We have new neighbors - moving in, moving on, and staying put (hopefully!) - the life of an expat

One of the many moving vans that I've seen. An "easy" move to the first floor.

Even though the Parisians have vacated the city for the month of August, there have been quite a few arrivals of another sort. Expats, like the ones who just moved in below us! Moving vans clog the city's streets, while the lifts that are precariously attached to the outside of apartment buildings are loaded with furniture, books, boxes of clothes and everything else that a family needs to make a Parisian apartment feel like home.

Since we moved into our apartment on February 26 and the first post for this blog was on April 1, I thought that I would hit the rewind button and tell you a little bit about how we ended up here.

If you've ever read the section, "About Me", you'll have noticed that we've lived in quite a few different countries. That's because Stephane is a career expatriate, so if his company says that they want him to work in country X, we pack up our belongings and go. Usually we're happy but sometimes we're not, like when we were transferred from Switzerland to Paris. That's right! I really didn't want to move here, but that's a long story for another day. What's important is that we're here and that I'm obviously (at least I hope that it's obvious!) enjoying myself. Nonetheless, we know that we're here for a limited time, probably 3-5 years, which is the same amount of time that our new expat neighbors expect to be here. But just to make things a bit more interesting during this week when I've been seeing plenty of moving vans, Stephane had a meeting with his boss to discuss our future mobility.  Even though it's a standard procedure, it made me realize that I've still got a lot to see and do in Paris. Time to get going!

Are you new in town? Posted in Paris has lots of helpful tips for expats, including information about schools, tv and internet, safety and security, understanding the French way of life, and connecting with other people. It's well worth a browse and a bookmark. And don't forget to sign up for the popular orientation program, Bloom Where You're Planted, at the American Church in Paris on October 1.

Update: Thanks to Maureen for posting information in the comment section about MESSAGE, "A full parenting resource for English-speaking families living in France". It looks like just the kind of non-profit making organization that I would have wanted to know about when my children were young. Check out their link section. It's excellent!

And yet another moving van and a lift. This time to the fifth floor.


  1. I have never seen those lifts before. So much easier than getting things up the stairs, winding upward. That is, if the windows allow.

  2. These exterior lifts are really handy, especially since the elevators are so tiny or non-existant in Paris. They brought all of our furniture (including the couches, etc) up to the apartment on one of these lifts and it worked really well. They use them in Switzerland too. The only problem is when it rains like it did on our moving day.

  3. Hi Mary Kay, I love your blog. I found you through your comment in DLs site.
    i see you asked if anyone had any suggestions about 'things' in Paris that might be interesting. I see you did post about Bloom and other website but there is also an excellent and amazing group of moms and dads who are part of MESSAGE (messageparis.org). The group is made up of english speakers and is one of the most vibrant and active english speaking communities in Paris and the surrounding areas.
    I will keep an eye on your blog. After being in Paris for almost 14 years I never know what fun things I might be missing.

  4. Maureen, Thanks for the information about MESSAGE. I imbedded the link in the post so that readers can click on it and go straight to their website.

    I didn't realize that the posters' names on DL's website are clickable, so it took me a minute to figure out how you "found" me. I'm glad that you did!

    Suggestions are much appreciated, especially from someone with your experience. As a relative "newbie", I'm still trying to figure things out. So please let me know if you think of anything else!

  5. Maureen, I just took a look at your website - I wasn't hungry before but am now! Your creations look delicious.