I thought I'd provide a quick update on our France adventures, in case anyone's interested.
First of all, we bought plane tickets! The date of departure: September 8th, one week after Labor Day. We've handed in our 60-day notice.
Buying the tickets really was an act of faith since we're not certain the visas will come through in time. I've had quite the stymieing introduction to French bureaucracy in getting the paperwork together, including obtaining certified and notarized translations of birth certificates, marriage licenses, diplomas, etc. I've given myself migraines trying to translate phrases such as "I hereunto set my hand affixed seal" and "security features of this document include: intaglio border, V&R images in the top cycloids, ultra violet fibers and hologram image." In the end, we finally ended up hiring a professional translator who edited our feeble attempts and set her own seal of approval upon the documents.
Other news: a real estate agent in Lyon is on the hunt looking for a suitable apartment for us! This may not sound like a big deal, but we've been told by numerous sources that it's virtually impossible to secure housing in France without being there in person. Fortunately, we are incredibly blessed to have a church "family" that is looking out for us. We e-mailed the ecclesiastical leader (stake president) in Lyon, who responded within an hour and told us that he would pass our information along to the three leaders of the local congregations (bishops.) Shortly thereafter we were contacted by this realtor in Lyon who served an LDS mission in the British Isles twenty-five years ago. Leaving behind the comfort of home and family is very scary for me, but I feel peace and comfort knowing that where ever we go, we will have a church family to welcome us.
The sad news: we turned down our first apartment today. Our real estate agent found an apartment that was positively ideal in terms of location--a five minute walk from Lyon's gorgeous central park and a five minute walk to the metro. Unfortunately, it was a bit out of our budget. We're also learning that "unfurnished" in Europe means completely unfurnished--no fridge, no stove, no cupboards--nothing! Considering that the entirety of all our belongings will fit neatly into six suitcases plus a few carry-ons, this next year could be extremely interesting. I've always thought that beds were highly overrated anyway...
In the meantime, I've started an intense crash course in French 102 that meets for four hours a day, four days a week for the next three weeks. We've got quite the family juggling act going since I'm in class from 8-12, Jason has studio class from 1-5, plus I've got an online elective class that meets from 5-7 on the one day I don't take French. I keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it when we're chewing on baguettes and brie a couple months from now.
If anyone wants to visit, there will be plenty of open floor.