Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Letter From France

Well there's been a break through. I finally realised why I was getting very little action on the house swap site I have joined. Instead of posting that we live in Sydney, I put in my suburb instead. That's because by some quirk of nature in Australia, when you write your address, you don't include the city in which you live. So I just wrote my suburb, then New South Wales (my State), and Australia. That's the funny thing about Australians, we assume that we are the centre of the universe, when the reality is that the majority of the planet knows nothing about us at all.  No wonder I wasn't getting any offers, as no one knew I was located in Sydney until they clicked on my profile, which as we all know in blog land, has to be pretty "sexy"  to even catch someone's interest.

So the inclusion of the fact I live in Sydney has immediately netted the desired result.  It was with great joy that I opened my email yesterday to a beautiful email in French, that went like this:

Cher Carolyn,

Nous sommes français, mon mari et moi aimerions aller dans votre pays. Nous serions intéressés par un échange de maison en 2012 C'est notre premier échange.
Nous arrivons a la cinquantaine et commencons a nous faire plaisir par des voyages
Nous sommes actuellement en congé sabbatique afin de visiter quelques pays et de nous faire de nouveaux amis.
Notre maison est très agréable à vivre. La région est magnifique et nous y mangeons bien . Vous pourrez visiter la Normandie qui est à moins de deux heures de Paris.
notre voiture est a votre disposition
Seriez vous interessé ? et si oui sur quelle période?
Nous attendons votre réponse avec impatiente.

My school girl French allowed me to understand most of the letter. Before responding, I checked the authors' profile and it said they only spoke French.  My French is terrible, as you will see below, but I thought it only courteous to write back in French and I want them to know how I feel and they possibly wouldn't understand if I wrote back in English, here's what I wrote:

Dear Brigette et Eric
Merci pour votre email sympa.  Nous sommes tres interesent rester dans votre maison.  Je voudrais Julliet/ Aout/ Septembre pour un de trios mois.

Mon Francais est tres malade.  Parlez vous Anglais?
A cet moment c'est difficile faire un decision.  Peut etre nous decidons en Janvier ou Fevrier.  Je veux discouter avec mon mari.
Sydney Australia

I would love to go to Normandy, I read a couple of wonderful blogs written from Normandy, so I know a little of the region.  I also got out the travel books and this is one awesome place.  It's known military history stretches for over 1000 years.  From the Norman conquests by the vikings, to the launching of the last invasion of English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  To the D Day landings of 1944.

If that wasn't enough, there is the intense cultural history in terms of food and architecture.  It's only 2 hours from Paris and is located next to the sea.  Well who in her own right wouldn't want to live there for several months, if not a life time?

But the other thing that happened to me yesterday, was that I did Mr Beach Houses BAS.  For the uninitiated, that is the Business Activity Statement for the September quarter, which is basically then submitted to the Government  with a hefty tax cheque attached.  And that's the down side.  The bottom has dropped out of the boat building market.  Competition from  China, the fact that boats are a luxury item and the general economic downturn, has meant that our income has reduced by 75% this quarter, with no end in sight.  Going through the numbers yesterday really brought it home to me, that we are in trouble.  At the moment all we are doing is squirrelling together enough each week to pay our wonderful employee, who we so don't want to lose and putting food on our own table each week.

I don't want this to sound like a sob story, cause it's not.  We will be fine..... we still live in paradise in our own home and are all pretty happy.  But how ironic that on the day I get the first genuine offer to swap houses with someone in a beautiful region of France, that our true financial position is made very clear to me.

I wonder what it all means.  I am determined to get back to watch this space.

In the mean time, here are some shots I have pulled up from my photo library.  The weather has turned foul again, to match our financial status, so the photos I wanted to shoot didn't happen.

 I bet when the sun comes out I'll feel a whole lot better.  Healthy happy children and a husband who's doing his best to keep all the balls in the air.  Hey, I'm the lucky one here!!!!!

Have a great day gals.  I feel better already.  You're a true pal if you got this far.
Today I am partying at


  1. i know what you mean, my partner a builder. we've seen a lot of ups and downs. can be very tough! especially with young kids to look after. things can change though, so i guess we have to try to stay positive. maybe france will have to wait a bit longer. lovely pics today : )

  2. So love your plumeria blossoms, Carolyn. Enticing photos ...
    Have a beautiful week ~
    TTFN ~

  3. What a beautiful space! Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday-

  4. Hi Carolyn,

    What a wonderful dream to house swap with someone in France. It will come true. You will make it happen somehow :)

    Your blog is beautiful and I'm now following along.

    Kel x

  5. hang in there Carolyn. things will work out somehow. I'm sure of it. totally inderstand the tightening of belts! hope things look better soon.
    C xox.

  6. Keep you chin up Carolyn! I am positive you will work out a way to make this happen. Sending you lots of positive vibes! ;)Sharyne

  7. Carolyn...don't worry! Everything happens for a reason right? Your dreams will come true and in the meantime, as you have food and a beautiful home...most of us have been in that exact place. Also, if you want to hear about some awesome history soon, watch (my friend Maureen's blog) around Nov 11...she has a fabulous story to tell that day! Have a happy day!

  8. Yes, the economy sucks right now. It has hurt us and so many others, too. I would love to visit France someday. I will hold on to that dream and you hold on to yours.

  9. I hope the day comes when you can do the house swap. I have longed to go to France and would love to see someone's dream come true!


  10. bonjour! first of all how exciting that you got such a cool email. I can see why they would like to swap your house is gorgeous! I can so relate to you because I live in a CA paradise but by the skin of my teeth! This economy is a downer but luckily for now I have a job in paradise and hopefully things will turn up and it won't be so cereal for dinner kind of life :) In the meantime we just try to enjoy our view with cereal in hand :)

  11. I know how you feel. My husband hates his job and work, and is desperate to leave, but we can't afford to, especially as we are in the middle of the reno and not idea how much it's going to cost in the end, and the stress is taking its toll on both of us. Shame money has to get in the way of our dreams isn't it. I think you did a great job with your school girl French, and wouldn't a few months in Normandy be heaven, a wonderful and life changing experience for all the family. Hope you make your dream a reality soon.

  12. That really stinks but at least you have a contact in France and who knows maybe one day it will happen or something else will come along that is even better. Sometimes life works in weird ways. :)
    Love your photos!

  13. What I love about taking a break from blogging? Unabashed ability to comment. I love following your adventure to France. This is one of my 5 favorite blogs.

  14. Hi Carolyn I am very new to this 'posting-a-message' caper. I just want to tell you that your 'blog' (is this the correct term?) is beautiful as it is meaningful as it is down to earth. I have only been tuning in over the past fortnight and am addicted. Could not wait to clear up and bring our home back to some sort of order after the family left ... to switch on my computer and look at your latest pictures and message. A very happy and successful 2013 to yourself, your husband and children. Blessings - Edwina

    1. Thank you Edwina for this lovely comment. So very very kind.


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