The Road Not Taken

In 2007, before we moved to Boston, my DH was interviewed and in negotiations with a company based in Nice, France. Located on the French Riviera, it’s a world class destination within spitting distance of both Cannes and Monte Carlo . Aside from the local attractions, we’d have been close enough to drive to Rome for a weekend, catch a train to Paris, or sail to Malta.

The possibilites were dazzling.

And daunting. While we’d both taken French in high school, neither of us was fluent. But what better way to learn a language than to be immersed in it, sink or swim?

The French immigration process was described as convoluted and bewildering, so we’d have tons of bureaucratic nonsense to plough. It helped that I wouldn’t be seeking a job there. I can write anywhere I have my laptop, but still, we’d have oceans of red tape to swim through.

We’ve always enjoyed visiting other countries, but how would we feel about being ex-pats? We’d always be “the Americans” to our French neighbors and perhaps not viewed kindly. If there was an increase in terrorism in Europe, displaced Americans and places they frequent would likely be targets.

We wondered if this adventure was more than we were ready to tackle.

Then a company from Boston made my DH a job offer. We didn’t hesitate. Boston is a wonderful city and a worthy adventure for a couple Midwesterners like us. We’d get enough sense of “other-ness” from New England to satisfy our wanderlust and enough comfort from still being in the States to feel at home. In so many ways, it has proved to be the correct choice.

But sometimes, I think about France…

How about you? Do you have a decision that you look back on as a crossroads of sorts and wonder “what if”? What if I’d taken that job? Gone to that school? Married that man? Finished that manuscript?

The choices we make form the warp and weft of our lives. One choice builds on another. I’d love it if you share one of yours here.

9 thoughts on “The Road Not Taken

  1. MiaMarlowe says:

    Gillian–I think the fear of quot;being poorquot; is part of what kept us from France. Different currency, different tax structure, maintaining a home there and in the States, . . . I could see a scenario where we#39;d be close to all those tantalyzing things in Nice and not have enough euros in our pockets to visit a single one. br /br /Color me spineless.

  2. MiaMarlowe says:

    JennJ–It#39;s natural to wonder quot;what if?quot; We#39;ve followed jobs to 9 different states, 4 times zones, so I can honestly say in that regard, we#39;ve said yes more often than no. And there are things and people I miss from each of our former homes. We#39;ve tried to look at each move as an adventure and haven#39;t been disappointed yet.

  3. Gillian Layne says:

    When I was in grad school dh interviewed in Oregon. We didn#39;t take the job, we stayed in the Midwest close to family, and it was much more economically feasible, but I wonder if we should have just been quot;poorquot; and done it. Who knows? But it makes you wonder.

  4. JennJ says:

    I think we all think of what if#39;s now and again in our lives. We contemplated moving to FL at one time and I wonder sometimes what life would be like for us if we had verses staying here where we are. But I also believe that everything happens for a reason so I guess we were meant to stay right where we were. LOL

  5. Nynke says:

    I like my choice, but sometimes it still think it frustrating that I can#39;t have both. If only instantaneous travel across the globe were possible and affordable, like in Star Trek – that#39;d be great! But I guess we should be glad to have airplanes instead of only steam liners :).br /br /A sneak preview of my demi-Norse demigod and me is on its way to your Emily email inbox, by the way :).

  6. MiaMarlowe says:

    Thanks, Nynke. You always keep me straight. I#39;ll fix those now. Guess you can see why I need an editor.br /br /The idea of being half a world away from our family was one of the real issues for us. Since you#39;re lucky in love, I think you made a good decision to stay where you are. br /br /Do let me know how Nice is! I#39;d love to see pics of you and your BF.

  7. Nynke says:

    Ooh, Nice! I#39;ve never been there but I#39;ll be spending a few days there with my boyfriend in two weeks#39; time. I#39;ll let you know what it was like!br /br /I sometimes wonder what my career would have been like if I hadn#39;t been dragged along by a friend to an information meeting about an MA programme in General Linguistics – I went there, I loved it, and I learnt so much more than I expected! br /br /And sometimes I wonder what things would have been like if I hadn#39;t hooked up with my ex or with my current love – would I have gone abroad, to the US maybe? That would have been good careerwise, but as I#39;m lucky in love, it would now involve a sea of heartbreak. You can#39;t have it all…br /br /(PS, typo alert: Cannes, immersed)

  8. MiaMarlowe says:

    I know what you mean, Mary. br /br /But we also slip blinders on about places sometimes. Yes, MPLS is a great city–clean and safe and peopled with folks whose way of thinking I totally understand. We lived there when our youngest daughter was born.br / br /It#39;s easy to forget that Minneapolis winters are brutal and that the mosquitos in summer are big enough to slap a saddle on. br /br /I#39;m sure the Nice in my mind is a highly romanticized version of the real thing.

  9. Mary says:

    Yours was certainly the kind of choice that offer daydreams for a lifetime. br /For me? I started college in Minneapolis and made a choice to come back east as for as Ohio. Mpls. had everything – arts, lakes, woods and shopping. I still miss it after forty years.br /It#39;s not always about where you could have gone but sometimes where you left.

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