Subject: RE: Moving overseas: tips and advice sought
Hi Evan, Congratulations on your decision! I think that moving to a different country (ie. becoming a bone fide expat) is an incredible experience that every one who loves travelling should have

All of the things that most of us love about travelling: ie. meeting new people, seeing new cultures, learning about the history of a different country and its peoples, etc. are there - but are magnified. You'll have the luxury of more time to really 'dig in' and see parts of your new home that you would never see as a tourist or a traveller. You'll have the benefit of new friendships that have the time to grow, and new discoveries that can be pursued over months, rather than days. You'll even have the fun of getting frustrated with your new environment because it lacks something that you enjoyed back home ---- and then that neat feeling when you snap out of it and realize that it SHOULDN'T be like it was back home and you think of all the other benefits that you wouldn't have 'back home' that make it ok to go through this small discomfort (or minor deprivation).

One of the best things that I have gotten out of living away from the country in which I grew up is a broader understanding of the world that I live in and of the cultures that make it up. You see a bit of this when you are a traveller but it is far greater when you are working and going about every day life in a different country. You tend to spend more time trying to gain a better appreciation of the cultural differences and how various philosophies make each of us they way we are which, hopefully ... makes us more tolerant of the manifestations of those differences. I'm not sure I'll ever achieve total tolerance but ... I know for sure that I've come a long way and it may be because I'VE been the different one - not the other way around. This, I believe, can be true not just for an east-west move but also for something as simple as a Canadian moving to the U.S. and visa versa!

My best advice? Make it HOME as soon as you arrive! There's nothing worse than an expat who continually talks about home, the things they miss, what's going on there, what they would do about this and that at home, how you say that at home, how much this would cost at home.... The faster you and your family adopt Paris as your new home - and think about your old abode as just that ... the easier it will be to acclimatize and take in all the benefits!

Shall send you some thots on planning and preparing in a separate (private) email shortly....

Cheers! Judy in Hong Kong