In 2010, I decided to take the leap and move to France with a recently minted engineering degree. I didn’t know what I was looking for or what I would find, but it has proved to be a fantastic adventure filled with good food, awkward moments and quite a few train rides on the SNCF. A few years later, I’m getting used to newly married life and nearing the last year of my PhD in Toulouse in the South of France. Needless to say, I found a lot more than could have ever been hoped for.
Like many Americans, living abroad used to be a dream, like flying, living in a castle or home ownership in San Francisco. It was something for wealthy people and retired business women gone off to go Eat, Pray and Love. Students just starting out in life didn’t do things like that, at least not in my family.
Meeting more than a few foreign exchange students while seeking my engineering degree in the San Francisco Bay Area challenged my ideas about who could and should go abroad. Students studying abroad come from all different backgrounds and financial capabilities. The only thing necessary to live abroad is a strong motivation to do so.
In the summer of 2010, I decided that I was moving to France and did everything I could to make that happen. I read newspapers in French, watched Netflix in French with the hard subtitles covered by note cards (no matter how bad some films were) and tortured every French person I could find with my barely intelligible accent.
Six months later I arrived in Paris with a one way ticket and the rest is what this blog is all about.