It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the amazing Ndjerareou family, currently in France on a home exchange. This well-traveled family is staying in another families home, while theirs is being used by a different family. Yes folks, this is possible and Sarah is going to share all the details with you today.
As most of you know, we just finished a 10 month stay in a French village. There is so much in this post that we can relate to, it makes me homesick for the south of France. And their commitment to family, community and enjoying the local pleasures makes me want to park this RV right here in the middle of the French Alps and never move. Connecting on a deeper level as we travel not only benefits our family, but the world.
It also allowed us to do more than simply consume the scenery and truly adjust to living the culture.
As a family we love to host dinners and guests especially when we can give them a different cultural experience.
Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.
Introduce us to the people you live with?
Our family is Nathanael, my husband who is originally from Chad, Africa, myself a missionary kid from Africa and our two children. Sophia (11) Isaac (4). We’ve had the privilege of traveling with our children to Africa, Europe and Asia but this is the longest stint we’ve done outside the US as a family of four. Honestly, we all feel incredibly blessed to have a family invite you to stay in their home while they either stay in yours or as in our case visit another part of the world. We realize we’ve discovered a very special community that values the gift of travel as much as we do. Sophia is our adventure loving girl, she enjoyed cliff jumping with Dad at the Gardon River in town, she thrives on change and loved learning to live in a new culture. Speaking limited French was probably hardest for her but we loved watching her grow through the unique challenges. She made friends where ever we went even if she relied on Google Translate. Isaac is more of my home body and so this was the best of both worlds for him, almost every night we returned to the same place with swings and toys. He also adored caring for the families two cats and two turtles. We are a family of two extroverts and two introverts, this means you have to find a balance between everyone’s rhythms. One of the gifts of spending the summer in a place is that you don’t have to hurry, we had the gift of time which is huge when you’re traveling with a four-year old. It also allowed us to do more than simply consume the scenery and truly adjust to living the culture. Living in a home is ideal for families, there are so many comforts that make the transition easier for everyone. Our hosts give us detailed instructions on local life, their home and area. Details like bikes, wifi, a yard and everyone having their own room have made it a treat. We were a little nervous about being away from friends but pet sitting helped a bit with the lonely days and we made friends in our village. We even hosted a dinner with Nathanael’s host family from his time in France 25 years ago. Meeting their families was very special. Nathanael and I have grown up very nomadically and for us this was a chance to introduce our family to the world in a similar way we experienced it.
Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We spent the summer living in a family’s home in an ancient village in the south of France. We lived 10 minutes from the Pont Du Gard an ancient Roman Aqueduct. The river runs through our village which was a short walk from our home on the edge of sunflower fields and vineyards.
Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
Giving the experience to others, hosting. Our family needed a sabbatical from our busy lives and volunteer work. It was delicious to spend the summer with just us. We really needed to play, read, have long evenings with our kids and all the adventure in between. As a family we love to host dinners and guests especially when we can give them a different cultural experience. Maybe next year we’ll invite some friends? I think it would be ideal for our kids if they could share this experience with another family or two, plus it’s how we come together and serve as a family.
What is the one item your children carry with them to make their unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
My son has a monkey and a beloved blanket, my daughter has a favorite bear, both are well-traveled. We also take an anthology of favorite children’s stories given to me by a fellow nomad no matter how old they get they love this routine.
Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
Growing up in Africa, my family began singing a family prayer before Sunday dinner to ground us in our family traditions. In France, my husband taught us a French prayer to be sung before our evening meal. It’s one of the many ways our faith and shared values align despite coming from different cultures.