“We all change. When you think about it, we are all different people all through our lives and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”
– The Doctor, Dr. Who, The Time of the Doctor
Last week I got to start a new line on my Life Calendar (for those who aren’t familiar with my Life Calendar project, see here and here for the back-story). Since my last update to this project, the boxes have changed colour, a new city is on the right-hand margin, and another “Dr. Who moment” has been added.
So what have I done with those 21 new squares on the calendar? I’ve moved across the Atlantic and made significant progress on the adjustment process to my new (even if in the grand scheme of things, temporary) home in Paris. I have met dozens, if not hundreds, of new people from literally every corner of the globe – among them some wonderful colleagues and a diverse set of new friends. I’ve had the opportunity both through work and personally to start travelling throughout Europe with trips to Slovakia, Northern Ireland, London, and within France to the Champaign region (with a stop to see the impressive cathedral of Remis) and to the Medieval Disneyland that is Provins, while of course continuing to explore the amazing city that is Paris. I’ve had the pleasure over the past few months to host a couple of friends and also my father who made an extended visit in April (my tour guide skills are getting better by the day – in the 3 1/2 weeks my father was here we estimated we did about 150KMs of walking the streets of Paris and London!). I also made a trip back to North America to attend my 5-year reunion at the Harvard Kennedy School for a weekend of reconnecting with the many amazing people I shared that time with, and years worth of catching-up and hugs squeezed into a few days. Last, but not least, I’ve continued to broaden my professional horizons through my work at the OECD in gaining a better understanding of how digital government initiatives are unfolding across the globe and starting to move forward on a few projects that will help countries accelerate their progress.
Of course I would be remiss to leave this update at that; guilty of what in the social media era is best known as “selective sharing“. Yes there have been amazing moments over the past 5 months, but there have been some tough ones too. In what has become a common reflection amongst other ex-pats I have talked with, it gets harder the older you get to just pack up your life and start fresh. It’s a unique sensation to suddenly find yourself on your own living somewhere you know virtually no one; family, friends, and even familiar memories an ocean away. As I am starting to discover, it strengthens you in ways that you weren’t even aware needed strengthening.