It seems like all over the world spring has finally arrived! Diane has wrapped up her spring shows, I've moved and we are all ready to enjoy the summer!
I’ve been lucky to meet many of you, Diane Kroe’s wonderful customers! If we have met at any of Diane’s shows you know that I decided to take a huge leap this summer and move to France for a year!
You may also know that the main deciding factor for this move was so that I could build my relationship with my incredible partner Mickael. If you’ve followed my personal blog at all you may know him as my "fearless leader” on our 2 month road trip into the wilderness of America and Canada last summer. Coming from two different countries, it was during that trip we decided that no matter what, we would figure out a way to be together. After many Skype chats and endless WhatsApp texts we decided I would move to France to live with him, learn french and work for a year.
This year in February I took a trip to Paris for my 30th birthday.
I packed my carry-on with my staple pieces from Diane Kroe which includes Travel Tights in our New Brazil Knit (I’m really loving them in this fabric. By far my fave), a Black Origami top, a Wanderlust wrap, and for my special birthday dinner I took my Navy Destination Dress. This dress just screams classic Paris and it was perfect! Mix that with some jeans, a pair of riding boots and an black wool coat and I was set.
When it comes to Paris people either love it or hate it and they do so with great passion! As for me, I’ll be a typical romantic and admit that yes, it’s beautiful to be in love in Paris and I feel truly blessed to have experienced this in my lifetime.
Mickael made every moment of my trip to Paris an absolute dream. We rented an Air bnb in Montmartre, drank wine on a rooftop terrace overlooking Moulin Rouge and dined in many tiny candle lit bistros. It really was like every great french movie you may have seen. However, like all great cities, sometimes it’s far better to adore them from a distance, and with that, after a few days we packed up the car (as we love to do) and hit the road to the South.
Toulouse: Le Ville Rose
Though we loved Paris, our true objective was to visit Toulouse. Mickael's proposition to me was that he and I would move there to live if I decided to move to France.
What does that mean?
Well, as it was explained to me it’s a part of France where French and Spanish culture meet. It is driving distance to both the Midi-Pyrenees mountains and the Alps. Very close to Marseille and Cannes in the south it is also just a hop skip and a jump from Spain.
Also, as the title would suggest, Toulouse is the pink city, which many of you know is MY colour these days. Overall it's an ideal location for me to live and explore.
Once again Mickael nailed everything I could ever want in a place. So, after a few strolls through the city and on the river I was convinced.
After that I left France fully charged! I didn’t know how much time, energy or money it would take to get back there. I just knew I was flying home with a new plan to make this happen.
Haha! Well, it turns out fate was on my side. I returned to Toronto on February 13th and in the first week I found a Working Holiday Visa that I was actually eligible for (If you’re between 18-35 check out the link! This Visa is also free to Canadian citizens).
By the beginning of March I had a Canadian issued visa allowing me to legally work in France and another plane ticket booked to Paris. I guess it’s true what they say. When things are supposed to happen in your life everything just falls into place.
I saw many of you at shows through March and April, which I’m so happy for. Diane Kroe feels like a family in many ways and getting to see our regular customers in each city is really one of the things Diane and I look forward too the most.
By the 8th of April I was back on a plane to Paris. Just like that and I still can’t believe it happened so quickly.
In less than 2.5 months I had managed to get my visa, pack all my belongings up, move them all, prep for Diane Kroe's spring shows, fly to LA to represent Diane Kroe at Women In Travel Summit 2016, then fly back to Canada and do two back to back shows in Toronto and Ottawa.
You know what the funniest part about it is? I was so determined to make everything work that I packed my schedule so tightly so when I arrived at the airport all of a sudden, right then I realized I'm moving to France!
I had stuffed as many things as humanly possible into two massive suitcases (I know we promote travelling light - which I usually do thanks to Diane but I think moving countries is a special exception!) hauled them to the airport and onto the conveyer belts and bam! I was ready.
It hit me all at once, with no time to process. I’m still not sure if packing my schedule so tightly was a good or bad idea but I’ll reflect on it and let you know later!
By the time I landed in Pairs reality mixed with jetlag and motion sickness had gotten the better of me. Here I was, no going back. I was really doing this now. Luckily I had Mickael to pick me up and nurse me because by the time I got to Paris ... I’mpretty sure I was half dead!
The following week was a whirlwind of French, food, family and friends. We drove to the North (where Mickael grew up) and I had the wonderful experience of meeting many of his close family and friends. From what I can tell the people in the north of France are truly genuine people. They love yummy food and beer and enjoy each other. My only regret is that I was so spaced out from jetlag that most of it is a blur.
Amongst my exhausting leading up to my flight, one thing I did right was make sure I packed all my Diane Kroe travel wear into my carry-on. Two suitcases or not, I knew for the first 2-3 weeks in France I’d be travelling all over and the last thing I wanted to do was dig through my suitcases for a sweater or something.
All of my basics (tights, origami, wanderlust wrap, cross top etc.) plus a few new things I picked up at the spring shows like my Sea Pink one 4 all top, a new print origami, and a carry-on-cozy got packed on top and in the end this tactic saved me a lot of frustration.
The first two weeks I was pretty disoriented. I'd have strange dreams that I was in Canada and then wake up and have no idea where I was. I won't lie, I defiantly wasn't feeling myself and if I could have had it my way I probably would have slept for the first month!
We followed up our visit to the north with another mini break in Paris. Mini breaks in Paris are the way to go when living in France. A few days here and there leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth...but then again that could also just be all the wine ;)
We walked the Champs-Élysées and had drinks at a little bistro, spent an entire day exploring the Louvre and we had some delicious dinners with close friends of Mickael.
Yup. I'm all about the Paris Mini breaks.
After that it was off to Toulouse. You know, to do that whole settle down, get a job and find an apartment thing!
Ma Ville Rose
So here I am. It’s been about three weeks since I’ve been living in the south west and every day I find something new to be excited about!
It is such a beautiful place but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the first few days where very emotional for me. I finally hit that point that everyone fears when it comes to moving to a new place. I missed my mom, my friends and family. I missed my dance teacher Joanna and I missed Diane! I’ve been very fortunate in my personal and professional life to be surrounded by great people who love and support me and in the first few days I just realized they were so far from me.
That's the thing though. That is why people like me (or some of you) must go travel and explore. Sometimes the longer you go away the harder it is to be apart from your loved ones but in spite of those feelings if you have travelled enough, you know you will always come back. You will see your friends and your family again. The world starts to feel smaller.
We don’t travel because we want to get away or start over. We travel because it’s simply the next step in our evolution. It’s the next thing you need to do for you.
So I made a promise to myself. To ride out those moments of sadness and isolation. To face the challenge of learning a new language, in a new place, where everything works differently because I know adversity can give way to some truly exciting things in life.
So for now, I’ll cross my fingers, make a plan and get inspired in the process!
In my personal life Mickael and I are on the epic hunt to find a place of our own. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
I’m still part of the Diane Kroe team. Keep you eyes out for new blogs and trip logs as I travel around Europe. Next I’ll be discovering France, my new city, and exploring all of the things that make France so epic!
Keep your eye on the Diane Kroe blog and Exclusive Customer newsletter for more exciting summer travel and fashion!
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