31 January 2009

$$$$, €€€€

In fantasy land, the move to France was to be no big deal- I get my same US salary, we’d rent out the house here and rent an apartment in Paris- that’s got to be about equal, right?

In reality land:
No renter yet; the original idea was someone known, to be a “house sitter.” If we put it on the open market, that means we need to put our stuff in storage ($$$) and pay someone to manage the property ($$). Still not sure what we’re going to do.

It turns out that in Paris, furnished apartments have huge upfront fees (€€€€): 2x month deposit, 2x month agent fee, habitation tax, etc etc. So we figured unfurnished; a trip to Ikea (€) would probably be cheaper than all of those fees. Except we didn’t count on the fact that in France, an unfurnished apartment has no appliances (€€) or even cabinets (€€€). We’ll find out in a week what our options are.

We were hoping for an adventure- more than we bargained for? I’m guessing this is only the beginning…

29 January 2009


I go away for 2 days to NYC (work related meeting) and find out my company has been bought out by a bigger competitor. I get more info from the New York Times about the merger than from the official announcements when I get back to work today.

Regardless, my boss assures me that Paris is on. It may not last the full 2 years, but for now, go for it. Don't need to tell me twice.

On Monday, the long-stay visa was approved. I now have to schedule appointments with the French Consulate in DC to pick up the visas; we'll go there after the apartment finding trip to Paris in February.

It's getting more real.

10 January 2009

On the treadmill

The rate of activity has increased, even if we've still gone nowhere so far.

The corporate move has many perks and quirks. There is a whole cadre of people facilitating. Danielle the US agent, Marianne the French agent, Alice and David the tax agents...

We're going over to Paris in early February to look for apartments. The fantasy of the romantic Paris interlude was interrupted by the discovery that the only "approved' hotels for our stay are out in La Defense, the office park where my business is located. It is charmingly dead and deserted after about 8 pm on weeknights, and all day weekends. Luckily, it is an easy Metro ride away to the real city.

On the home front, plasterers came today to fix the bedroom ceiling (destroyed by clumsy attic cleaner guys, cleaning the mess left by the roofers...), painters will return next week to paint the ceiling. The house is going to look spectacular just as we leave.

01 January 2009

The long journey, and we haven't even taken a step...

The idea for Paris was hatched when I first started my job- someone else was doing the Paris "sabbatical" at that point.

This year saw a convergence of events that made the time right to start working on getting there. First attempt- no go. Second approach- interviewing for a permanent position in Paris. I would lose too much for that option to be feasible. Third try was the charm- I found the door open a crack and shoved it wide open. My boss was on board, HR was willing to make it work, things looked good. Two months to get all of the internal approvals secured, two more months to get the visa application complete, and now we await the visa approvals. Which may be another two months, and requires a trip to the French embassy in DC. So the goal move date is 1 March, which gives us enough time to take care of things on this side of the pond.

Excited, terrified, the full range of emotions are in play.