I used to have dreams of picking up from my life in north Orange County, California and moving to Montreal, Quebec. I’d visited the city for the first time in 2006 and immediately fell in love. Somewhere between the diversity, delicious French pastries, Chinatown, and not being able to walk two feet without running into a small child, I fell in love.
Coming back home from that vacation was just plain depressing. That was my first clue that we had to move. Over the next three years I worked and plotted to make my relocation dreams a reality and I can now say that I live in my dream city! My children are bilingual (I’m getting there!), I still can’t get enough of pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants), and love that this city knows the value of having a park every few blocks.
Picking up and moving your life thousands of miles away from everything you know- especially away from your first language- isn’t easy. There are legal processes to consider and many people will look at you like you’re nuts. When planning my big move, I was fueled by my desire for adventure and helped immensely by reading the stories of other families who have taken a geographic plunge.
Expat family blogs are a fantastic first step for anyone planning an extended trip or permanent move to a foreign city. Not only will you get an “on the ground” report of what to prepare for logistically, it’s wonderful to know that there are other wild people out there who embrace all sorts of change.
One of the first expat mom blogs that I discovered was An American Mom in Paris. Two American moms, Allison and Stephanie, living in a swanky area of Paris describe the good, bad, and ugly of Parisian high society. Their posts are hilarious. You won’t learn much about how to immigrate to France, but imagining fashion-conscious French moms expertly sauntering down the sidewalks in five inch heels during their last pregnancy trimester makes for a very interesting read.
GOGOVIVI is another awesome expat blog written by Kiley, an Oregon native and mom living in China with her husband and young daughter. You’ll love the whimsical posts and professional photographs of everyday life and her beautiful surroundings.
Happy Homemaker UK is a ridiculously adorable blog written by a mom named Laura living in the UK, London to be exact. I have many family members and friends in London and have always fantasized about living in the city…maybe I’d own a nice peacoat, dine with Will & Kate…it could happen, right? Laura’s blog, like many expat blogs, contains information for people thinking about making a big move.
There are hundreds of other great expatriate blogs just waiting to be devoured. If you’ve been bit by the travel but, don’t assume that having children or being a “normal” person means you can’t live an unconventional life. While living in a new environment isn’t always easy (obtaining permanent residence usually isn’t a cake walk), I’ve learned so much during the past two years I’ve lived in Quebec. The #1 lesson has been that no matter where human beings are from, we have far more in common than we’ll ever have apart.