Our first weeks living in France: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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If you have been following along on Instagram you have seen a lot of the good. Baguettes, croissants, 5€ bottles of rosé, unseasonably warm weather (65 degrees!), gorgeous landscape scattered with wildflowers, ancient castles, and the most delicious goat cheese you could ever know. 

It is fun to share the highlight REEL, but let us get REAL. Moving across the world with two children and not much set up in advance (while on a tight budget) is not all croissants and macaroons. We have had sleepless nights, cranky children, bureaucratic red tape that feel impossible to navigate – all the while not having a car or a house to call our own. 

Depending on my mood – I view this move in one of two ways: 

  1. It is either a wild and beautiful adventure that stretches our family to new limits and potential, aiding our growth and openness to the world and its people. Or

  2. George and I are wildly irresponsible for thinking this would work – we are alone, poor, homeless, carless, and have two children who have no f*cking clue what is going on – and cannot speak to anyone. 

I prefer the former but in my darkest hours I admit I feel the latter. And what has been so clear to me is that my degree in which I feel 1 or 2 is directly tied to my state of mind. Because the facts are the same – regardless of how I look at it. 

Before arriving to France I had a very committed and ritualistic morning routine. This routine filled up my cup and took care of my soul in a way that nothing ever has. I had my sweet little corner in my room for a warm and cozy meditation, surrounded by piles of books and journals to learn and reflect. A yoga routine with a community I treasured and a bath tub to ease my energy at the end of the night. I also had the girls in childcare and breaks of time in my day where my attention did not need to be on them 100%.

Since moving from Arizona two weeks ago I have slept in four different beds and my time clock is all over the place. I have not been waking up before the kids for my routine and have not figured out where it fits in. I have not found yoga and I have no car or childcare (yet) to go to a class even if I found one. Until yesterday I did not have a bathtub or a home to call my own. 

Stripping away my toolbox has given my spiritual connection a run for its money. I know my center is there and I have had glimmers of it (like when flower crown making, for example) but mostly my center feels hidden. It has been humbling to witness my challenges all the while giving myself LOVE and KINDNESS for the realities of this moment. Because this logistical and material state of being is temporary – we will find a permanent home, long-term car, schools for the girls, and a routine I can count on. We will learn French, make friends, and travel. No one has forced this life on us, we actively chose it. 

And until then, I have a choice of how I want to view this moment. And that choice does not come from will, it comes from deep within and only after I have taken care of myself. 

These two weeks have reminded me, very deeply, that without my spiritual connection I have nothing. How I feel my best and truly show up for my kids, husband, and life is directly related to prioritizing my self-care needs first. I have known this mentally for some time – but these past few weeks have made me feel it on a new level and I am grateful for that. 

I treasure my spiritual connection because it gave me the courage to start my own business supporting mamas. The bravery to move to France and experience the unknown. And most importantly, how to experience deep joy and fulfillment in the moment. Without it, I would not be where I am today.

So I am back to the drawing board and called to find new and creative ways to make time and space for meditation, reflection, movement, grounding, and connection. I even revisited my top 10 meditation tips for busy mamas as a reminder of how to reestablish routines and boundaries for my practice. To stay on the path I must make a choice every day to show up for myself and some seasons are easier than others. And I have no doubt there is deep purpose in this experience – as there is with any. 

Kelly Brusch