If someone were to periodically listen in on our conversations over the past 20 years or so, they might catch snippets of comments that would include talk of living overseas. Where would we go, we would ask. How long? When kids are young or old? We would dream of evenings walking along the Seine or Thames or regular trips to a market, filling our basket with freshly baked bread, fresh fruit or things we hadn’t heard of before. We would imagine traveling everywhere by train or bike or foot.
There came a point where the conversations turned more logistical: could we really work from somewhere else? Did a vise exist for such a thing? Would someone rent our house for a year? And the cost…is it even feasible?
And as the answers came back…yes, we can work from somewhere else, yes, there is visa for such a thing and yes, someone will rent our house…the door to this possibility kept opening wider and wider. We would look at each other with raised eyebrows and a look that said, “Is this really going to happen?”
So the process began. The house was rented, the kids were accepted into a bilingual school, a home in Paris was found, the dog was chipped and re-vaccinated, the visas arrived. It felt, and still feels, like we’re going on a long vacation.
So, we have packed up what we believe we need (which, in the end, isn’t very much) and with passports in hand and dog in tow, we are off to Paris for the year.
We would be remiss if we didn’t give some shout-outs (and apologizes to those we may forget) to those that have helped along the way:
to Amanda & Becky who said, “We did this and you can, too! Here’s how.”; to Amy, who voluntarily listed the house on her realtor sites to much success; to friends that have done the overseas thing, like Rebecca & Edo and Scott & Corinne who said, “Do it! You will never regret it!”; to others, like Maureen and Steve and Christine and Mary, that said, “I know someone over there! Let me connect you!”; still others offered luggage and dog crates and ladders, like Lisa and Mary and Ed; to Todd, Amy, Kristin and the Williams-Sonoma gang for collecting much needed boxes, to Mom and Dad who said, “We’ll come and help clean the house” and clean they did! The kids need to stay connected so people like Kurt said, “I’ll Skype them into the classroom next year”. To Father Doug and Joy for arranging for and giving us a blessing for the year; And during that final week, people like Sharon, Jody, Carol and Greg, Nilam, Rebecca and Linda brought food and gift cards for restaurants so we didn’t have cook and would be well supplied on our journey. And if that wasn’t enough, people planned parties! Parties with food and photo books and t-shirts and games and s’mores and kickball games and pedicures…and friends…friends that drove like crazy to get back to send us off (thanks for staying safe, Steph and Ty!) and humble us with their friendship. Cheers to Barb, Lee, Scott, Corinne, Nicole, Peter, Steph, Ty, Maureen, Kevin, Linda, Jessica, Rebecca, Ed and others that made our last week in Middleton so fantastic. To Natalie, Chris and Christian who will now house us in Atlanta for a week as we spend time with family before we go. And to our kids who, when presented with this idea responded, “I”m ready. When do we go?” There are people we’ve missed because this was bigger than just us. Please just know that we are grateful to all of you.
We will do our best to share our experiences from all our perspectives. Each of us have our own pages (see the choices in the masthead) so you can see what each of us has been up to.
And so, that’s the beginning of the story. We’ll just see where it takes us.
As a Disney Cast Member, I can’t help but quote a Disney song that fits so appropriately here:
In the Big Blue World, we’re going to go explore
In the Big Blue World, things we’ve never seen before
What’s waiting out there, we will never know
In the Big Blue World, we’re ready to go.
Thanks, Nemo. We’ll follow your lead.