Monthly Archives

June 2013


Moving to Paris with Young Children?

Things are moving at breakneck speed all of the sudden.
I knew it would happen like this, but it’s still overwhelming.

Chicken has an interview in Paris.  She’ll be flying out sometime in the next week or so (TBD).
The direct quote was “They feel very, very, very strongly about you” and a bunch of other fabulous things.
So, um, whoa.
If they* like her, she will be

hired for a six week trial training in Paris.  After that, both parties will decide if it’s working. 

If it is….we move to Paris.

Excuse me, but my head is about to explode.
Last time we were in Paris, May 2005

This means that shortly after her interview we very well could be frantically packing up and moving out…by the end of June.
The boys and I will join her in Paris for the six weeks because this is, after all, a family decision.  We all need to be there trying it out.

I’m thinking about really stupid things like, “Should I cancel the boy’s gymnastic classes by this Thursday’s deadline?” “Where can I buy a sunlight so we don’t all die from light deprivation?” “Is it imperative for a French woman (or one interviewing in France) to wear a skirt to an interview or can she wear pants?”  “Do I want to live in a city where I can’t spend my entire day running around in yoga/workout clothes?” “I think textiles are more expensive in Paris.  I should probably use that Bed Bath Beyond coupon and buy new towels and bring them with us.” “The boy’s table manners are f*cking abysmal, there’s no way we can go out to eat in Paris.”

Hello, she hasn’t even had the interview yet, let alone got the job!  Getting ahead of myself much?

Oh, but my brain races.

In the meantime, the Bangkok deal has yet to be fully discussed so there’s still Thailand on the table.

The jobs are different.  The cities couldn’t be more different.  There is simply no comparison between Paris and Bangkok.
I mean, it’s like trying to rate New York City against Kansas City.  They both have “City” in their name and that’s about where the similarity ends.
Bread, Cheese and Wine VS Noodles, Fish and Mango Smoothies.

I’d  probably be healthier in Bangkok, but I sure do love a perfect baguette and some stinky cheese.

*Many of you have inquired the nature of Chicken’s career.  I can’t really talk about it in detail but it’s along the lines of corporate intelligence.

How Do You Prepare for the Unknown?

We are gearing up here at Casa Puffer for travel.  Um, maybe.

The plan has always been to take off as much time as possible and travel as a family.
Originally we thought we’d be able to take a year, but the rules have changed at Chicken’s employer and it’s highly unlikely we’ll even be granted 9 months.  We think we’ll get 6 months and honestly that is a wonderful chunk of time to have as a family traveling together.

Once we decided we were really going to DO this, Chicken also decided she was ready to put a new message out to the universe:  Send an

international job opportunity our way.

Since then, we have had opportunities present themselves in Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris, Latin America, Singapore and now….maybe….our dream city, Bangkok.

How do you prepare for the unknown?

It’s gone something like this:

Hong Kong looks like it’s going to happen, we’re in round 2 of interviews and I already know which island we’re going to live on, the village I’d like to find an apartment/house, how the transportation system works, where the wet market it, how to get things delivered, where to go for yoga, swimming, hiking and I’ve made a family budget.
Of course, the job went to someone already based in Hong Kong.

But no worries, because now there’s something happening in Paris or maybe Berlin.  It looks like it would be based in Berlin.  OK, I don’t really want to do winter at all let alone more winter.  But I love a challenge and a new adventure so let’s learn about Berlin.  Oh hey, the cost of living is super cheap.  Wow.  OK, cheap enough that we can live nicely and still have enough left to save and take a vacation during the long, dark winter so I don’t go stark raving mad.  Eh, but there’s still all that snow and ice to deal with.  I don’t really want to learn German.  It’s not exactly my….favorite….language.  Ah, but Berlin is really happening and the arts scene is fabulous and life there could be super cool.  I can do it.  Let’s go to Berlin!

What’s that?  There might be a position in Singapore?  Really, Singapore?!  Fuck Berlin!  I didn’t want to go to Berlin anyway.  Never did.  Tell me more about Singapore.  Oh, you’re waiting to hear.  OK.  I’m going to go ahead and stay up until 2 am for the next 4 nights researching everything about living in Singapore, just in case, OK?

Wait, now Paris is on the table?  Oh god, really?  Not so sold on Paris either, but damn, it beats Berlin.  Searching for the best arrondissement to live in with kids…found the perfect neighborhood, totally affordable and we can send the kids to French preschool for free.  Oh my god, have you seen the menus for lunch in French preschool?  Holy shit, I’m going to see if I can eat there, too.  Oh sweet Jesus I don’t have to worry about feeding these kids lunch four days a week.  Paris rocks.
Are you qualified for this job?  You aren’t exactly fluent in French, more like basic.  Oh god, my French sucks.  I wish the French spoke Spanish, it’s so much easier.  But Paris IS beautiful.  But the Parisians aren’t exactly known for letting foreigners into their circles.  Am I going to end up a depressed mess, alone with cheap wine in a dark apartment?  Maybe I could get a sunlamp and up the antidepressants, after all this is the prime time for the kids to learn a 2nd language.  Suck it up for the children!  Get a grip, you can do this.  Living in Paris is going to be great–when do we leave?  We need to leave in the next couple of months because if we arrive too late, we won’t be able to get the kids into a maternelle (preK) for September and I really don’t want to make lunch everyday, they need to get into a maternelle!

What’s going on with Singapore, by the way?  THE call is tonight?  Really?  They want to pay you how much?  That’s a pay cut.  Screw that, Singapore is as expensive as NYC, there’s no way we’re taking a pay cut.  See ya, Singapore.  You are a boring, sterile bubble anyway (but I’ll still gladly live there if you pay us enough!).

Ah, the lady in Singapore sent your CV (resume) around to others in the South East Asian (SEA) region?  Someone in Bangkok?  For real?  The head of the team is based in Singapore but we could live in Bangkok?  And he already called you, emailed you and texted you the same day your CV was sent out?  OMFG.  THIS is what I’ve been waiting for!

And….dear readers, that brings you up to date with the level of change and chaos in our household for the last month.

It IS stressful, but in no way am I complaining.  There are so many options presenting themselves  and these are wonderful ‘problems’ to have.

My main ‘problem’ is my intense desire to know every single thing about every possible ‘maybe’.  This has caused me way too many late nights and I really let my head get away racing with thoughts of a new life in Hong Kong or Singapore or Berlin or Paris (we decided against Latin America, the large cities don’t appeal).  This is something I have to stop doing as it just stresses me out more.  I’m not doing it with Bangkok (well not yet anyway…).  Of course it helps that I already know tons about living in Bangkok so my curiosity is not at the unknown level.

For now we wait.  We wait to hear about Paris and Bangkok.  We wait to hear about any new news.  And we still have our wild card–after all, the original plan was to travel.  Just travel!
In case none of the work abroad/we are now expats plans pan out, we will travel.

I am way out of my comfort zone with all of the not knowing which equals not being able to plan.  When people say “So, are you guy really moving (ie: giving up our apartment in NYC)?  Where are you going?”  I don’t have any sort of answer to give them.
I know two things and only two.
Either we will be living abroad or we will be traveling abroad.  With careful planning, I have managed to secure 4 one way, business class tickets on Cathay Pacific from NYC to Bangkok (all free with my frequent flier miles!). 
We will be gone by October 8, 2013.
We land in Bangkok.  That’s all I know.  Yikes!