Friday, September 20, 2013

Am I too Sensitive? Or just ignorant about the workings of "online forum societies"? Maybe both . . .

I'm still searching online constantly, trying to figure out how best to go to France.  I went to this expats-in-France forum and asked a question about working in France, got a decent response.  Then I wrote today and described who I was, why I wanted to live in France, that I had lived there in the past, what "department" (region) of France interested me (Brittany/Bretagne), even a small town and a large city that I am considering.  I asked if someone who had any knowledge of that area -- and knowing my circumstances as I had described them -- could recommend either the city or the small town -- or could recommend any alternate places in the area.  Well, I got blasted big time, as in "Oh Lordy Lordy ... how many times do we get this nonsensical question ????"   . . . and so on.  

Anyway, it stung.  Someone, the moderator, came on later and kindly gave me some pointers that I have found very useful.  But I had no idea people could be so nasty.  I had heard stories, of course, and I'm not a naive person, but really, I just don't understand why someone would behave in such a way.  

Is this sort of behavior on forums typical?  Do I have to be an expert before I ask questions on a forum?  I don't understand it.  I'll continue to try, of course, and see what I can learn.  If I get another similar response, I'll look for another place to get information.

Oh, if I haven't already mentioned it, I am going to be taking language lessons through Alliance Francaise very soon.  I'm close to having a good working knowledge of French but haven't had anyone to speak with in a long time, so I think this will help a lot.  I'm also taking a really great free online course through the "Open Learning Initiative," from Carnegie Mellon University.  They offer full university courses completely free online.  If you don't mind not interacting with a professor or getting grades, it's a great way to learn something new.  Here's the link of you're interested:

Now to my work:  Another good thing is my ceramic pieces have suddenly taken off!  I'm getting several orders a day, nearly all I can handle, so that's great.  I want to have as much money saved up as possible before I leave.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Already learning moving to France isn't so easy

I've been doing a lot of research on my move to France, and there's a lot to learn!  I've found that most likely I'm going to have to apply for residency when the time comes as a self-employed person.   I want to continue doing my paintings until I can no longer hold a brush or see the canvas!  And of course, not being too keen on being a "starving artist," I want to continue to make my income.  I'll be contacting the French consulate here in Portland soon to be able to iron out a few more details about what's involved in applying for residency as a self-employed artist.  (I don't know if I'll be able to do my ceramic work there or not, so I'm just focusing on my paintings at this time.)

An aside:  I took a virtual tour of my so-far preferred city to live, Fougères, in Brittany, and it's a really, really great looking place.  I'll describe it in more detail in my next post since it's pretty late now.  But I'll say it's a rather small town, about 23,000 people.  It has a really fantastic medieval castle, the  Château de Fougères, (a link if you want to know more about the castle.)  But it also has pretty much everything else one would need on a day-to-day basis, including a train station in case I want to do some traveling.  I'm hoping to be able to do without a car if possible since I'll only be there 3 months this first time.  I expect to be renting a small house or apartment in or near the city so I can bike or walk everywhere.  And it's a clean, beautiful looking town.   Not too large, not too small, just right.

On to another subject now:  Regarding my ceramic artwork:  The holiday season is flying madly toward us, as usual, and I have to make some adjustments in how I take orders for ceramic pieces.  Currently, I have a general listing on Etsy, and you, the customer, have a lot of freedom in choosing how you want your particular piece to be made.  Unfortunately, it takes me about two weeks (or sometimes more) to make a new piece.  So sometime probably around Thanksgiving, I'll have to stop taking orders for pieces to be made (in time for Holiday delivery) and only list pieces that I've already made and have ready to ship.

So if you're thinking about having something made, be sure and place your order before the latter part of November -- and if I get too many orders earlier on, I'll have to stop taking them even earlier than I've stated here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Checking In -- and Updating

Well, I've decided that Denmark probably won't work for me -- but France will.  I've been doing research like mad and have found out that I can make it work.  I have a tentative "no-later-than" date to leave of around the end of May 2014.  I've found a region that most appeals to me -- kind of east and slightly southeast of Paris, in the Brittany region.  With my daughter's help, we've been both researching different regions and have found that we both are gravitating toward that part of France.  When we lived in France nearly 20 years ago, we lived in the south in a wonderful city called Toulouse.  It was a great place to live, and I made many friends there; but the heat in the summertime just isn't something I handle very well.  I've always preferred cold-weather climates (such as Colorado and Wyoming in this country, where I spent many years), so at this time anyway, Brittany it is.

There's so much to do between now and then to be ready to go that I stay a bit overwhelmed, and it's still eight months in the future.  Oh, by the way, my trip there the end of May is to go to the areas we've found to be most desirable, check them out, and make a decision on where we want to move -- yes, we, because my family will be following me later on.  This first time, I'll only be there three months so I won't have to apply yet for the "visa de long séjour." the long-stay visa.

Regarding my art, yes, I'm still painting -- and am finally getting some landscapes done that I'll be happy to show.  We took a camping trip along the Oregon coast a week ago, and I did some great sketches and am almost finished with the first painting, a small 8x10" on canvas panel, around Cape Lookout.  I'll be doing a series of them and then will list the best ones.  And I am finally!! getting the hang of oil paints.  I even did a small long-haired doxie painting in oil a few days ago, my first dog painting in oil.  I'll also be doing some more animals in the not-too-distant future, too.

Okay, now I have to go put on my other hat, my "ceramics" hat, and finish up too many dog mask orders that all have to go out on Monday!  Yikes!  Fortunately, I'm nearing the completion of all of them.  I built them all at approximately the same time, bisque-fired them all at the same time, and am now painting them all together, etc., etc.  So, unless something unfortunate happens in the glaze-fire, they'll all be ready to ship by Monday morning.  Then on to the next batch!  It's fun, though.  After my long break from doing them, it's fun again.

So keep in touch on my big, big move in the next eight months.  I know everyone and their cousin blogs about moving to another country -- but, hey, there's always room for one more, though.  And I'll try to cover as much of the "nitty-gritty" as I possibly can.  One of the things that I'll definitely cover in great detail is getting pets moved to another country.  We did it when we moved to Denmark a couple of years ago, mostly my daughter's work, and it was quite a daunting task --and the "importation" fees they charged were something we overlooked, and they were massive!  France has no such fees, so it's at least going to cost less.  Anyway, if you have any specific questions you want to ask as I post more, please do so.  I'll try to cover any moving-overseas subject I'm able to.   I'm so excited now that I've made my decision of where and when I'm leaving!