Thursday, January 06, 2011


"Yes," I said immediately to Adam's question. He nodded and opened his mouth but I interrupted before he could. "No!" I contradicted myself loudly. "Wait! Yes. No. Crap - I don't know. Maybe?"

He nodded again and smiled. "So you'll think about it," he decided. "I think you'd be great - it's a very good role for you and I do want to keep you on the team - but it would mean spending considerable time in Paris."

I've been looking at my photos from Paris, taken nearly a year ago when I spent the first weeks of my 32nd year flitting about western Europe. Despite my mad crush on London, shivering memories of Stockholm and admiration for Barcelona, Paris was the most compelling place I've been. Drenched in beauty, undeniably dramatic - I am enchanted with the very idea of having a flat there. Wandering the streets, eating the food, watching the people.

I want the job - Adam is correct in his assessment that I'd be quite good at it for it plays to all my strengths and removes exposure to a couple of my known weaknesses. I'd expand my visibility and learn important skills.

"It's very appealing," I concluded my conversation with my boss.

  • Chienne and Sprout couldn't go.
  • I love where I live - proximity to family, this pretty house, my easy commute and treasured routine.
  • I don't speak French.
  • I'm not very fancy - I doubt I'd fit in well in Paris.
  • There are a lot of unknowns - it'd be crazy-stressful to make the transition to living abroad.
  • I'm not sure I could even find guacamole there. Doesn't seem very French.
But, wait - Yes
"I'm open to various arrangements," Adam replied to my question of how it would be structured. "Let's say you go there for six months and get to know the teams very well. Get exposed to the role and learn what you need to know. Then you'd come back here - same house, same office, same team - and visit Europe frequently."

I could buy art. And shoes! Drink fabulous wine. Explore the countryside. Take photos and have adventures.

Hang said art and wear said shoes, casually offering replies to compliments that, "Oh, these? I picked them up when I lived in Paris." The very thought makes me want to twirl in delight.

I think also of the access to the rest of Europe. Weekends in Italy or Spain or Greece. Taking trains and soaking in culture. Developing a more global view of work and life and love.

I'm young - well, relatively. I'm talented but grow self-destructive when I feel bored or trapped. I crave beauty and power and risk even as I shy from all of them. And think of the quality blog posts! Of all that I'd learn and experience and think about!

Hold on, though - No
  • What if something happened to my parents?
  • What if something happened to me? I grew ill with depression while separated from all that is familiar and comforting? I'm not great with change - it takes time for me to adjust and wriggle into comfort again and that transition can send me into spirals of despair.
  • Something Bad Could Happen! I know not what, but it could be Bad.
  • I need stability and routine and comfort. Craving beauty and power and risk is one thing, but it must be balanced against the vital environmental traits.
  • I would be scared.
"When would this happen?" I asked and Adam shrugged.

"July?" he guessed and my stomach flipped with excitement and clenched with apprehension. I patted my tummy sympathetically as I felt myself grow a little sick.

"I don't know," I finally said. "I'll obviously consider it."

I find it very appealing. But I'm not sure how realistic it would be to actually do it.


*statgirl* said... very jealous. Of course, I speak French and have lived abroad so my perspective is different. Do it! :)

Anonymous said...

How exciting! and how terrifying! I'll be interested in hearing about how you finally make the decision---I hope you plan to blog about that. Good luck!

The bean-mom said...

Wow, what a thrilling, exciting, and yes, scary, decision to make! Good luck on whatever you decide, Katie.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Paris Paris Paris Paris!!!!!! And Paris. Yes yes yes. Embrace the fear. It's good for you. And you can always get on a plane and come home if anything happens to anybody.


Girlpostdoc said...

OMG! That's so exciting and terrifying. But I would jump at the chance to live outside the comfort zone/box. I agree with DBH if something happens you can always go home.

If you had asked me 5 years ago would I live in the USA? I would have instantly said no way. It's a totally crazy place: guns, republicans and no health care. I had all kinds of reasons why not to move out of Canada.

When HippieHusband and I decided to move to the States we were like, "okay if the shit hits the fan, we drive for the border. Fast!" You know what, major shit hit the fan and we didn't run. Instead we stayed. You know what? We're better people for living and struggling in a foreign (and yes the USA is absolutely foreign) country.

But we still joke about running for the border.

Shedding Khawatir said...

Go go go go go!!!!!!!! I have friends who have lived in Paris and have lived there a bit myself. It is wonderful. You can most definitely go home if something happens. Also, it is likely that your friends and family will want to visit, so you will still see them. There are all kinds in Paris, so you don't have to be fancy. Since you know you need a routine, you can make one, and you can also obtain avocados :-)

Amelie said...

What an exciting possibility, Katie!
I'd say go, but then I'm about to go abroad for the 3rd time, so perhaps I'm addicted ;)

I think everyone that goes to live so far from home fears that something Bad could happen. But, as the others above said, you can go home if it does. I've been in that situation (my mom died while I lived here), and it is terrible, of course, but I think it was equally terrible for my siblings who lived close to home. And I very much hope nothing bad will happen for you.

You can learn French and there will be avocados. And you'd have the rest of Europe at your feet!

Anthea said...

Goo!! You'll learn French faster than you think. People can's not as if its the end of the world and there's a major international airport nearby. You'll have, as Amelie says, Europe at your feet. Living in another country, away from one's home ...does make one wonder what might happen to one's parents.

An Oldie said...

I wholeheartedly agree with everyone here. GO FOR IT. It is temporary, you can learn French, you are going to be exposed to the culture, you can eat fabulous French pastries, your parents can come for a visit. I am so jealous, lol. Go for it.

Kate said...

I moved abroad (to the UK) 4 years ago and it is the best thing I could have done. Isolation is a problem; I am a natural introvert so finding friends has been difficult. I take a couple of classes and am in a book club so I have some lovely acquaintances. This has -- mostly -- been enough for me. This is a very personal decision, but since you've put it out there on the internet, I say go. :) (p.s. - if Chienne is healthy and a decent traveler, she (he? sorry, forgot) can come -- just has to be up to date on shots and microchipped.)

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