February 27, 2017

ensemble à paris

one evening in september daniel came home from work and told me some incredible news over dinner. his bosses had approached him with the possibility of being delegated within basf. this in itself is very common, basf often sends employees to other countries on temporary assignment to broaden their international experience. several friends of ours have been delegated to asia, mostly shanghai or hong kong. what wasn't common was where they wanted to send daniel... paris. as in france. i couldn't believe it, and i still can't six months later. unfortunately what followed was a stressful waiting period of not knowing whether or not the project would be approved. this would be a three person delegation, meaning that daniel would go to france, the french woman would go to italy, and the italian man would come to germany. very complicated, very labor intensive, very expensive. before we left for our vacation in the states there was a real possibility of basf nixing the entire thing due to cost. finally, after christmas, the confirmation came. we would be going to paris for three years. these past months have been difficult for us because of uncertainty but also because of privacy. i wasn't allowed to say anything publicly until it was fully approved and communicated to the entire company. as a mild facebook addict and general talker it was not easy, but now i'm free to finally share our big news with all of you.

the irony of this is that i was always a francophile in high school, and took three years of french language classes. it was quickly forgotten after my german boyfriend (now hubby) entered the picture, but i think the fascination remained (we even spent a long weekend in paris for our honeymoon). two years ago before we were even trying to have a baby i read the inspiring book bringing up bébé, which reignited the interest i had in france, although this time in a more practical way. how the french culture views child rearing, food, mindful living and seeking pleasure in the everyday was now more interesting than the art or history. the book and delving further into this topic have changed my life, and certainly changed the way we've chosen to raise our children.


this is the part where i get honest. around the time gabe was born daniel and i were looking for houses in our area of germany. real houses. no more renting, no more apartments. we wanted to find our home, our nest, our place to settle down, probably for the rest of our lives. we've always wanted a farm, or at least space for a veggie patch and a clothesline, so that's what we looked for. the market right now is terrible, dropping half a million euro on a decently sized property is normal, so we let our dream sit dormant while we were getting used to life with a baby. when the news about paris came, it was like the direction we thought our life was headed suddenly flipped around. instead of envisioning my littles playing in a garden or feeding chickens i now saw them dodging traffic and living in a concrete shoebox. it was extreme thinking, i know, but it was enough of a change for me to feel apprehensive about moving to an urban environment again. (we lived in the inner city when we were first married). that combined with the flaky project confirmation has made the past six months tough... and the words "i don't want to move to paris" did cross my lips more than once. of course, what kind of deranged american girl doesn't want to move to paris?! isn't this the true european dream? think of the food! and the culture! and the trilingual opportunities for you and your child! (so says the rational voice in my mind). but at the end of the day the emotions are still there. i did this once, five years ago, and it wasn't easy. in some ways knowing what lies ahead has created more fear than if i was a bright eyed, bushy tailed college kid skipping off to europe for the first time. i know how it feels: the shame, the confusion, the misunderstandings, the desire to fit in and yet maintain some of the identity you once had. those are all expat problems. it's easy to feel guilty for thinking like this, because "who wouldn't want your life? right?" thankfully since the delegation was confirmed i've become more optimistic, and i think a lot of my stress stemmed from uncertainty and lack of information. now that we know more of the details it's easier to get excited about the possibilities that the next few years hold. being able to add another language to our family will be incredible, as well as experiencing a new culture as a local and not just a tourist. we'd also like to have another baby between now the time we return, so i'll hopefully be able to have a good birth experience in yet another language in a couple of years!

so here we are now, waiting to move come may and desperately trying to learn as much french as possible before then. we have a look-see trip planned in april, where someone will show us around the city and help us with logistics like opening a bank account, etc. there are so many things to be thankful for in this situation: basf is paying our rent for the extent of the delegation, i have a nearly unlimited immersion budget to use for language classes, etc. and we have outside companies to help us with the move and setting up our new life in paris. these things take so much stress off and when i start to feel overwhelmed it helps to just give thanks for the help we're receiving. daniel found out recently that we won't know where we're actually living until about three weeks before we move. for someone as type-a as myself that seems like insanity, but one of my resolutions for 2017 was to live in the moment more and stop thinking ahead as much, so this is a good trial. we know that god has plans for us and our little family and we appreciate the prayers from all of you. looking forward to having some visitors soon! à toute à l'heure xoxo


  1. This is so great, Sarah! How exciting. Intimidating? Yes, but what a great experience this will be for your family. I wish you guys nothing but the best and hope everything goes smoother than you could even plan! I'll keep you guys in my prayers!
    • Kelsey

    1. Hi Kelsey! Thanks so much, we're also praying that God takes us in his direction and helps us through the difficulties that may come up. We appreciate your encouragement! xoxo