Thursday, August 7, 2014

When you tell people you're moving to Paris...

A hidden treasure in the whole process of moving is how much you learn about your friends and family when you tell them you are moving (in particular, moving to Paris). What people don't realize is how much their reactions reveal about themselves and their view of the world.

Since making the big announcement that I am moving to Paris,  I have found that I can categorize most people into two camps: the dreamers and the realists.

The dreamers say things like:
"You are definitely going to meet your hot French husband over there."
"You are never going to come back."
"I am totally gonna come visit you."

The realist say things like:
"Do you even speak French?"
"I could never do that."
"Have you told your current job?"

Both have their pros and cons. The dreamers will promise the world, then disappear on delivery day. The realists can come off an unsupportive and bubble-bursters.

I definitely land in the dreamers camp. Caution to the wind, and what is bureaucracy? When they think of Paris, they see the tourist sites, espresso at the outdoor cafe, and of course, everyone in love. The realists are already calculating the cost of such a trip, and how on earth you are going to get all your paperwork done in time? They are quick to reassure themselves of their contentedness in their routine schedules and familiar grocery lists, and they ask "helpful questions" hoping you will reconsider career suicide.

Now there are occasional exceptions to these camps:

*The dreamers-turned-realists.
Usually older, they wanted to travel but instead chose the American dream, and ended up with a mortgage and PTO meetings. (Families are wonderful, don't get me wrong. It just makes travel immensely more complicated and expensive). "Do it while you're young; you'll never have this time back," they will croon, with a sad far away look in their eyes. Not regret really, just wondering how life may have been different...

*The people with no cultural interest whatsoever.
They probably have lived in the same town their whole lives and frankly could care less about your little life escapade, because why on earth would you want to leave America? They'll respond with a "Wow, that's cool" before promptly turning the conversation to football and hunting season.

While some people might get defensive about their decisions to move when confronted, I find it much more enjoyable to look at these different reactions as gifts, a new way to get to know the people God has placed in our lives. Travel is not for everyone, nor is living in another culture. Love the people your given, even when they don't process your big move the way you wish they would. And remember... you're moving to PARIS.

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