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Katie Gardner, Lauzun

Who are you?

Katie Gardner.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

To Lauzun, Lot et Garonne, 2008 to get married.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Getting all the necessary paperwork together.And going from managing a staff of 300 across 11 sites in Scotland to a staff of 1 (my husband) who had no intention of being managed!

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How did you find somewhere to live?

The lovely (English) man (who I originally met in the 1970s) who I moved to France to marry had already been living here for many years.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Loads! Dordogneshire.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

They know of me, I know of them, waving and ‘bonjour-ing’ mainly (but that has a lot to do with the fact that I am a fairly solitary person and of course the job that I do – CBT Counsellor to expats).

What do you like about life where you are?

The peace and quiet, the lack of traffic, wide open spaces. The more respectful society that still exists in rural France (except in shops).

What do you dislike about your expat life?

• The lack of ethnically diverse cuisine.
• The paperwork!!!!!!

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Customer service!

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

See above, although it is improving slowly. I love anything ducky (which I wouldn’t have thought about before in the UK) and hate anything offally.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Don’t expect it to be easy, consider carefully how you will use the vastly increased spare time you will have – mowing the lawn/refurbishing a barn will not give you the sense of purpose and achievement you will need to sustain your self-confidence for the rest of your life!

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to build a happy life, even though I lost my beautiful husband in 2011.

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

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