Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's _that_ time of the year...

We can't believe that the winter holidays are upon us.  It seems like just yesterday that we were scooped up and moved half way around the world.

la tour Eiffel

It's been a WILD ride.

In April, Judith and I moved from the USA to Paris, France.

Late in 2011 I had been laid off from a technology job (software engineering manager).  Jude and I counted our pennies and made the decision to leave while the leaving was good.  Besides, I was angry at the bastards who would downsize a $1BILLION a year company to make themselves richer.  The CEO had already made $200MILLION over five years and was looking for more to pad his bank account.  The sad truth is, the company I worked for was being stripped of assets and is now a zombie.  Where it took 4000+ people to generate $1billion, the new zombie employs less than 1000 people now and generates around $750million.  To their sharp pointy penciled boys, that's a GREAT thing.  They've stripped tens of billions of dollars and are laughing all the way to the bank.

Not being rich (by any means) meant we had to carefully plot our exit.  To have an outside chance at being able to afford to live abroad, we had to sell our house and get our financial affairs arranged in a way that we wouldn't have to worry about excessive market fluctuations while planning to live on a shoestring budget.

We needed to have a couple things done to the house (new ceiling in one room and a new sink in the kitchen) which delayed putting the house on the market until early in 2012.  It sold in a week (literally).

A Paris apartment needed to be found, health insurance (ex-pat) needed to be purchased, the automobiles sold, airline tickets paid for, and a storage unit filled with Plan B things we might want if Plan A failed.  We flew to San Fransisco to apply for visitors visas that would allow us to live in Paris for a year.  Our visas arrived in a week (literally).

la tour Eiffel

Our first apartment was incredible (this was our view from the front windows).  We lived there for a quick three months.

Our second apartment is a longer term situation.  It is quiet and looks out into a space that's filled with birds.  The drunks are not too loud.  The children upstairs are in bed by 10pm each night.  The open air market is held three days a week on the major street that is a block from us.  We have three natural food stores and a large supermarket that are all very very close to us.  There are two metro stations within staggering distance.  All of Paris is at our beck and call within 20mins.

We're getting ready to re-apply for our visas.  This is a little trying on the nerves.  But I'll take these kinds of challenges over trying to feed an insatiable corporate monster any day of any life I'd ever chose to live.  French state willing and all that, we'll hopefully be able to live out our days here.

la tour Eiffel

For one of these images, la tour sparkled.  I left the shutter open long enough to capture a few of the flashes of light that twinkle on and off.  It's quite a display.  When we lived in our first Paris apartment, they would shut the twinkle system off at 11pm each night and the main lights inside la tour's girders would extinguish at midnight.  A classmate of ours said that it was twinkling at 5am one early morning recently.

Paris is filled with majick.  Plan A is working (and we're keeping fingers crossed).

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