The beginning of part three should probably have started when Little A was born. His arrival was evidently what changed everything.
FP, the pussy-chat Ollie and I had been living in Versailles since I moved to France. However, if you know the Parisian region of France you will be aware of the impossible housing prices and the tiny apartments. We wanted out. With a baby on the way we wanted to buy a house with a garden and enough bedrooms to have a couple more babies in the future. But with FP's job keeping him in Paris, and him not wanting to add on any more time to his 2 hour commute to and from work every day, we were stuck renting a 58m² flat in Versailles. As we prepared the new baby's bedroom - a cot and chest of drawers squashed in beside our desks and computers in the office - we couldn't help but feel disappointed that we would be raising our first child in a tiny flat with mould growing up the walls. It just felt wrong.
When Little A arrived two things happened. The first thing was that we lost our poor little cat to an unexpected heart attack before I got home from the hospital. He is still very much missed in our lives.
The second thing was that FP, without telling me, began to consider leaving his job. Now that our baby son was here he couldn't bear to have us stay where we were, paying for the over-priced cost of life in Ile de France without getting anything out of it. So on the very first day back at work after his paternity leave he started searching for another job. And funnily enough, the company in Germany, where FP had worked as a student, was looking for a new engineer. He sent a CV and a cover letter immediately and got a reply the next day from the boss, saying they remembered FP well and when could he come for an interview. With us both feeling very hopeful, FP went to Germany for an interview and was offered the job of his dreams 3 days later!
Now, we weren't ready to leave France completely, and luckily FP's new work was on the German border so the obvious solution was for us to move to Alsace...Somewhere near Strasbourg but not too near. We chose a village. A beautiful, friendly village.
And here we are, 6 months later. We now live in a big, modern house (220m²!) with a garden and a beautiful bedroom for Little A. Life here is much, much cheaper than Versailles and for us life is also much better here. It seems we're not really city dwellers after all. We get to make the most of our weekends together as a family and Germany is only 15 minutes away, where groceries are even cheaper!
We're very happy here. Of course we often stop and think about how Ollie the cat would have loved life here. Though I guess he's a happy kitty in cat heaven right now, probably playing with a ball of wool or drinking from the running tap...
So this is the next chapter of my life. Our lives. Here in Alsace.
*Little A. That's what I'm calling him. FP's name also begins with an 'A' and he's my 'Big A' but similar to when the actor in a soap opera quits and the production team decides to replace him with another actor who looks nothing atall like the original in the hopes that viewers won't notice anything, I find it would be far too confusing for me to start calling FP by his new nickname of 'Big A'.