October 16, 2007

The Introduction

I decided to start this blog to specifically keep track of my moving-to-Amsterdam progress. Now that I've made the decision and told my friends and family about my intentions to relocate, it's time to get the ball rolling... there's lots to do.

I'm originally from upstate New York, in the Hudson Valley. I moved to New Jersey when I was 18 to go to school, and stayed in Jersey until late 2002. From there it was off to Philadelphia, PA, where I lived happily for 2+ years, until March 2005. On March 8, 2005, I moved to Paris, France with my then-boyfriend. We didn't have a "real" reason for wanting to live in Paris, other than falling in love with the city when we visited in 2001 (but really, that's not so hard to do), and we both left behind good jobs and a lot of stability - it was the best decision I ever made.

The only thing that really set me apart from the other expats living Paris was my lack of a "reason" to be there. I wasn't in school, I didn't have a job, and I didn't speak French. Yet I was granted a long-stay visa by the French consulate before I left the US, and once I got to Paris I spent about 8 months dealing with the process of getting a carte de sejour. The many, many visits to the police stations and doctors offices and city halls and whatnot were hardly what I would call fun - but it all worked out in the end and at no point was I ever living in France illegally. That's the other thing that set me apart from most expats I knew! While I lived in Paris I tried my best to learn the language and spent a great deal of time traveling. I had saved a lot of money before moving abroad and worked odd jobs in Paris for cash - dog-walking, baby-sitting, and teaching English. I enjoyed teaching English more than I thought I would, but that may have had something to do with my students - two Japanese kids who were already almost fluent. In March 2006 I was hired to be a tour guide (2 hour long walking tours) and finally started to earn a regular income. It was a great job - I worked about 4 hours a day and got to meet people from all over the world, right there in my home city. It also prompted me to learn a lot about French History and do something I love - walk around Paris!

I moved back to New York City in late October, 2006. After almost two years of not working that much and traveling around, I was actually anxious to get back to work in my field. I started a job with a great TV/Film production company in Manhattan, where I'm still currently employed. I do a little bit of everything. Though my title is Post-Production Supervisor, I also help out with coordinating productions, managing the office, supervising the interns, updating the website, and act as an assistant editor when needed. I really love my job - it's drastically different every day and I get to work around smart, interesting, and creative people.

So why would I want to leave and move to Amsterdam?

Well, lots of reasons, but I'll save that for another post. First I want to explain why I started this blog.

When I decided to move to Paris, I had a huge amount of support and help from random strangers that I met on the internet. There's a lot I can learn from the Dutch consulate in NYC, the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), and so on. But the most helpful tool to find out how to REALLY get this stuff done and what to REALLY expect comes from reading blogs and getting to know people online. I've spent hours googling expat-in-Amsterdam blogs and have already learned way more than the IND could have told me.

One day, I hope this blog helps out another expat the same way all of the blogs on the internet are helping me. With any luck, I'll have a successful story when everything is said and done, and I'll be publishing from a beautiful cafe across the street from an Amsterdam canal, my bike locked up nearby and a fresh apple strudel on my plate.

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