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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Friday, February 09, 2007

On the move again

Sydney. Los Angeles. Shanghai. Paris.


When we were living in Shanghai and I smelled a move coming, I anticipated trouble would follow the news. And it did, but in the opposite direction to that anticipated.

Foreshadowing to Flame-Haired Angel the possibility of being asked to move to Paris carried the real possibility I would have to hose her down. A romantic, fashion-design maven? I was so worried about the slight chance it all mightn’t come off, lest the disappointment of it all falling through crush her, that I debated with myself the possibility of not telling her until the ink was dry. But, no, I thought, best to tell her everything I know, as soon as I know it, so we can deal with the implications together, good or bad.

The good side of this was that the prospect of announcing to her we’d likely be moving to Paris made me feel like Santa Claus with a full sleigh. I’d have to keep her from jumping out of her skin with excitement. She’d be barking at the door and spinning in circles, wagging. Which is a flattering image for a dog person.

“Honey, nothing’s certain yet, so we can’t bank on it, but I’m beginning to get some indications that it’s possible we might be asked to move to Paris.”


Silence. Nothing at all.


“Oh. Well. You know, I’m just not really done with China, yet.”

I put away the hose and got out the watering can. The last thing I anticipated was that I might actually have to nurture the idea that Paris would be good.

A month or so ago, I was riding an entirely different kind of trepidation on my way home to discuss our next possible move. Fortunately, both of us had seen this one coming. I had been working on a big, industry-shaking merger for months. If I emerged still employed, that would be a good thing. The prospect of our life being unchanged was remote.

As it was, I was among the lucky, with several jobs to choose from as the newly merged company came into being. For a moment, it seemed as though an ideal job was about to be paired with the possibility of staying in Paris, but an ugly episode of last-minute, pre-merger corporate politics reduced the number of cookies in the jar by one.

So, take a good job in Paris, or a slightly better one in Blighty?

I knew Flame-Haired Angel wouldn’t want to leave Paris. And I knew there would be exactly three reasons.

First, let’s face it, Paris is a city that can conquer any amount of initial prejudice against it, and Paris had definitely worked its magic on my Angel. Second, having been married to her a few more years than when I announced our previous move, I now recognize a predilection of which I hadn’t been entirely cognizant previously. She would simply prefer to stay put. Having lived thirty-one of her first thirty-four years in one place, she had embraced roots and continuation as more valuable than novelty, which is well and good on holiday, but not necessarily desirable for home.

The third reason she wouldn’t want to leave Paris would be the most difficult to counter. As a place to live, England holds almost no appeal to her. Nor, frankly, does it to me. It’s wet, cold and grey. It’s expensive. It’s isolationist. The food’s generally crap. And the place is full of whingeing Poms.

There are good things, of course: a legion of them, including crazy extended family that air guitars on New Year’s Eve. But it would be her third international move in six years, and it would be a move away from a city, a home and a group of friends she has come to love.

This time, her reaction was exactly as anticipated. It was also warm generous and full of adaptability. So, we’re house-hunting in Berkshire, moving to perhaps the only major city in Europe that’s more expensive than Paris, and making lists of all the things we’re looking forward to about living in England:

  • Better professional prospects for stubborn non-French-speakers
  • Meat pies
  • Family in Cornwall
  • Friends in London
  • A garden, maybe
  • Great book stores
  • Quaint pubs with snugs and fireplaces

Comments on "On the move again"


Blogger scootergrrl said ... (3:58 AM) : 

Singing "On the road again..."

Hope you guys have a rockin time in London!


Blogger The Skiver said ... (7:08 PM) : 

Whinging Pom?

One question? Who just won the cricket?


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