Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

First Home Exchange experience

Per usual, I flew back to the US mid-December to spend a few weeks at our HQ before the Christmas Holidays.  My family typically does a big Christmas get-together every two years at a rented cabin in the middle of Minnesota.  This year was a bit different however because my SIL was pregnant and due on Christmas Day, so she obviously did not want to be hours away from her hospital in the middle of winter.

It ended up complicating things quite a bit though because half of my family lives in the Minneapolis/St Paul area, and the other half lives elsewhere in the US.  The ones in-town didn't want to have to pay for a hotel, and the ones from out of town thought it wasn't fair they would have to pay for one.  So I ended up exploring other options, and decided to check out home exchanges, thinking I could maybe find someone willing to exchange their home in Minneapolis with ours in Paris.

And luckily I did! I went to meet them in-person this summer when I was back in MN, and their home was amazing.  It was only a few years old, had five bedrooms (one for everyone out-of-town family), four bathrooms, and two very large living areas to accommodate my extended family. 
It really was the perfect place for us - the owners put up plenty of Christmas decorations for us, and they have three small children, so there were plenty of toys for the kids in our family to play with. The kitchen had a very large island and was also fully stocked, which made preparing Christmas dinner for 25 a breeze.
The downstairs area was also great - you can see the beautiful bar with marble counters in the back, the biggest couch I've ever seen on the right, and just to the left was a spa room with a brand-new sauna.

The only stressful bit was that I felt the need to constantly be picking up after everyone, sweeping, etc, since it was me who was on the line for making sure we left her house in the same state we found it (ie spotless).  I found out after we left that she had booked in a cleaning crew to come in after our departure, so I probably went a little bit overboard in my cleaning, but oh well.

Her family will be coming to stay at our place this summer, when we go back for a wedding.  Our home isn't anywhere near as fancy as theirs was, but hopefully the location and the view of the Eiffel Tower/Notre Dame will make them feel like they received an even exchange...

And in case anyone's curious, my SIL had her baby on the 20th!  We were so relieved, as I had been worried she'd be born after our departure and that we wouldn't be able to meet her until this summer.  But she came out early like a champ, and we were able to get in plenty of quality time with her before flying back to France.

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3 Comments:

Blogger melinda said...

congrats on your new niece.....my grandson Hugo was born on dec 19th (it's kind of a bummer for b'days to be so close to xmas) but everyone was happy he was fat (10 lbs !) & healthy (he's now 4)
if y'all ever need to be in western NC, give me a shout...happy new year

December 28, 2016 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Hey Auntie Sam,

Congrats to your bro and SIL, and all the family.. Merry Christmas to you all! What a great solution to do a house exchange, what a beautiful house! Of COURSE, they will ADORE your place, it is beautiful, charming, great view, and great location! I can confirm that they will be VERY happy about staying there this summer!

Cheers and hope to see you guys in the New Year.... By the way, funny immersion thing, that now that I am officially French, I cannot even phathom wishing ANYONE a Happy New Year before the NY! A friend left a post on my page the other day wishing me Happy New Year, and it is what, the 28? I was like, YIKES! hahahhah
Take care, Leesa

December 28, 2016 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

I've often thought about a home exchange but never taken the plunge. Perhaps this year will be the year. Yours sounds fantastic!

December 31, 2016 at 12:37 PM  

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