Becoming a Houston Expat:: Au Revoir, and See You on the Other Side

This month, Houston Moms Blog is saying goodbye for now to our contributor Emily,  whose family is moving to France. Here, she shares her reflections on leaving our city to become a Houston expat.

Becoming a Houston Expat:: Au Revior, and See You on the Other Side | Houston Moms Blog

It came as just as much of a shock to me as it was to anyone I was telling:: I’m moving to France!

What? When? Why? How? Only the “Where?” was covered. It’s one of those things you might fantasize about, but the reality of uprooting your life and that of your family…well, that pretty much keeps you complacent for a little while longer.

The Call

It all started one Wednesday morning a few weeks ago when my husband called me from work {which he hardly ever does}. “Um, honey, I have some kind of crazy news for you. I just got a huge promotion, and it is in Montpellier, France.” 

“Wait, what?” I responded. Because clearly I didn’t hear that right. He proceeded to go slightly into more detail, all the while being in disbelief himself. We agreed to talk more that night after the kids went to bed. He presented a very large packet containing his official offer and package for us to contemplate. In the end, we knew we couldn’t turn this down. It was too good. It was going to make his career. It was what his higher-ups had been priming him for. It was Southern France for goodness sake!

And so, by the following Monday, my husband officially accepted the offer, and two days later, he was on a plane to France. He was going to shadow the guy that he was replacing. He also had to find a school for our kids and get them enrolled. I, on the other hand, was still processing how to even begin cancelling our life here in Houston. I had made some major commitments for the next year, fully expecting to be in Houston. Our kids were enrolled and registered for their upcoming school year. Our families and friends were all blissfully unaware of this major change coming our way.

Saying Goodbye to Houston Moms Blog

One of the commitments that was hardest for me to cancel was my role as a regular contributor for the Houston Mom’s Blog. This community has been such a refuge for me. I began writing as a guest contributor, mostly because my family had flooded from Hurricane Harvey, and I had a lot to say. I had hoped that some of the perspectives I had to offer would help other mothers relate as they were experiencing similar things as me. After my three-part series was finished, I was strongly encouraged to apply as a regular contributor. I had absolutely zero time or energy to take on anything besides recovering from the flood, but I still found myself enthusiastically applying for the gig. Why? It was selfish, really. It was my therapy. All of a sudden I had a platform, and people were listening. They were relating. Some were even thanking me. It gave me something I never knew I could feel in such a large city. I felt a sense of community, camaraderie, and acceptance.

Once I was brought on-board, I began attending and volunteering for HMB events, which were really just opportunities to meet some pretty fantastic people. Co-owners, Meagan and Jarred, and all of the regular contributors {who, by the way, are all amazing writers, and with whom I feel extremely lucky to be considered their peer}- everyone was just so welcoming and warm. I think of each person who has come and gone since I’ve been involved, and I know they all have a place in my heart. I find myself rooting for their small and big wins, and sympathizing for all of their challenges and struggles. They are my people.

Becoming a Houston Expat:: Au Revior, and See You on the Other Side | Houston Moms Blog

My Future as an Expat

It’s hard to envision, but one day very soon, I will have successfully transplanted my family into a foreign country. And when the dust settles, I plan to check in with all of you. I hope to be your official Houston Expat HMB Blogger. I will illuminate everything involved with not only becoming an expat, but a mother of young children, who is navigating these foreign waters primarily on her own. Since Houston is a huge melting pot of nationalities with a plethora of its own expats, or citizens who once were expats, I hope that I will, once again, help many relate to my experience, and feel a little less alone in the world. And for those that haven’t done anything like this, I hope you will follow along on my journey, and potentially help me feel less alone!

And, who knows…maybe in two or three years, I will be right back here in Houston, writing as a local-turned expat- turned local again. Because Houston is so freaking awesome, and I am proud to be part of this community!

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  1. Congratulations Emily! I think you’ll do great and settle-in quickly; it’s all in the state of mind, and you have a huge amount of positivity and acceptance.

    Mine is a military family, we moved to Houston when my husband retired from 24 years of active duty. We lived in Northern Italy for 3 years and had a wonderful experience. It really helps to live in the community, embrace the differences, and laugh at the struggles. For example, in our town, all the restaurants shut down for 2 weeks in the summer. ALL of them. But we didn’t know that and decided to do a date night once the fury and craziness of moving in had settled. We trawled the town looking for somewhere to eat and eventually had to settle with a second-rate hotel bistro. The following year, you’d think we’d know better by now. Nope! Again we chose the wrong week for a date night. Frustrating: absolutely! Hilarious: completely – because we should have learned.

    Embrace the fresh produce, bread, Nutella, and cheese, and be flexible in your grocery choices – you may not find much you recognise. The kids will probably adapt before you and be ordering their pain-au-chocolat in French before you’re comfortable with “bonjour, s’il vous plaît, et merci”.

    Bonne chance et bon voyage!

  2. Congratulations ! I moved back to Houston in 2016 after 4 1/2 years of expat life in Belgium with my husband and twin daughters. When I got the news to move abroad I cried and tried everything to get out of it.. but 3 months in I knew it was the best thing my family has ever done! 26 countries visited during our expat stint!! I would pick up and move abroad again in a heartbeat 💗. Best of luck ! Things we put on our shipment : toilet paper ( hard to find ‘good’ TP there 😂) , lots of boxes of mac n cheese because I had 2 five year olds, and kids favorite cereal (comfort food to adjust to new life) and lots of target clothes for kids because it’s more expensive there.
    Bon Voyage!!

  3. Congrats!! Expat life is amazing. We’re on our second assignment in Asia and loving it, although there is no place like Texas. Get plugged into FB groups like Two Fat Expats and local expat pages to get connected. Community is everything!


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