Lithuania to Cap d’Antibes
For Erika, originally from Nida in Lithania, Cap d’Antibes is her paradise found. I met her on the roof terrace of her appartment a few weeks ago.
In what I guess is typical Lithuanian hospitality I was offered some traditional Lithunian cheese served with honey and jam along with a rather generous glass of chilled Rose, which was regularly topped up by her very charismatic husband. Although it was only 2.30 in the afternoon I couldn’t refuse :). Erika lives with her husband and two young sons.
I asked her to tell me a little about how they came to be living on the Cap and how it compared to being in her hometown back in Lithuania.
The first time I came to Cap d’Antibes was five years ago. My husband brought me here soon after we met because he loved to be here. He had visited many times for business and for holidays. The first time he came was in 2000. He had just bought himself a Porsche Carrera in Germany and he wanted to drive somewhere in it. So, with his friend, they drove down here and ended up on the Cap at some point during that road trip.
On all of his following visits he had always been looking for a flat or a home to buy on the Cap.
He really loved this place and he wanted to show it to me. I remember the first time he brought me here. We were driving through this beautiful place through all the little roads and for me it was literally like heaven.
There were no words to describe how I felt being here and I fell in love straight away.
I remember I turned and said to him that I would like my children to grow up in this place.
I was born and grew up somewhere very similar. My family home was a small town called Nida in Lithuania which looks very similar to Cap d’Antibes. Of course it is warmer here but otherwise there are many similarities between the two. Nida is also a very beautiful place.
I spent all of my childhood there. I went sailing with the same little sailing boats you see here by Plage Salis. My childhood was spent beside the sea so here it reminds me of home. Of course here there is another climate and a different kind of nature and also a lot of wealth but now I understand that I like to be in a small place. I feel most at home in a place where there is a lot of nature. I also need to be near the water. When I had my children I found that I wanted to be in this kind of environment for them too.
Now I am so happy that we have the opportunity to live here. In ten minutes we are at the sea. If we were living in the town we wouldn’t have that.
I think at the moment the boys don’t really appreciate what they have here but I think they will grow to learn what it is to be and to live in a place like Cap d’Antibes.
I have been all along the Cote d’Azur but this part for me was always the most special.
Four years ago when our first son was born we moved here for a few months. At that point we were living at the beginning of the Cap. Our friend had a place there so were rented that all winter. This, however, is the first year we have been trying to live here full time.
We love the greenness here. Honestly we couldn’t imagine living in a concrete jungle, as my husband calls it. We love to have space and to be surrounded by nature both of which Cap d’Antibes has.
I also think we have the best beaches here. We have lovely sandy beaches and we don’t have to drive to get to them.
I would really like to stay here permanently but there aren’t many flats to buy on the Cap. We bought this one a couple of years ago but we will need a bigger place if we stay here long term.
So at the moment we have a house in Vilnius,where my husband is from, and this appartment. We were living between the two but now we are trying to stay in one place for children.
Life is good in Vilnius too. It’s quiet and we have many friends and family there. Here we have no friends and we don’t speak French but despite that we still love it. It’s really difficult for us to decide where to base ourselves as both have advantges. I think I would really like my children to grow up in Cap d’Antibes.
People at home ask me why I don’t find it easier to choose where I want to be. They can’t understand why I would want to bring my children up in Vilnius rather than in the South of France. For them being here and in France is better, especially for the boys. You have the French Language and English and then you have the international schools. For the boys’ education they would have more opportunities here in France. Lithuanian as a language is only important in Lithuania. You can use it only there so growing up in an international environment would be more beneficial for them.
I am slightly concerned about sending them to the local French school as I worry how I am going to be able to help them with their school work and things like that. It’s something I have to think about. I did promise myself that I would learn French within a year but I haven’t managed it yet.
For now my lack of French hasn’t been a problem because I don’t really need it. Most of the time I am at home with my sons or I go to the shop which is fine. I don’t really speak with anyone else.
If I try to think where we will be this time next year I think it will be here. In Lithuania the children don’t start school until they are seven and our oldest son is only 5 at the moment. Therefore we have a few years to try out being here and if it doesn’t work out we can go back to Lithuania without affecting his schooling. We will of course always keep this place for holidays.
Do you ever get lonely here?
I don’t really have time to feel lonely. These days we have the internet and Skype so I can keep in touch with friends and family back home very easily. My husband and I are also always busy, him with work and me with my children. There isn’t time to feel lonely.
Where is you favourite place to be on the Cap?
I love to come up here on the roof terrace and look at the view. Every day is different. You see the same view but it’s never the same. You see the mountains, the snow, the sea and the amazing sunsets. I am always saying to my sons wow look at the sky or look at the colours or the clouds but they are more excited at seeing a car or a tractor or things like that.
I also really love the people here. They are always smiling. When I go out walking people are always happy and they say Bonjour. Everyone seems more relaxed. I like that. It’s not like that in Lithuania.
Having people around you who are happy and smiley makes you feel happy and smiley too.
I brought my parents here once and they said “wow it’s like another world here” and it’s true. It’s a great gift and I think there are probably many French people who dream to see this place once in their lives. We have the chance everyday to wake up in this place and to live here. It makes me feel very privileged.
My favourite places are the Plage des Ondes and I also love Eilen Roc and the Sentier du Littoral. I also adore the trees here. There are so many different varieties and I wonder what types of trees they are and then I ask myself What was I doing at school? Why don’t I know more about trees?
Basically I love everything about Cap d’Antibes.
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