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It is hard to believe that today a whole year has already passed since we first opened the gate to our new home. What is certain is that it we have never lived so intensely before. Moving to another country is already quite something, but tackling a major renovation project and setting up a new business at the same time is of a completely different order. In the beginning, all we had was each other and the four walls of this big house. A blank canvas that we had to completely reshape, literally and figuratively.

That takes a lot of energy and creativity, and it goes without saying that those are not always there. There have been winter days when we walked dead tired through a hardware store in Tours (50 minutes away) picking out toilet pots and showers, only to find out that we had forgotten all the building plans at home. We’ve had meetings with our architect and the team of builders in the freezing cold when were so tired that we barely understood what technical details we had to decide on. We recently chose to totally change the design for the vegetable garden, which had been worked on for months. And we discovered that we had missed out on a big grant because we didn’t know it existed. There were moments when we almost lost it.

But now that the most difficult part of the renovation is behind us and spring is coming, the house and also Académie Le Grippault are beginning to take shape. New people and projects are presenting themselves. For instance, we are working on a retreat for people with eco-anxiety, a project very close to our hearts. And we are getting serious about our food forest together with the Association Forêt Gourmande.

We are a year on, a lot the wiser but above all, incredibly happy with our decision to take on this adventure. One year on we feel we are not the same people we were before our move. As we are renovating our house and land, we are also transorming ourselves. We feel that we are not the people we used to be. We have changed, or rather, we are in the process of changing. With every day we learn new skills, we master new French words, we press new physical boundaries, we transition into someone new. It can be unsettling on some days, not knowing exactly who we are, not being to able to trust on the identities we used to have. Until we realise that this phase of transitioning will always be and that by embracing it we grow. It is this transition that may very well be the greatest gift of embarking on this aventure.