Ode to My Husband – Love Nest Abroad and Some Fish

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.

Harry and Sally Meets Good Wine

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.

Our first real apartment in Paris.

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).

Had to keep your head low in our little studio.
Had to keep your head low in our little studio.

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.

Shot near Notre Dame from our honeymoon visit to Paris. Where we continued to fall in love with each other and this city.

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,


– S

The Importance of Being Mrs.Ernest.com

There are very few careers nowadays where public image does not matter. I find myself constantly aware of it, despite wanting not to. It all amounts to “Am I seen as a professional?” And a large part of starting to build awareness of your professional knowledge is creating a “personal branding”. I know that word is bandied about to the point of being a scare tactic. But it’s true: If people don’t know who you are how will they give you lots of $$ and props?

This is what I propose: The modern woman might be giving up even more then just her history by changing her last name. Street cred? Pride? But is she giving up more by refusing to?

I’m not sure my stance other than I’ve been afraid to admit that I can’t wait to change my name in domestic bliss. This is a bit more deep rooted than the personal branding angle.

Some history: I’m getting married to a one Austin Flores. After much debate I have decided to change my name to Sheila Suarez de Flores come October when we wed. I am modern enough to keep my last name but honored enough to append. I have a website called sheilasuarez.com, as two years ago, I tried to abandon my wishy washy handles that I always grew tired of (deltaspark, eatther0ses, esscore, bluespringtied, birthdayzoot, smapdi3000… and so on) for something I have always been: Sheila Suarez. Plus then when an employer saw my awesome CSS skillz they’d know who to call.

But now as I’m relying on this handle more and more, filing my taxes (or failing to) online, banking, handing out business cards and otherwise, I realize that with the ring comes the destined name change. I know who I will be in six months. Why not change now?

Pride. I always thought myself the feminist, a sensible one, likes to pay dutch but doesn’t mind a car door being opened for her. But with this has come a stubborn streak that won’t admit that she WANTS to change her name. Aghast when other girls did so before their wedding. Changing their handle to include a “Mrs”? Good lord not your internet handle! If guys don’t do it at all or get all giddy about it, why should I (working in a male dominated field probably doesn’t help this…)? If it was more acceptable, would guys do it? I do not want to be defined by my relationship but supported (like Hedwig!). Why do I really think this name will define me?

But I’m here to admit it. I like that I’m changing my name because I’m proud of being Austin’s. Can’t wait to change my name! But pride has also kept me from doing it sooner than later. Until tonight, setting up hopefully a blog (god I hate that word) that will last me through several adventures (including marriage), I had to pick a name and I picked: sdeflores.

Is this me being realistic or girly? Austin is pretty dreamy… and there really is no good reason to change my name other than that fact. But if I’m going to do it, why not do it now?

My point has quickly deflated as I’m out of coherent blogging practice. But a little part of INDEPENDENT WOMAN OF STEEL AND CAREER-NESS, named so man or not, has died in me tonight. I know its not a bad thing. In fact, I have missed out on all the giggles. I don’t need my old name to define me! Take that maiden name! In the end, its not that big of a deal. A redirect added from sheilasuarez.com and new business cards in 6 months, but, at what point should we define ourselves? How do we define ourselves? And what is there in a name?

What’s the big deal?

A rose by any other name would taste just as sweet… – “Mrs.” Sheila Suarez “de Flores”

P.S. I need to go to Feminist-Anonymous and admit I like fluffy things and that’s okay.