2017 started off with a bang. The first week or so was FULL of French, as I intended. Then it changed. It became too hard to keep up that level of study, not because the level of study was too much/hard, but because my wife and I needed to house-sit for her parents. Beautiful location, but added chores and substantially more travel time to and from, well almost anywhere. So I threw my study plan out the window and took it easy. Watched some stuff, read a little, listened on commutes. Now I'm back home, so soon, back to it. Life is full of surprises, changes and interruptions, so I don't think there's any logic in being upset by such things- best to just accept it and get on with it.
In other news... (The French legal dilemma)
I'm questioning my country of choice again (France). I seem to get nothing but road blocks. I know, I know, work your way through them, around them, over them, under them- ie deal with it! Any country will have it's unique and common issues if you want to go and live there or pass a lot of time there.
But, this is different. For "political" reasons, it's looking very hard for me and my family to fully integrate into French society, due to a certain law there. I don't want to go into details, if anyone wants to discuss this PM me, I'm not looking for a solution to that law as such, as it appears extremely difficult to avoid, I'd prefer just to post about what this could mean for my family's linguistic plans.
Belgium has the same law too, but it's 'softer'. Still a problem though. Although the law officially states one thing (vs French law states 3 requirements), the expectations to integrate fully extend beyond the bare minimum one legal requirement. I would have to compromise my values and "join the matrix" to accept such expectations/legalities. Not something I"m ultimately willing to do.
Luxembourg and Switzerland offer alternatives with regards to French speaking European nations. Luxembourg doesn't appeal to me or my wife much, but the linguistic situation is curiously interesting. Switzerland is hit and miss- some areas have these requirements, others do not, but how far the expectations extend in society as they do in Belgium is an unknown, and putting all of one's eggs in one basket only to find out I was incorrect could be a big risk. Neither Luxembourg nor the 'safe zone' interest me that much, nor my wife for that matter.
There actually is a way around it in Belgium and France I believe, despite me having kind alluded to the fact there isn't, which would probably suit us as a family, as we don't want to be based there all year (wherever we choose). Still, we were aiming to 12 months or so as a solid stretch which would help all of us to varying degrees improve our French language skills by being fully integrated into the society- that's where the problem is- fully integrating. Even on shorter visits, further integration would certainly be beneficial.
I'm sorry if I'm being vague, or secretive, or rediculous or whatever. It is what it is. Again, PM me if you want to. It seems like it's yet another road block I'm creating in a way, but it is of major importance to me. I don't believe I can compromise. At least that is my current stance. I should've looked into this earlier, but I assumed that all would be fine. I was wrong.
This won't change my goals with the French language, and in wanting to live in France, but it may need I need to take an even longer way around to finally setting foot in the region we'd like to be (not sure of where that is yet, but we will know in due time). Belgium was already a work-around as I cannot legally work in France as a nurse with Australian qualifications without first being able to work in another EU country. We chose Belgium due to familiarity with both languages, and the country itself to some extent.
I really wanted to return to studying Dutch next, and currently I have my doubts, since Beligum is not ideal now- need to explore this matter further.
Ironically, the majority of Europe would not pose a problem for us, but hey, you know me- I've got to make life difficult with regards to my goals right?
Certainly seems that way.
Spanish and German are now looking more inviting. They speak German in Luxembourg and Swiss German in Switzerland, were we to choose one of these 2. Not to mention Germany bordering France. I need to find out about bilingual services along the French borders in neighbouring countries (mainly Germany and Spain- Italy is not an option). Spanish and even Catalan offer a slim possibility of living right on France's doorstep, yet still being involved with the language- either across the border in Spain (or Germany for that matter) and coming back into France frequently, or on the French side and doing more across the border to avoid the legal issue.
I still really want to pick up Dutch next (or get back to it)! But the other languages are pulling out their trump cards at the moment. Pesky little devils!
Ultimately I do not believe we will steer away from France, particularly with my wife's attitude towards the situation- I speak French with my daughter, my wife likes France and the language, I have been forever studying it and passionate about the country (which hasn't changed), thus we are ultimately still aiming for France. How we get there, via which route, involving which other languages if any, remains to be seen, indeed.