And we’re not talking babies. I’m talking about “the move.” The move that will end our life in Paris and start us on another adventure.
We’re the kind of expats that move with the needs of an employer. We get some say, but overall, if there is a job for you in Timbuktu, then you go to Timbuktu. It’s the life we gladly signed up for.
When we first embarked on this expat journey, it was unexpected. We always knew an overseas assignment was on the agenda. But we had expected to stay in Edmonton at least another year. So it was a huge surprise to find out the company was going to move us so soon. Of course we were excited and happy to go.
That 1-2 year assignment became a 3-4 year sejour. It felt like we were defying fate because it couldn’t last forever. Recently, there has been one looming question over our heads… when will we get the next assignment?
We’ve been expecting a move for the past few months. Back in November, our vacation for January wasn’t approved because “you may be gone by then.” But the weeks and eventually the months rolled on. With each Friday that passed without any news, we sighed a big sigh of relief. Another weekend where we can just simply enjoy life in Paris and not worry about the future. Six months has been a long time living with the knowledge that he can come home one day and kick-start the beginning of the end of our Paris life.
There were rumours and whispers at his work… we were asked to reconsider moving to City A. But that didn’t seem to lead anywhere. Then the possibility of City B seemed really enticing. But that was no longer a possibility. Then there’s City C… we don’t want to go to City C. It might be City C.
Is there a City D we don’t know about?
And during this time of uncertainty and impending change, I’ve learned what to expect…
You can’t make long term plans.
And if you do, you have to accept the fact you might not be there to carry them out. The baby shower I didn’t think I would be there for. The birthday I thought we’d miss out on. The yoga retreat I was sure I might have to cancel. It has become harder to get excited for that Facebook invite for next month’s party. For that special once-a-year event in Paris we’ve never missed.
People keep asking you… any news?
Any news on when to expect tearful goodbyes and make promises of staying in touch. And of possible visits. For the past 3 years, I was on the receiving end of these goodbyes; soon I will be the one giving them. And no matter what side you are on, the one leaving or the one staying behind, they always suck. No news… yet. Yes, I’m relieved too.
You try to think of ways to staying longer.
Perhaps we can get our passports renewed, that will take time. Perhaps we can find other jobs, and stay in Paris as locals. Let’s just make it to the Masked Ball at Versailles. Let me just spend one last birthday here.
Your emotions get on the biggest roller-coaster of your life.
The sadness of leaving is contrasted by the excitement of going somewhere new. The discovery of a new culture and language. A new part of the world to explore. A new city to call home. But then there’s the anxiety of starting over. Making new friends. Establishing a new home. Doubts creep in. What if what worked here, doesn’t work there? What if I keep pining for Paris? What if I’m not happy there?
You go through all the possibilities
and imagine where they might take you. You list the pros and cons. You dream. You wish. You dread. You accept reality. You accept your fate that will be determined by someone else.
Not knowing what the future holds. Not knowing how much longer we can call ourselves Parisians. We wait for news of “the move.” The move we’ve been talking about from the very beginning. We always knew it couldn’t last forever.
But as a traveler at heart, I can’t help but feel excited and ready for a change.
Even if it’s to City C.