My name is AnnMarie Tornabene (Tornabene-Boivin now) and I am 46 years old. I am an artist born and raised in New York but in January 2015, I moved to France. I live with my husband Gilles in a nice-sized apartment in a suburb of Paris.
My husband is the best thing that's happened to me. He is my equal, my soulmate and I never thought I would ever find that possible in a partner. We work as a team and balance each other out. I have also found something within me, in the way I respond to him - a maturity (sometimes) and a level of understanding and it's because my heart is so full of love for him.
I had a difficult childhood and a still difficult, complicated family life. I was married once before and look back on that as a learning experience, and a stepping stone, not a time filled with bad times or hate. I am a constant work in progress and I am alright with knowing that a final masterpiece will not be created - human beings live, change and evolve constantly, so I think death is the end result. However, my one goal is to be as happy with myself and my choices as I can be, during the one life I do have.
I make art when my mind allows room for it, which has also been difficult this last year. However, I am always wanting to go back to my camera, to my drawings, to my canvas, to my Photoshop and I make sure I do somehow. Right now, I am excited about a new series I am about to begin. Because of recent money problems, my focus went to try some selling, unconventionally, but I am reigning it all back in to just create once again.
Currently, I am in process of becoming a permanent resident here in France. This can take up to 6 months and while the paperwork gets processed, I am to obtain a regulatory visa so I am able to work. We hope to get this next week, as long as we have all of the sufficient documents but we are waiting for a few more things. Things are stressful right now because of that. It will be a long time until I will be able to speak enough French to fully function here (mais j'apprendre) and because I am not working, I am not bringing in an income. This has been the most difficult - living off of a credit card that I am uncertain with when I will pay it all back.
I am discovering more of myself though. I have found I do not take things for granted anymore. I do not have a car, so I walk and take public transportation everywhere which gives one a different view of the world than from inside a speeding car (taking a toll on my body, though!).
I am now considered the foreigner so I am doing what I can to adapt and show my love and appreciation for being in this country. I am also learning to have more patience with myself and my goals, knowing that I am courageous for doing something this bold in my life. I have traveled to different states in the US and a couple, so far, in Europe but I never lived outside of New York until now.
And I am learning the language. When I practice my verbs each day and can form some simple sentences, I am proud of these accomplishments. Je sais que je peux le faire :) (I know I can do it)
In conclusion, I am happy, albeit the struggles. And as with most challenges, rewards are near. Some are already here: