It’s been a full week in Nantes, and overall, I’m feeling good about our move. Aside from the jet lag and poor sleep (the mattress in our AirBnB is terrible), I’m enjoying our new home city. I think I’ll enjoy it even more once we actually move into our own apartment and have all our own furniture (Ikea here I come!). Just another week and 1/2 until we can move in. And hopefully our stuff being shipped from the U.S. will arrive shortly after.
My first impression of this city is that its quite pretty and the people are all extremely nice. The architecture is a good mix of classic French & contemporary, and it’s extremely easy to get around the city, either by foot, bus or tram. The city is big enough to feel like a city, but it’s small enough that reaching different parts don’t take that long. There’s a good number of parks, and we’ve found the one where I think I’ll be jogging regularly (not too far from our future apartment).
We’ve also spent a ton of time doing administrative stuff. There’s always more paperwork to do, or one other person to speak to, or whatever. After living in the same place for about 20 years, it’s been easy for me to forget all the little details that go into establishing yourself in a place.
Of course, there’s a lot to explore, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m extremely looking forward to exploring the different neighborhoods here (like Baltimore, Nantes is very neighborhood-driven), the various areas and beaches around the city, and even traveling to nearby countries. I’m particularly excited about visiting Spain and Portugal, but also Sardinia, Denmark and Sweden, among others.
Many friends have said, sarcastically, how hard it must be to move to Europe. However, it’s important to know–it IS hard. It was extremely hard (and still is a bit) to let go of our house, which was as much a part of me as an appendage. It was an extension of our family, of my personality. It was the center of my life because that’s where I raised my family and a business (which is kind of like raising a kid).
The other side of uprooting your life and moving to a foreign country is that it’s really tempting to just spend, spend, spend on all the fun things, food, etc. But unless you have a job right away (which I don’t other than my freelance writing), you have to make sure you’re conserving your savings as much as possible. Which is hard when you don’t have a real refrigerator (our AirBnB has a mini-fridge, which can only hold about 3 days worth of food at a time), or you don’t have a real kitchen or even couch (again, our AirBnB falls down here). Granted, where we’re living is temporary, and we purposely chose an inexpensive place (again, we need to conserve savings), so the expectation wasn’t high. That said, it’s not home. Not yet.