Love Expats Style
Some might say that moving aboard can be the worse thing you can do for your relationship. Or really any major move or life change is tough in a four-legged race… let’s be fair.
For me it has been the best thing I could have done. As I now appreciate my husband more than I could ever express in a silly little blog rambling. I am learning to trust in him, see him for the man he is and not take him for granted, not even for one second.
I am so ever grateful that I made this move with Austin. He is my constant (Lost style ;p). Life abroad is not all travel, cheese and ease. I have my down moments of self doubt where I cannot tell the paperwork from the oak trees. But he always seems to find me no matter how low I get.
We had worked together before but moving to a 27 square meter apartment, working at the same long hour jobs (two now), teaching dance together (in french) and relearning to how to live (french style) definitely has been a challenge.
I have now reached the point where I see my fellow expats leave, those that came around the time we came (my “expat class” as I call it). It is sad though we all have our reasons. Some came planning only to stay a couple months. Some have found better opportunities. Some just do not like it. And Paris is definitely not a city to stick with if it is not the right fit. I am not too sure I would still be here if I did not have Austin. (And a few dozen friendly french strangers and friends a like).
We definitely have progressed greatly since our arrival in Paris, in our temporary 17 square meter apartment or when the machine ate my credit card on the first day. We have progressed enough so that I can fondly look back at some of our earlier now-funny struggles. I will not say we have stability now but we are gaining comfortability… and we have come a long way.
And I am glad this has been a partner marathon.
Austin and I moved to France 6 months into our marriage and 5.5 years into our relationship. For those who know our wedding date (the binary for 42), you know we love Douglas Adams and our wedding abounded in references to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Today I stumbled upon a reading that I had to share and my relation to it. It is a mix between how I felt: the first time we kissed, at our wedding and during our first year in Paris (in the apartment where you could barely swing a cat).
Enjoy and Thanks Austin.
From Douglas Adams’ “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish”
There was a sort of gallery structure in the roof space which held a bed and also a bathroom which, Fenchurch explained, you could actually swing a cat in, “But,” she added, “only if it was a reasonably patient cat and didn’t mind a few nasty cracks about the head. So. Here you are.”
They looked at each other for a moment.
The moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from.
For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone long enough with a Swiss cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who wakes one morning to find the door of his cage hanging quietly open and the savanna stretching gray and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.
He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.
He hadn’t realized that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones until it now said something it had never said to him before, which was,