If you have come into contact with me for the past two years then you may already know my life dream is to move to France for a year. I think I have told our mailman, everyone at Liv’s French school and even total strangers who humor me with a smile while I crazily go on and on about it. I’ve always dreamed of living abroad. I have been researching, prepping and planning for this move but not exactly sure how to make it possible.
Well, I got my wish…
Our family is moving to Paris, FRANCE!!!
Antz asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday and I said, I would like for you to ask again if you can work abroad. His boss didn’t think it would work a year ago but we couldn’t give up on this dream. Antz and I put together a new proposal and we waited a year. In hindsight, as devastating as that initial NO was, it only motivated me more. We took that year to make much needed renovations to our house and even took a lovely unexpected trip to Iceland. Antz connected with the right people at work, submitted his proposal and his boss gave him the green light! I have been waiting in agony for months having to hold in this secret, waiting to get everything in order. I am elated to finally be able to share our great news. It still doesn’t feel real. I have been wanting this for so long that I haven’t even processed that this is finally happening. When Antz told me his boss agreed, I cried with joy. I could not have made this happen without his job being onboard so I am so grateful that he was able to negotiate this move. We have a lot of preparations ahead of us but I am confident I will have everything aligned.
I posted this inspiration on my Instagram the day Antz asked his boss to work abroad, exactly one year until we leave! We are planning to swap with a lovely French family during our time abroad. I will post about how we are house swapping soon.
The trickiest part will be getting our long stay visas (carte de sejour). We have to fill out tons of paperwork, make copies of everything, and translate our paperwork into French. I have heard that French bureaucracy is a nightmare so we are hiring a consultant to assist us with the visas. I don’t want to have any surprises that will hold up the process. There’s also all the moving expenses: airfare *did you know a one-way ticket cost more than a roundtrip ticket?* and other logistics like renter’s insurance, international health insurance policy, opening a French bank account and our expenses in California. We may rent a storage unit for the stuff we aren’t bringing and we’ll need to get a post office box to forward all our mail. I have already written a post about the visa process and all of our moving expenses. We are planning to makeover our bathroom and paint our bedroom in the next few months. Hopefully, #45 won’t mess things up too badly for our swappers to get approved for their visas. Fingers crossed!
Antz wanted to set a realistic timeline to prepare ourselves for this move. So we gave ourselves year to get everything in place. I am so glad Olivia is young enough to adapt to this move away from her life in LA. She plans to stay in touch with her friends via Skype, writing letters and will check in for scheduled video chats with her class. I know she will benefit so much by traveling at a young age. I feel like this strengthens our choice of French immersion education.
During my surprise visit to Paris to see Aimee I fell in love with a school near Aimee’s rental. I took this photo and told her, I would love for Liv to go to that school. Turns out, the family we are swapping with lives a block from this school! I found a ballet school for her close by so she will continue her classes. I didn’t know it at the time but the neighborhood I was visiting Aimee was the same area we are moving to. I know those streets so well and feel very at home there. Antz will have the opportunity to visit art schools and industry events in Paris to seek new talent for his work team. He will also visit his company’s office in London. I am sure the change of environment will reenergize his creativity. I am excited to take French lessons while Liv is in school. There’s no doubt, Paris would be an inspiring place for all of us.
I often catch myself daydreaming about what our life over there would be like. I imagine us biking along the Seine, having a picnic in Jardin du Tuileries next to a gorgeous carousel with the Eiffel Tower in the distance, it’s too perfect for words. I am so excited to experience total immersion, to finally learn French so I can speak with Liv. I have no doubt Olivia will thrive in school because her French is so strong and she is great at making new friends. She is so excited to live in Paris. I can’t wait to live without being a slave to my car. I look forward to strolling along the cobblestone paved roads staring at the gorgeous Parisian architecture. I am thrilled to experience the weather. In LA, I get to wear my scarves and sweaters a few days out of the year so bring on the cold! I can’t wait to hop on a train and take weekend trips throughout Europe. There are so many cities in France I hope to visit. My goal is to travel to twenty European countries during our time abroad.
We will be leaving in March 2018. Only Six months away!! This was the most incredible birthday gift I could ever receive. Thank you so much Antz for making my dream come true!
I bought that amazing Things will work out print from People I’ve Loved.