It’s been well over a month since my last post and a lot of Paris-related things have happened.
That make me feel like this:
This shit JUST got real.
Did shit get real when I actually went to Paris and visited the AUP campus? Nope.
Did shit get real when I applied? Nope.
Did shit get real when I was accepted? Nope.
Did shit get real when I paid my non-refundable deposit that goes toward my tuition and confirms my attendance to AUP this fall? Nope.
This pathway to AUP has been three and a half years in the making and after every French class I took, every e-mail back and forth to my admissions counselor, every call to the French Consulate, every book read on how to live and work in France, every apartment inquiry to property agents, every project I did or job I took to beef up my CV to impress the folks abroad, the realism of the shit did not occur until I received my financial aid package and did the math (e.g., cost of living, student loan repayments).
After sitting down with my husband and conducting said math, we are going–for realsies.
According to my husband, he never had a doubt in his mind that we wouldn’t be able to go. I, on the other hand, had very huge doubts in our ability to go along with very intense insecurities related to having big dreams and not being able to live them out. My husband and I often differ in how we feel about things and usually I’m the one who is positive and optimistic and he’s the one making the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it face.
I’m not quite sure if my husband’s feelings are due to a newly heightened sense of optimism or a severe lack of research, but I’d like to think it’s the former
even though it might be a combination of both.
Anyway, the husband’s giving the green light for Paris, the university thinks I’m cool enough to hang out with them, and now I’m completely on board. Having said that, a lot of things need to happen before we even go. Things like…
We pay $960 a month for a sweet 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath in the heart of Downtown San Jose, right next to the historical Naglee Park neighborhood. It’s a vintage apartment (built in the 1930′s), has no air conditioning, has shag carpeting and very crappy windows, and it’s less than 500 square feet, but it serves us well. We got really lucky with this place and we’re sad to leave it. I guess the trade-off is that we’ll be living in Paris. I think we’re cool with that.
Finding an apartment.
This is seriously one of the most important things we definitely have to do before we leave. Why? Because my husband can’t get his visa without showing proof of accommodation. That’s why. A huge complaint I read a lot online about apartments in Paris is the price. After doing the math (we’re doing a lot of math here) and looking at things like location, square footage, amenities, etc. a one bedroom apartment in Paris (not left bank) costs about the same as a fancy shmancy one bedroom apartment in San Jose. We’re currently looking at top-floor studio apartments (they get cheaper as you go up because of things like no elevator, no space, and they used to be quarters for servants/storage for rich people’s things in the past). Fortunately, my husband and I are low-maintenance folk who can make a home out of a hole in the wall. We’d be more than happy to live in a crappy, top-floor, tiny apartment… because it’ll be in Paris.
Leaving our jobs.
This will be tough as we both currently like being employed. My husband has been an employed citizen since he was 15 and is currently working at a full-time job that is hobby-related. He’s very content. I’m currently working in my field and getting decent pay. As a Child Development major this is huge. We’re voluntarily leaving our jobs to not be employed in a foreign country. Smart move.
Finding a job [would be nice].
My husband has to sign paperwork for his visa promising that he will not work while in France lest he be deported. I will be a student. We will be living on our own savings and my student loans. It would be nice to find work over there and have some income, but since the French are having a hard enough time finding work what makes me think that a jerk like me would be able to find any employment? In the meantime, I’ve sent letters of interest to language schools that cater to both children and adults. A handful have actually looked at my LinkedIn profile. That’s kind of cool.
Giving Kari back to her breeder.
We knew this might have to happen if this whole Paris thing panned out. Fortunately, her breeder knew that too and was still gracious enough to let us love Kari for a while.
Figuring out what my husband’s life will look like over there.
Remember how I said that my husband and I are often opposites on things? Finding out what his life will look like over there is one of my biggest concerns. Forget cost of living, medical insurance, student loan debt, finding a job abroad after grad school, etc.
I am extremely concerned about the quality of my husband’s life.
His food palate is extremely narrow.
He doesn’t speak French.
He doesn’t know anyone.
I’ll be in class for much of the day, therefore leaving him alone.
I can’t help but picture him developing depression and feeling lonely and then I start to feel guilty. In turn, I feel I have an enormous responsibility in making sure his life is still full, active, and happy. I would love this whole move to Paris to be his eat-pray-love moment. That is totally something a woman would say, but it’s what I really want for him. I want him to take that art class, read those books, get in a lot of me-time. I want him to really find himself in Paris, you know? So, that’s how I feel.
My husband disagrees with me and is totally not worried about what the quality of his life be. He says, “I’ll figure it out,” and thus ends the discussion.
Holy crap the visa process.
The visa process for me is easy. The university has provided me with the proper documentation and alls I have to do is walk into the French Consulate in San Francisco and I get the thumbs up. My husband, on the other hand, has to show proof of accommodation (which is why finding an apartment before we arrive is so important), show proof of medical insurance (whaaaat?), show proof of income (a.k.a. my student loans), and sign paperwork promising he won’t work along with a litany of other things proving he’s really married to me, that he’s not a criminal, etc. I’m not going to France without him, so his visa and all related processes are at the top of my list of priorities.
It’s a lot of work, moving abroad, but no one knows the hardships and benefits of the process better than my grandpa. Regarding my family’s lineage of adventurousness, he once said to me…
“Ilocanos are adventurous. You have nothing, you are a poor farmer, you have to be adventurous to go look for work for your family. You don’t have too much, so you can pack and move. Ilocanos had nothing in the Philippines, so we went on adventures and got to see the world. And if Ilocanos like where they live, they stay. If they don’t, they go on an adventure. My mom had an adventure to find work in Hawaii, so I was born American. I had an adventure, I came to America. I am a survivor and I survived so you can live.”
Yeah, I know. That’s a totally cool thing to say. When my husband and I told my grandparents that we were moving to Paris, they looked very happy and my grandpa has put his hand on my shoulder many times and told me he’s proud of me.
And now it’s my turn to be adventurous.