Making the dream happen (aka) Making the big decision
Mis à jour : juin 10
For me, moving abroad is the result of an on-going process and the realisation of a long-term dream.
Since I was a child, “abroad” has always been an attractive concept in itself.
Discovering new cultures, speaking other languages and living somewhere new has always been fascinating to me. Even before English classes started at school, my mother – English studies graduate and former Scotland resident – taught me a few sentences that I enjoyed practicing in my mind.
I’ve always envied those who were lucky enough to live in another country at a point in their life. I’d always dreamed that my parents might find a job somewhere abroad and that our family could settle there too, like some of my cousins that lived in the Netherlands for a few years.
Since then I’ve dreamed of going abroad by myself and living with a foreign family, like my older sister did when she spent a week in England staying with the family of my father’s work colleague.
For multiple reasons, I would not experience any of these adventures myself as a child.
Freshly graduated from high school, I entered university to study law and immediately checked out all the international exchange programs offered. It was not possible to participate in any of them before third year. I applied for Ireland during second year, but failed in both entering the exchange program and the second year itself… Not dissuaded, I applied yet again the following year, this time for the most distant destination that my university offered: Vancouver, Canada. Bingo!
Off to Canada from September 2008 to August 2009. Unquestionably the most enlightening and instructive year of my studies. I didn’t learn much new law-related knowledge but I did take on some far more useful life lessons: resilience, flexibility, curiosity and a new language… It was a very fruitful year that allowed me to cross a few items off my “dreams list”.
I came back to France with the strong desire of moving away again someday.
Back to reality in the following years. It was time to graduate and find a career path… Uncertain and challenging times. My early 20’s had been full of parties, fun and travel. The end of my 20’s was full of doubts, feelings of failure, and drastic changes.
I left my “dreams list” on the side for a few years and focused on re-connecting with who I wanted to be… A rocky road…
Meanwhile, my career path brought me to work in European affairs for the French Education ministry, which rebuilt my desire to live abroad and gave it new justification work wise.
I entirely recovered just on time for the best adventure of my life: meeting my then-future husband in 2017, a few months before turning 30.
This unexpected passion (probably a good post subject…) gave me the final kick to get the “dreams list” back on track and start to cross off a few more items.
Michael moved to France mid-2018 and talks about where to live next where quickly on the table.
New challenges had arisen since I was a student: How would I make a living? Where would I work? Under what immigration status? How would I feel to be so far away from my close ones (especially as I was pregnant)? Was I comfortable with starting new friendships from the beginning? What would I miss while living abroad for an indefinite period and would I miss it too much?
I had built myself some security over the years. Financially, I had a well-paid job. Socially, my friends were close. Emotionally, my family was near… Moving would mean starting again. This was a decision that would challenge me greatly.
Then, it hit me: the dream of living abroad was re-surfacing!
Finally! After years of imagining, a real opportunity was now presenting itself. Plus, I was not going alone, I’d be with a local - way comfier…
Apprehension was part of the process, and I had to embrace it (that would also be a good subject for a post). First, I had to decide what I really wanted. Second, I needed to think about the outcomes and making everything fall into place eventually.
Early 2019, we knew we were going back with our baby to New Zealand, his homeland, the following year.
The adventure is on…