recently. Not terribly hard I must admit as I have little choice in the matter, but a couple of unused grey cells have been rubbing the question together to see what comes up.

When I say 'here' I mean 'where I'm living in France', which is down south just outside Montpellier. When I got divorced, I suppose I could have gone anywhere, including back to the UK. I thought about this of course but when it came down to it, I discovered that to move then would have been another terrible upheaval on top of an already horrible upheaval. I didn't have the stomach for it, not for me or the boys.

So I stayed. I stayed in my job, found a nice little rented house in a large village (prices are shocking down here to buy), enjoyed my network of friends, made new ones and settled down to being a single mother. A single mother in the land of cheap wine, a single mother in the region of sun, beautiful countryside and seductive climate.

But what is really keeping me here? The bottom line reason of all reasons? The boys. Their father would never let them leave France and would militate to have custody if I talked about moving away. If I left, I'd almost certainly have to leave the boys behind and that is absolutely quite out of the question.

In any case, what would I do if I went back? I'd have no TWDB, no job, no house, no money to buy a house and nowhere apart from back to my parents' to go. Tempting? I think not...

So I stay but I enjoy trips back and so do the boys. They love the UK. I sometimes wonder how they would find a British education. They seem to be surviving their French one which is as much as one can hope for given its strict inflexibility. I was amazed to learn that the history/geography teacher uses interactive flipcharts (like the ones I write) which require work to write, and expensive equipment.

My eldest has to interpret documents rather than learn solely by rote, and my youngest has a dynamic teacher who teams up with the dynamic head to engage the kids in a desire to learn. This will probably be sucked out of them in collège, but it may stick deep down for future use.

I'm stuck here in my tranquil rat race of providing a roof, food and clothes for myself and the boys. We like it here though, so while the obligation grates (as obligations usually do), at least we are relatively free to live how we want - independently and stress-free.

The 'how' is more important than the 'where', wouldn't you agree? If you can live how you want, the where becomes immaterial. Are you living how you want? Or are you living where you want and you're working on the how?

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