Another Year or So

May 1, 2012

Hello, Friends! Remember Plan A? It looked like this:
Move to France for one year. February 1st 2011 to February 1st 2012.

Then, last January I announced an adjusted plan. Let’s call it Plan B:
Stay a few more months — through the end of the school year. February 1st 2011 to July 1st 2012.

And today, here’s another update, another adjustment. Plan C:
Stay another school year. Or 2 1/2 years total! February 1st 2011 to July 1st 2013.

Then we’re really, truly moving back. For reals. How do I know? The lovely family we’re renting La Cressonnière from will be moving back in.

We feel good about Plan C. In fact, we’re super excited to get another year here! It gives our kids a chance to get even more comfortable with French. And gives us more time to find our next home.

The kids are excited too! But it’s been over a year since they’ve been to America and they’re craving a visit with friends and family. So we’re planning a long trip to the U.S. this summer. We’ll be spending the month of July with the Blairs and the Stanleys in Utah and Colorado. Then we’ll come back here for another year.

Tell me: Are you surprised? Or did you suspect an extension all along? : ) Would you stay if you were us?

P.S. — The countryside is covered with yellow fields right now — I snapped the photo above yesterday evening. I was told the plant is moutarde (mustard), but not the sort of mustard we eat. It’s grown for farm animals, and because it improves the soil. So pretty!

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{ 141 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda R May 1, 2012 at 5:55 am

The fields are also yellow in Germany. It is rapeseed or field mustard. You know it better as canola.

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2 Monica May 1, 2012 at 5:56 am

Surprised? No, I would have made that same choice. I am happy you guys are staying a little bit longer, because your are living out my dream, so it’s been wonderful to follow along.
But I am excited to see what other adventures you will be embarking on next!

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3 Pamela May 1, 2012 at 6:13 am

no not surprised!! and so happy for you! our family of six will be moving to Paris this summer for 3 years..we are already trying to extend :)

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4 Catherine June 24, 2012 at 12:05 am

Hi Pamela,
We are in the process of deciding how to do this, also with a large family (7) we are coming from Sydney , Australia to Paris or out of Paris still trying to decide. Where is your family from and how old are your kids? how are you doing the schooling? Sorry for the questions, I guess I’m trying to convince myself it will be alright a little scared about the kids and school otherwise can’t wait.

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5 Jan @ Family Bites May 1, 2012 at 6:13 am

Not surprised! And so happy we can live vicariously through you for another year.

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6 Azra May 1, 2012 at 6:17 am

Beautiful photo Gabrielle.
I am not surprised that you are staying longer. It must be a wonderful experience. Who knows… maybe you decide to stay for good. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. :)

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7 Jennifer F May 1, 2012 at 6:22 am

Not surprised…if you’re like us – France is turning into a lovely place to live. Our kids are also enjoying their French friends and it amazes me everyday to watch their progress in the French language. So happy for you and your family – creates such great memories!!

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8 Jimmy May 1, 2012 at 6:23 am

I’d be interested in hearing how despite your fluctuating plans you manage to avoid the feeling of being in a state of limbo. I suffer from that greatly when I know my time someplace is temporary. It makes me less apt to lay roots down (both figuratively, and literally), that sort of thing. I think that probably means I’m just not cut out of the lets-move-someplace-fun-for-a-year thing. It’s been fun following along nevertheless, living vicariously and whatnot.

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9 Lauren May 1, 2012 at 6:39 am

I’m a little surprised, but it seems like such a great idea to stay!

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10 Dee May 1, 2012 at 6:39 am

I’m not surprised. I look forward to seeing more of your adventures.

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11 eastcoastmom, Spain May 1, 2012 at 6:40 am

Good for all of you! A year just feels like a long visit. We have been expats for 16 years and lived 5, 2.5 and 7.5 years in each country. Now living in Spain and plan on staying 3 years.

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12 fashionmom May 1, 2012 at 6:44 am

Our work contract was a fix one-year so we knew we had to go back to Canada this summer, but I am sure my parents would have loved us to stay longer in Italy (read: forever). I miss my home in Canada though…

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13 Adventures In Babywearing May 1, 2012 at 6:49 am

Oh how exciting! I think secretly I hoped you’d stay as long as possible! How I hope we can do something similar someday. Already Ivy is dreaming of Paris. And she’s 3.

Steph

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14 Jane May 1, 2012 at 6:49 am

No, I would have been surprised if you didn’t extend. Not sure why – just knew! Maybe because you’re still having such great adventures.

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15 Shannon May 1, 2012 at 6:49 am

So exciting!!

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16 Darci May 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

I most certainly knew you would extend if you could and Yes, I would most certainly stay. I can’t wait to hear Baby June’s French develop!

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17 julia fain May 1, 2012 at 6:56 am

beautiful! and congrats. my husband lived for a period of time in germany and italy and has such great memories. would love to have a similar adventure!

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18 r8chel May 1, 2012 at 7:03 am

I’m glad to hear the news — and I’m not surprised a bit. Within the past few days, with Jordan’s departure from France, I started thinking that if you were indeed moving back to the States soon, you would probably be mentioning it in your posts.

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19 Kim May 1, 2012 at 7:04 am

Not surprised at all – just jealous! ;) Here’s to another year of fabulous European adventure for the Blair’s!

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20 The Salad Days May 1, 2012 at 7:06 am

Congrats to you! I have to say that I expected (hoped?) your family would extend your time in Europe. We moved to England 6 months ago from America and only planned to stay for 9 months – but recently extended for another year! Truthfully, I wish I could extend even longer but completely understand what you said about missing family and friends. Have a lovely summer ‘at home’ and congrats again on the extra time in France!

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21 A French Education May 1, 2012 at 7:10 am

Not surprised at all! There’s still so much to see and do; it will be another wonderful year for you and your family–and your readers!

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22 Nina from Linodi May 1, 2012 at 7:13 am

We´ve been to Normandie a couple of weeks ago, close to Saint Saens, it was so beautiful, and we were wondering what the yellow fields were. Thanks for clearing that up.
Since you don´t get such a chance again, I am glad that you extended your stay! Actually I was hoping for it, since I am a German living in Amsterdam, always curious about your trips around Europe. I am a mother of 4 and admire your lifestyle! Keep on going.

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23 aimee @ smilingmama May 1, 2012 at 7:20 am

No surprised at all and I’m personally excited to continue to follow along on your adventures!

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24 beyond May 1, 2012 at 7:22 am

i’m not surprised that you’re staying a while longer at all!
isn’t that rapeseed? (colza in french.) it is in fact in the mustard (and cabbage) family and is grown for the production of animal feed, canola oil, and biodiesel. for me those yellow fields were always a sign that spring was turning into summer.

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25 The New Diplomats Wife May 1, 2012 at 7:24 am

congratulations! i had a feeling this was coming! you’re going to love the time there and France only gets better with more experience ;)

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26 Jen Bates May 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

So happy for you!

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27 Deborah May 1, 2012 at 7:31 am

I am not surprised. A year just flies so fast, that you just have to stay a bit longer. I would be SOOO appreciative of a blog post that would describe a wonderful 1-2 week France vacay. Or even one that would describe what you would do and see and experience and eat and try and learn in Europe within a two week period. Yes, I am asking for you to play travel director;)

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28 Krystle @ ColorTransformedFamily May 1, 2012 at 7:36 am

What an amazing opportunity! I’m really not that surprised but I am glad to hear an update. Enjoy your visit home this summer and your next year abroad.

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29 Suzanne May 1, 2012 at 7:38 am

I LOVE the fact that your family is getting to spend more time in France. I really enjoy the amazing places that your family gets to enjoy (so jealous-hee hee) I truley believe every person should have the oppertunity to live abroad and to extend it for a few years-why not? I look forward to more of the Blair adventures and hopefully soon will be making my dream come true of visiting France, Italy and Germany next year!

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30 Karen F May 1, 2012 at 7:40 am

I am not surprised, and I would absolutely stay if I was you! It’s the chance of a lifetime! Congrats to all of you, such a cool, fun family! Thanks for taking all of us along on your adventures!

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31 Andrea Freeman May 1, 2012 at 7:43 am

do you have any idea what you are doing for your children? what an amazing experience you are providing for them and you & Ben get to enjoy it too. the french, the countryside, the traveling. it would be fantastic if all parents could do what you are doing. bravo! enjoy another great year – i can’t wait to read all about it! thank you!

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32 Emily May 1, 2012 at 7:47 am

Ha! This is excellent! Roll on another year of DesignMom posts on Euro time! I thought we’d moved to Dublin for 1 year, and nearly 4 years later I’m not sure I’ll ever make it back full time. Looking forward to more great stories from France!

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33 Barchbo May 1, 2012 at 8:08 am

It seems like things are going great – why not stay? What an amazing and wonderful opportunity for all of you!

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34 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag May 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

I knew it! Had a feeling. Fantastic!

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35 Emme May 1, 2012 at 8:12 am

How wonderful! I can’t wait for another year of post in France!

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36 Giulia May 1, 2012 at 8:17 am

Not surprised! I feel that you really enjoy your time there and staying longer just allows you to really immerse yourself. One year is never enough – by the time you get your head around where to buy milk and cheese and how to open a bank account it seems like you have to leave again. Fantastic! Looking forward to seeing more Blair adventures!

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37 Tricia May 1, 2012 at 8:17 am

NOT surprised! So happy all of your loyal readers get to spend more time in France with you! O, joy! :)

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38 Cathi May 1, 2012 at 8:19 am

Woo Hoo!! I suspected all along that you’d stay a bit longer. I’m happy I get to live vicariously through your experiences another year!!

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39 Lori C. May 1, 2012 at 8:23 am

So happy that you are staying…it gives me another year to vicariously live through your adventure in France. Enjoy every single second!

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40 Caddy May 1, 2012 at 8:36 am

I’m thrilled for you and your family! Two and a half years sounds so much better!

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41 Kristen May 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

Hooray! That sounds fantastic! And why not stay a little longer?!

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42 allysha May 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

How great! I am envious. But maybe we”ll have a chance to get over and visit you after all! :) And really, this is absolutely wonderful for you.

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43 Deborah May 1, 2012 at 8:44 am

I was thinking you would all stay longer, how fantastic! I would love to know what is involved in extending your stay. Do you have to fill out forms and such? Apply for some sort of visa? Obviously I know nothing about these sorts of things, so I’d love to learn!

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44 Linda May 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

So glad that you’re staying as I really love reading about your adventures.

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45 Megan P May 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

I knew it all along! Love plan C! What great news to hear, yesterday was sort of a bummer. I was following along as the Ferney’s left Paris and my heart ached for them. Plan C is the new plan A, everyone should always have a plan C! I love it! Also, yes we would DEFINITELY STAY if we were you! Bureaucratically ( I looked that one up!), I’d love to know how you managed to stay, how/who decides how long? I always thought the government only allows one year at a time? Lastly – does La Cressonniere need a house sitter for July?!!!!!!!

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46 Genevieve May 1, 2012 at 8:49 am

I’m so excited that I get to read about your adventures for another year! I look forward to it every morning, along with my toast and coffee. :)

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47 lizzy May 1, 2012 at 8:52 am

i so admire the boldness of this decision and the fit of life abroad you are giving your children. i can only pray that someday i’ll have the diligence/opportunity/supportive partner to do the same. i’ve always dreamt of raising my first child (at least) abroad.

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48 ememby May 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

Not one bit surprised :) It suits you. It your kids seemed unhappy or unadjusted then it would surprise me, but that is not the case. What a special stage of life!

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49 Jill May 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

Good for you! And your kids must be loving it as well. I’m glad you get to come back to the US for an extended visit.

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50 Lena May 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

I am so happy for you, you are doing the right thing. Our move to Austria was not good at all so we had to pack our stuff earlier than we thought but still happy we tried to live in Europe. Enjoy every single day, it makes of great memories!

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51 Tan May 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

That is so incredibly exciting!!!! If I had the option to stay in Japan longer when I lived there I certainly would have! I can’t wait to move to Europe in a couple years! Either Portugal or France!

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52 Barbara May 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

I had a feeling you’d stay. All your recent posts seem like you guys just can’t get enough of it over there. Can’t say I blame you! I’m looking forward to more France posts!

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53 Amy3 May 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

How exciting! I’m not terribly surprised, and it’s what I would want to do, if I were there. You may as well get all you can (and all the kids can) 0ut of the experience. Such an amazing opportunity!

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54 ModFruGal May 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

Congrats to you and the family for staying another year! It must be a relief to have made the decision, so now you can get on to enjoying this next year!

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55 Elaine May 1, 2012 at 10:13 am

Formidable! So happy for your family and happy for me because this means still lots more great blog entries and Instagrams from La Belle France to come.

What will really be a surprise if you all don’t find a place of your own to purchase before the move back. :-)

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56 Sarah Grace May 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

I’m so happy for your family – what a great adventure.
I’m also thrilled for myself – I’m not ready to part with this bit of France in my everyday :) Thanks for sharing it with us.

(I feel a little heartbroken every time Jordan tweets/instagrams/blogs about leaving Paris. Glad that you won’t be leaving France quite yet…)

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57 Neda May 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

Not surprised at all – knew you would make it work out! Very glad you are getting to stay again!

We are headed back to the US for a short visit this summer as well – need to get some ‘home’ time in!

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58 Michelle Glauser May 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

That’s fabulous! Enjoy every moment, every flower, every new bakery . . .

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59 emily May 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

Your whole trip is so inspiring! The photos and travels are delightful to read about (and that yellow field is divine!)

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60 Eliza May 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

A year always sounds like a long time until you’re in the adventure and it flies by. And why not stay another year? How often does one get the opportunity! It will also cement this experience into your memories and become more of a life learning experience for your family. Good luck in year to come!

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61 Melissa S. May 1, 2012 at 10:38 am

What an amazing opportunity for your family – I would stay in a heartbeat if given the chance! I’m just thrilled to be able to follow along and live vicariously…

One thing though, you teased nearly a year ago and we still haven’t seen that antique bed of baby June’s (unless I missed it!) I was not above begging for a photo or two before your impending departure. May I request a brief tour at some point during your newly extended stay???

Many thanks, and cheers to another wonderful year!

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62 bdaiss May 1, 2012 at 10:43 am

I’m only marginally surprised, simply because I know your sister and her hubby have left. On one hand – how can your resist staying. On the other – knowing family was near by had to make it much easier, and not having that could be tough. But I’d jump at the chance as well. : )

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63 Jeannie Greenwald May 1, 2012 at 10:44 am

Not surprised. I’m glad. I’d do it too if I was as happy living there as you all are. And I love the house and countryside. Happy for you!

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64 Michelle A May 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

(fist pump in the air) – awesome! So much work goes into just getting there and getting settled, stay another year and enjoy it!

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65 Alisa May 1, 2012 at 10:47 am

Am i surprised, no way. My predictiion is you will stay longer, buy a house here and settle. Same thing happened to us, came for a year, went back to the states to sell our business and moved back.

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66 Mackenzie May 1, 2012 at 11:02 am

Yay!! We’re just 4 months in and I’m jonesing for an extension myself! If you ever need a place to crash in Bruxelles , give us a ring! And it’s so funny bc we just happened upon these fields on a trip today to Dinant, Belgium! They were breathtaking and we had to stop and have an impromptu photo shoot! Glad to know what it was.

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67 Arbine May 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

I would totally have stayed for another year. I can’t wait to see what kinds of new adventures you guys go on. :)

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68 Jenny Meyerson May 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

I’m not surprised at all. Your traveling adventures are amazing and your kids seem to have adjusted so well. I selfishly hope you go to another European country after France, so I can learn more.
You and your precious family are living a dream.

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69 Amy @Picture It May 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

Stay! It’s France, after all.

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70 caroline May 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

I LOVE plan C ;)

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71 Marija May 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

I was just wandering how do you take care of visas? And are your kids in public or private schools?

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72 Catherine May 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

Good for you! I’m selfishly happy since I love your reports from France. Great escapism!

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73 Ann May 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

I think that’s great – a year goes by so fast!

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74 Barbara May 1, 2012 at 11:28 am

I am enthralled by that photograph; it’s so stunning! Hurrah for more adventures amidst such beauty!

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75 Hannah Stevenson @ MiniMe Paper Dolls May 1, 2012 at 11:29 am

Congrats on Plan C! :) I showed my husband the video of Betty speaking french a few nights ago and she charmed him into actually considering living abroad for a while with our little family someday!!!! This has been my dream for a long time and he works from home too…so THANKS Betty for the inspiration! We’ll see.

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76 Debi Campbell May 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

Not surprised – all of your posts from from France and your travels are so amazing and happy! As another poster said, I’ll be missing your sister’s posts from Paris. I’m glad I’ll get a France fix from Design Mom!

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77 Kimberly Stiner May 1, 2012 at 11:35 am

YEAH!!!!! When you decide to stay, we all get to stay!! Yippy for all of us. Looking forward to another year of Blair France to inspire me here at home in Connecticut!!

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78 Katherine in Paris May 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

I discovered your blog in 2005 while living in Paris and have been following ever since. I was in awe when you decided to move your family to France and thrilled when you stayed. I’ll be sad when you finally decide to move back. I’ve loved having you on my side of the world. Three years is a good length of stay to really find your bearing and begin to grasp the language. I’ve been in Paris for 10 years and only now feel that it is my home. I’d love to give my kids a year in the States, but so far we are just enjoying our summers there. I like to think that they will thank me for their biculturalism some day. I’m sure that your six children will. Enjoy your stay.

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79 Joan May 1, 2012 at 11:50 am

The only thing that surprises me about this is that you would spend July in the US. France is so gorgeous in July! Instead of those 8 flights home, fly 8 of your relatives to YOU!

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80 Callie May 1, 2012 at 11:55 am

Yay!! So excited y’all are staying another year. I love reading your blog, and I also love seeing France & Europe through you and your blog!

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81 Traveling Mama May 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I am not surprised one bit! I just keep hoping that you will catch the bug like we did and never want to go back! :-) BTW- I have been thinking about you the last couple days. We ended up recording an episode with House Hunters International (It’s airing tomorrow in the US) but I have been meaning to tell you thank you for a while. I really appreciated the encouragement you gave me after your own episode. It ended up being a ton of fun!

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82 Ms. Amy May 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Not surprised in the slightest. What a fabulous adventure for your entire family. And how fortunate you are that you can extend like this. I can’t wait to read about the months to come.

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83 Magen May 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

That is wonderful news! I’ve been expecting some kind of announcement like this for sometime. I would stay forever but that’s just me. It can be hard being far away from friends and family but at least everyone is only a skype call away. I look forward to your French adventures for the next year.

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84 Dervla @ The Curator May 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Not surprised, i would so totally stay as long as possible. But I understand wanting to come back too especially with your sister back here. I have sisters in London and Cambodia and miss them terribly. I daydream about moving to both of those places with my children to be closer.

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85 kristin May 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

i somehow forgot about ‘plan b’ and had been wondering if i missed the update! (because we’ve been moving around and whatnot!) i’m not surprised, especially since you hadn’t written about your plans on moving back to the states, and you are really good about telling us your experiences of transitions. so glad to keep reading about your (+ family) adventures, though i’m sure that it will be different without your sis nearby!

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86 Rixa May 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I would totally run with plan C! I’m not at all surprised that you’re staying.

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87 Justyn May 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

We left Kenya to some back to the states a year ago today. We lives there two years. Originally it was meant to be one, then 18 months and finally 2. It was perfect, as far as timing. A year is just not enough! Now we are planning a move (with four kids!) to New Zealand in November. We know going in this time that it will be for AT LEAST 2 years ;)

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88 Tijana May 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

You´ve made a good decision! Europe has always been great place to stay and live.. Hope you enjoy it! :)
Greetings from neighborhood (from Andorra)!

http://at-tickos.blogspot.com/

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89 Starryprincess May 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Not surprised at all

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90 dunski May 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I love your plan C! I hope it’ll involve a trip to Switzerland!!

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91 Molly Hyde-Caroom May 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Of course you would stay! When I found your blog I thought only a year?? Once you jump in and adjust, it seems to take about a year to make it seem like home! I won’t say you should stay forever but it is such a wonderful opportunity to live abroad and expose your children to another language and culture!
Enjoy every minute! Before you know it you’ll be back in the US and dreaming of freshly baked baquettes from the local bakery, the most amazing cheese in the world, and a robust bordeaux!

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92 Kelley May 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Not surprised at all! I’m currently studying for a semester in London myself, and after about the first week I started planning to come back for grad school. It’s all just so addicting isn’t it?

I am curious though, how do all of these extensions work with your Visas?

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93 Amanda Robinson May 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Sounds like a wonderful continued opportunity! If you wanted to stay forever…I would not blame you! What an amazing adventure!!!

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94 Amy May 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I think it’s a great plan!! You only get one chance to do this, and what a gift to your kids. I would totally do it if I were you, hands down. Looks like you have a fun summer ahead as well!! We are all happy to take the trip with you!

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95 Heather B. May 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Score! I’m totally coming for a visit. For reals. ;-)

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96 val May 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I’m so excited that you’ve been able to extend your stay! I’m not surprised, but rather thrilled that you’re going to be able to stay, and in the same home. What an incredible blessing! I hoped you’d be able to stay closer to 3 years… I watched my parents and younger brother spend 3 years in spanish-speaking countries, and they’ve retained the language amazingly… even my Mom, who at 52 began her adventure with a bare minimum of spanish! Hopefully you’ll experience the same, and be fluent yourself in French before you return :)

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97 Jenna at Homeslice May 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm

With a view like that- yes! I would absolutely stay! Congrats on the new plan.

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98 kelleyn May 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Yes, one year is not enough. I think in year two if you can afford it is go on a cruise through the meditterainen. Oop, I know I just spelt that wrong. Comments needs a spell checker. Anyway, we did the cruise 4 years ago and dream of it ever since. We went to Greece and Italy. We want to do the one that goes through Turkey and Egypt. However, I am sure you will have fantastic adventures wherever the next year takes you.

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99 se7en May 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Too excited for words – you have no idea how happy I ma for you guys… it just didn’t feel like you were finished yet!!!

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100 Katie May 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Not surprised. Jealous actually!

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101 Chris Cowgill May 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Yes I would stay there if I were you, and YAY! you’re doing it!!!

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