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Sweet Relief

Thank goodness France voted in favour of M. Macron, just enough to save our souls from Le Pen and we now can rest a little easier for the next five years, cancel the moving vans, take down the for sale signs, many sighs of relief.......but I do hope he listens to the meaning hidden behind the numbers. It's not quite the huge victory he wanted I'm sure. Many of course didn't want to vote to him in at all, but felt they had little choice and it was either him, not vote at all or run the risk of voting in a Fascist. Sometimes voting isn't much of a choice is it? Lucky escape for us all I feel.

As a French Permanent resident, I am extremely worried about the anti migration movement, but I'm equally worried about the high cost of living in France. The France we live in post Brexit and pandemic is an entirely different beast to the one I hoped for, the one I wished for. The fact that Le Pen has a much larger following than expected is worrying and hints at a very upset French population.

As an Expat, I committed to living in France and paying my taxes which are eye wateringly huge, for a better standard of life and more time back in the bank. Am I getting what I expected? No, not really. Brexit has left us rather swimming in muddy waters. We have a five year right to stay but beyond that? Who knows what will happen? Who knows who will get in at the next presidential election? It's not really a 'right to stay' is it? It just a sticking plaster for a few years then what? I personally would like the right to live anywhere in the European Union, why not?

I've always felt strongly, if a person is willing to up sticks, work, pay taxes and invest in another country then surely their rights should be protected? They should be offered the same access to medical, benefits, loans and mortgages as the passport holders of their chosen country. We also need the right to vote.

Many Expats are self employed entrepreneurs because of the language issue. It's a hard knock life. Around the world being self employed is considered more risky, just like renters are in terms of mortgages. The world needs to grow up really!

It's not the same though is it? Thats the reality. However, if Le Pen had won the election we would have found ourselves in a far worse position and many Brits said they would leave France. I believe them. I certainly would have packed up my belongings and looked to live somewhere where I could gain citizenship pretty quickly. Many of us left Britain for something better, it would have been a shame to have to leave France in the same vain.

Later this year we hope to buy again in France. We can do this several ways. One, sell our property, use the money and our savings to buy again. That limits what we can buy, where and lets face it, there are mixed messages being given by agents in France as to how quickly houses sell, so we can add 'when' to that list!

We could instead just use what savings we have by the end of the year and put down a deposit on our chosen house. However, we have only got two tax returns (one employed and one self employed) in France and like many we are self employed. Mortgages appear to be super rigid and no matter how much we earn or how much we have to put down, high street banks keep saying no. There really is a lack of flexibility. Yet when we arrived in France my husband was in a full time job but income and tax in Canada and the answer was still no. It's super frustrating. Even if the bank says 'yes' we still have that issue of having to move our branch, which is archaic and utterly rediculous!

I had expected to have a full self employed tax return by now, but tax is only just due and so we are actually nearly two years in. At this rate we will die before we are 'allowed' a mortgage. At the age of 53.7 and 54.7, him and I we feel really nervous and also terribly in need of roots. Banking in France stinks and it still makes me cry.

I realise many expats arrive in France to retire early and have a pot of cash to work from but we are too young. We have been around the world and back again and its cost us in terms of, housing, financially and friendships. We are so ready to settle and soon!

We bought the wrong house in France back in 2017, it happens and of course we would like more options this time around. The wreck renovation inches forward, but I doubt we will be ready for the summer sales market. I remain hopeful and I'm probably putting a lot of pressure on my husband to get it done. Sorry about that Mr H. Of course, it will be a fabulous house for 'someone' but there has been too much water under the bridge for us. We've had her five years, it's time! I guess the issue, now knowing its value, is when do we stop spending?

Soon, I guess.

Back at home, I got H back to uni yesterday and she is super settled which is fabulous for Mummy H. The house is quiet without her, but she leaves a trail of mess for the purposes of memory. Git! I'm just so pleased she's found her tribe and is getting on with life with gusto.

We also lost an old friend last Monday. He had been bravely battling cancer for a couple of years and sadly lost that battle, but not without an incredible fight. It got me thinking about this strange life my husband and I have lived in our 33 years of marriage, here there and everywhere. It's cost us dearly in terms of friendships. I miss seeing people regularly and hope that in the future we can plant ourselves, so that the next phase has us making new friends, inviting old friends to stay and just finding a balance to our lives. I don't want to miss out on spending time with those that mean the world to us. We think we have time but often we don't do we?


D x

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