Arriving in a New Country … Where You Don’t Speak the Language!

Moving to a new place to live is always a big upheaval.

You have to re-establish yourself in a new locale; find your way around your new area, locate new services that you need, and meet new people. You are completely out of your comfort zone if you have never been in that place before, and even more so if they have a different language and culture that you aren’t overly familiar with. It can be tough.

It was nice to be met in Nice.

My arrival in Nice was made significantly more exciting by the fact that Corinne and her boyfriend met me at the airport. As you can see I feel pretty happy about this whole thing… 😉


Although we had never met in person before, we felt like we already knew each other. We had previously spent so much time on the phone, online chats, email and following each other’s Facebook postings. Not to mention she had already read my first 6 blogs so had learned a lot about me and my journey through them.

To catch up with those, go here: Who is Janeen Sonsie? | The Decision | The 2011 Vision | Commitment Brings Synchronicity | The Planning, It Was A Big Plan | The Big Letting Go

I have traveled internationally so much, and most of it on my own – for business as well as holiday trips. So it was absolutely delightful to be greeted at the airport by someone who was as excited about meeting me as I was about meeting them. She had even bought me purple flowers (because she knew it is my fave color), which was lovely.

I have to admit though, there was actually someone else to meet me at the airport. As I had managed to score a business class ticket from Dubai to Nice with my frequent flyer points, I also got a free pickup from the airport to take me to where I was staying in Nice. Bonus!! So Corinne, her boyfriend and me, with my 2 big suitcases, piled into the black Mercedes to take me to my French host apartment in the old city of Nice. Very nice thank you very much.

Oh I love travelling business class.

After traveling business class, I was a little more refreshed on arrival than I would’ve been after traveling cattle (economy) class. Oh my, Emirates business was so lovely. Flowing champagne (I had to restrain myself), very nice food and a seat that went down flat into a bed to lay down and sleep. I wish I could travel that way every time I fly. Now that’s a goal of add to the list.

I was too excited to be tired when I arrived … but walking up 5 flights of stairs to get to the apartment I am staying in took a huge effort. My back and knees were sore after all the flying and sitting; 14 hours in economy class plus 7 hours in business class and all the walking ad sitting around airports. I was so grateful to Corinne and her boyfriend for carrying my heavy luggage up the stairs for me. I absolutely could not have done it on my own.

The apartment is spacious and I have a lovely big room, don’t you think? It’s so French!

I unpacked and bathed (no shower as it’s so old) and was ready to go again a couple of hours after arriving. Corinne met me at the beach and took me out for dinner for my final birthday celebration, although this one was a welcoming, not a farewell, for a nice change.

She also had me walking way too far to find a good restaurant in the old city and my knees were really hurting … and, just possibly, I was feeling a bit tired. It had been over 48 hours since I had been in a bed!

My last birthday dinner for 2018.

It was worth it in the end. We found the most delightful, typically French restaurant with beautiful food. It was a perfect welcoming and celebration. Comptoir du Marche I recommend it highly and can’t wait to go back there.

I lasted until about 8.30pm before I hit the wall and needed to get home to collapse into sleep. Oh my god, getting up those 5 flights of big steps again was a huge struggle that night.

So began my period of acclimatising.

It took a few days of feeling extremely tired and a bit vague and woozy but I still went all day and fell asleep by 9 each evening. Corinne, being the tough taskmaster of a digital marketing coach/consultant that she is, had me working on this website the next day. On Friday I was struggling to focus and be creative. I reminded her it was only Day 2 of me being in Nice … after moving country and traveling halfway around the world for 24 hours to do so.

I know she was pushing me because she knew I wanted to get my website up and launched as soon as possible, especially now that I was already in France. She understood my priorities and that I am not here on a holiday. I am here to learn French and start a new coaching business helping other people create the life of their dreams like I am doing.

I like that about her, that she is here to push me. If not, I mean, it wouldn’t be easy to stay on top of things with so much to do to get it all up and running – being I am in South of France on the Cote d’Azur, with all this fabulousness around me! There were hours of work ahead of us – after morning French classes almost every day, only broken by maybe the odd cafe or chocolat chaud or a cheeky wine or two with dinner.

So, no I didn’t really take time off work to settle in … but settle in I did. Maybe I could have given myself a bit more of a break to ease in more gently, but hey, I have always forged onwards like that. Set a goal and go for it full steam I say.

Yay, I am here living in France for the next 3 months. I made it to the Nice phase of my journey!

More about settling in and sourcing services and supplies in my next blog.