I have been asked frequently why we decided to move back to France, why we left the USA, why now, why in France, why in Paris and so on. Good questions.
Let's dig a bit
Taking the driving seat
We are pretty good at improvising / catching opportunities but when you are a couple working with a kid with no green card / no process to get green card / no desire to get a green card living in a nice comfortable city in the USA with great jobs, unless you plan to move back, the only reason you would ever come back would be that you are forced to. And this was not an option.
The good news is that even with planning, it comes with a pretty good dose of changes and adrenaline.
Being a visitor
I have always loved visiting the world and I will never get sick of it. It was a beautiful opportunity to spend 4 years in the USA with complete immersion. So many things to learn, to observe, to try, to discover, so many people to meet. But when you are under a visa in another country with no intention to stay forever, you are just a visitor. This is an interesting status. I both loved and hated it. Apart from the administration headache, I did not like the idea to have no voice. Let me explain. Unless you are a culture specialist, it takes a while to understand the context, the culture, the fundamentals and so your opinion as a newby in the country would be either useless, offensive, easy or none. You can contribute yes but you do not belong there and you know that at some point, you will leave anyway. It just becomes odd.
Aligning the stars
The important part of the project was to actually set our priorities and requirements considering short and mid term wishes of both of us and the kid, review the options, document assumptions and to keep updating the table and the action plan to incorporate the changes and somehow come up with the final option. I might sound like a control freak at that point but this is what we did... It took time, beer, food, discussions, research, suspense, compromise, changes but we finally choose the destination and did not divorce (lol).
Paris was the best option then :
The + : a lot of people, friends, internationals, a lot of events, companies, direct flights to Mallorca, to Tarbes, to a lot of places, an Eiffel Tower, great food and drinks, decent schools...
The - : expensive housing, questionable air quality, terrible traffic, no beach, no moutain, interesting weather...
We had a plan to adress the negative aspects and with a husband being from the dream island of Mallorca, no french coast would have been good enough anyway (I kind of agree there...) and we came to terms with the fact that we don't care about skiing anyway.
So based on that
We will never know if it was the best option but at least it is ours.