Monday, October 14, 2013
My Expat Life in France
If you told me a few years ago that at age 30 I would leave my job, my life, my family and friends and move out the country I probably would have laughed. Sure I caught the "travel bug" at a young age and I've been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to some places that many only dream of: France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Singapore, Indonesia to name a few. But partly I was able to travel to these places because I had a good job with a comfortable salary as a medical professional in New York. I also had a very comfortable and happy life there for five years which included the aformentioned job but also a wonderful circle of friends, a cute apartment in a great location, and supportive family only a four hour train ride away. So why leave?
Well, you may have noticed that I used the word comfortable a few times in this post. That sense of comfort in my life was part of the push for me to jump in to the unknown. I was too comfortable, working a job that I liked (most days) and going through the motions of life. New York is a great place to do this. You can "go through the motions" but still feel like you are living an incredible and exciting life, after all you live in NYC! To outsiders New York often seems big and crowded and scary. At first it is all of those things, but living there for an extended time provides a different reality...it can actually begin to feel quite enclosed and small. New York welcomes solitude without ever making you feel alone. For me it was a place to extend my youth a bit longer. Just living there made me feel as if I had accomplished something great. "I did it! I lived in New York!" But now what...
I started to get the itch to leave about a year before I made the move. My life had become too repeatitive and I felt that I was suffocating amongst the noise, the traffic, the people, the buildings. I needed fresh air and open spaces. Hadn't I always wanted to live at the beach? Why didn't I ever do that? I was worried that five years would turn into ten and then I would be a 40 year old living in New York in the same comfortable life as now (with a few cats in a studio apartment, yikes!). Please don't think that I'm ungrateful for the life that I had. I am eternally grateful and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. I just needed a change.
And then... I met a guy at a party. Aren't the twists and turns of life funny like that? There's just one minor (major?) detail, this party was in the South of France. Flashforward a year of long distance dating, Skype rendez-vous, and increasing our frequent flyer miles and it was decided, I was ready for a new adventure! Join me as I share some of the experiences and images from this next chapter, my life in France.
photo credit: Rebecca Leese, Paris, France 2013