Pausing To Reflect with Lisa Foster
April 5, 2022

Moving Abroad

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In this week’s episode we talk about living abroad. Amy Srebnik talks about her experience living in France for five years. We discuss the highs, lows and challenges of relocation and balancing cultural overload with a working husband and two young kids. And we conclude our conversation with the all important question…would she do it again? Join us on our Facebook group at where we can share our tips, tricks and recommendations for relocating and/or living abroad. Don't forget to follow Real Life Momz, so you don't miss an episode. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.


Welcome to Real Life Momz. I'm your host, Lisa Foster, and Real Life Momz is all about real conversations about real parenting issues that parents deal with every day. Our mission is to connect moms and to continue talking about these topics in our Real Life Momz Facebook group, where we would love for you to be part of this community. Today, I invited my friend, Amy Srebnik, to share a story about her opportunity to move abroad. Let's find out, would you do it again? What were the pros and cons?

 Hi Amy, welcome to Real Life Momz. Hi Lisa. I wanted you to come to the show today because you did something really cool with your family. Your husband came home one day from work, I think, and said, Hey, we have a really good opportunity to live abroad. And you were like, yes, I will pick up my family and go abroad. Was that what you were like when he came home or were you a little bit more nervous than I'm putting out there?

No, we had talked about it for a couple of years that we wanted to move to Europe at some point. And then I guess, I guess he did come home one day and said, oh, there's this job opportunity in Paris. What do you think that sounds, you know, that sounds interesting. At least it's in Europe and I don't think you can be too picky. But then from when he actually said that, I think it took about a year, almost a year and a half before the job actually came to fruition because there are so many things that you have to take care of that you agree to this, but then it actually takes longer before it, um, it happened, it was really perfect timing because our son was just about to start school the following year. He was going to be in kindergarten and where we were living in Manhattan, the school system, was not so great in our neighborhood. So we would have either had to move to the suburbs or move to Paris. Oh, that's a big jump there.

Right. So then it became a no brainer as far as like, okay, am I going to get stuck in the suburbs or Paris?

Okay, so your son was starting kindergarten, so that's probably like five years old, right. He was four at the time. So it was, we found out probably at the beginning of when he was four. Okay.

And how old was your daughter at the time? Oh, She must've been around two. In some ways, that's a good time, you know, my husband, he would run at the opportunity to live anywhere out of the country. And as much as I like adventure, I feel that uprooting the kids and just even my job, like what, what would I do is scary for me now. I know you had a career, you have a career, you're a physical therapist, you know, how is that leaving? What you do, because it's not like you could just go and work there.

Right. Well, that was a big decision, but it wasn't as big a decision. Cause things just happened to fall into place in the sense that, I was working like pretty, part-time doing homecare. So I knew that wasn't so many hours. And then I was also doing some teaching at a college, but it turned out that like almost when I was thinking of moving, that program was being discontinued. So it was almost as if everything was aligning for me, learning a new language was, was one of my dreams since I've been, I don't know how old.

So to me, this was like, oh, we can fulfill my dream.

Yeah. And so your kids are two and four, almost five. Um, but you know, what were their thoughts? How did they feel about moving or were they just so young that they didn't fully grasp what was going to happen?

You know, I realize now they totally didn't grasp what was going to happen. And my son has some special needs. So at the time, he was seeing like a PT and OT, a speech therapist, whoever, and I had a babysitter for when I would work. And thank goodness, these people were really good because when I said to them, I said, you need to make him a book to tell him that we're leaving. And I was like, oh, okay, well, that's really stressful. Cause I'm trying to pack up the house. So luckily the babysitter that we had, she just put together this whole book for him.

And she even got pictures. Cause also we didn't know where we were living. So maybe four weeks before we left or three weeks. So she, we had pictures of the actual house or the apartment that we were going to stay in until we found an apartment. She took a picture off the internet of like the bed and different things and saying, okay, and we're moving to here. But when I spoke to my son, years later, he actually told me, he said, you know, mom, I really thought we were going on vacation.

So despite this book and whatever, he goes, well, I thought we were just going on a long vacation. So, my daughter, no problem whatsoever. She was hysterical. She, she didn't have that many words in English. She had, she had words. I don't know if she had sentences or just was getting sentences when she left. And she literally was just speaking French in her own way, not the actual language, but would just be making the sounds of the French people to the French kids in the playground. And she had no idea why they didn't understand her, you know?

And she had the personality of like, even when someone corrected her in French, when she was in school, she'd be like, oh no, no, you don't know what you're talking about. Um, no, this is the way it is. So she was very lucky.

Yeah. I, that makes sense. I mean, being two, it's almost like the perfect time. Right? You're developing language just it's play without even needing to talk. So that's probably perfectly.

Yeah, no, it actually was the most perfect time because I could see a big difference in the way the two of them learn language because she, at the time when she started or when we moved, she was probably two, two and a half or so she never associated the English word with the French word.  Like she made no translation whatsoever. Whereas my son was making translation for a good year or so before it became nothing. He had to translate. So there was a huge difference. And even the teachers had something to say, because they were like, wow, look at the difference. This girl is just talking and talking and talking and my son, wasn't going to say anything until he really knew how to say it.

Going back to the language. Okay, nobody spoke French. Right? 

I took a little bit of French in school. Okay. So I knew a couple of words here and there, but really, really couldn't put a sentence together. 

Yeah. And I had actually started about, I guess, about a month or so before we were going to move maybe a little longer, I started to take some private lessons. This was going to be a big undertaking.

Yeah. Especially with not knowing the language to get by. I mean, how did,  you learn the language? What I mean, they say, you go and you immerse yourself. But if you really know nothing, how did everybody learn?

Well, well the kids, we did start them with something called Mazy or something. We, they listened to this. Um, it was like a BBC French show for kids. They listened to it a little bit before we moved. I don't think it did anything, but they did listen to it. And it just sort of teach you some French, but I don't think it did a thing. It took a long time because actually, my husband's work, he was very lucky because he was at the headquarters. He walked into a room, everybody had to speak English. Okay. And then, and then his work basically offered him French lessons.

They said, you can go to this French school. And I said, well, that sounds really fantastic, but I have kids and I can't leave the kids to go to French school. We were lucky in one way, in a big way. Actually, my husband's father is from Belgium originally. So it just so happened that someone in my husband's family was living right outside of Paris. So she was the sweetest because where she lived in Belgium, they speak French. So she met us when we first came in, you know, off the plane or whatever.

She met us the day after. And it was just so wonderful to have somebody who not only speaks English but also speaks French. So she was very helpful to us because when we had to have a meeting with the school for the first time, cause we decided to put our kids in public school.

So they weren't going to have anybody in the school that spoke English because we specifically, picked an area, you know, a suburb. But we picked an area where there weren't a lot of ex-pats because both of us had discussed it and said, look, we don't want to live in an area where we're going to talk to people in English. Like we're here to learn French. So I think that was different from us than other people that I knew that came over was that both of us were very committed that we were going to learn French.

And we were going to give our kids that experience. We were just going to immerse ourselves in people that speak French and not speak English. If I could plan it again. I highly recommend moving like somewhere toward the end of the year. Cause we kind of took the stress off of us to say that they're going to do whatever they can in school now. And then during the summer, we're going to try to get them an experience so that they can be mixed with French kids and learn some more French. So my son was allowed to start for half a day, I think for the first week and for some time until he got used to it. And then finally they were willing to take my daughter for, I don't know, a half a day or a full day. But that, that helped me French wise because I said to my husband's work, you know, I'd really like to go to French school, but there's no way I can do it.

Like I can't be home in time for my kids. I can't, I only can go half a day.

His work was amazing. They, they eventually said, oh well you can have the private lessons.  Which make all the difference in the world. So then, because my husband's amazing too. I said to him, once I went to my private lessons, I thought, oh, this isn't incredible. And I dedicated myself whenever they were at school, you know, to studying. And I was like, oh, this is, I only had a certain amount of hours, maybe 60 hours or 50 hours. So I said to my husband, I said, okay, look, you know, I won't say anything, but can I sit through your lesson too?

So he was like, okay, you can do that. And I wouldn't say a thing and I would kind of laugh as he was doing his French lesson. Cause you know, she tried to do past tense and say, what did you do last weekend?

And I see him trying to think about what we did and what are you going to do this weekend? And we had no plans cause we're not planners. And that helped me. Like I, I feel like when I had that, um, the hardest things were like, you know, dealing with the kids in school because the teachers didn't speak any English, um, you know, someone bit my kids and it's, it's a different, and it's a different culture. The teacher’s like, well, you know, they're kids, that's what you can expect.

And I was like, oh. And so instead I took the approach of, I talked to the, you know, the principal and just said, this happened, you know, and it'd be really good if it doesn't happen again somehow. And as far as language-wise, I'm looking up all the words, you know, to tell her. And so, oh, you know this, she got bitten. And I said, you know, if you could please, watch and make sure she doesn't get bitten again when she's in the courtyard, that would be really nice. And so then when I would bring her into school, not that anybody understood me, I would say to my daughter.

 Well, don't worry. No one's going to bite you today.

Did you say it in English or in French?

I said it in English. I don't know. I figured if anybody understood if the teacher understood a little bit, you know, but also, you know, she was quite, she was a little nervous for a day or so. Yeah. I don't know, No one wants to get bitten, although it does happen here as well. I mean, when my kid was in preschool, he got bit almost every day to the point that I ended up. Oh yeah, it was bad. We had, we had a lot of biters, so I guess more biters here than in France. But um, it was to the point that I ended up putting, um, bug spray on him and because kind of like dogs, right? Like if they bite into something better then it tastes bad and they don’t do it again.

So I don't know if they changed something in the classroom or he was the smelly kid. Cause he had bug spray on, either way, no biting. 

So going, going to culture, what do you, how do you feel the culture was different and especially with like raising a family, um, and things like that, what was different?

Well, I was lucky because the things that were different were the kind of things that were what I wanted, so to speak. So an example would be, um, eating, eating is a huge thing. There it is extremely important. It is the most important thing. And it just kinda, and I am very, into our food. Like there's nothing, that's probably one of the highest priorities. So, and the way the French culture is, there is no asking for things differently.

Um, when you're given a meal, you eat the meal exactly how it's given to you. You don't ask for no sauce. You don't ask for no dressing. You don't ask for something on the side. There is no like, because there, their way of thinking is it is made this way because they thought about every ingredient and every ingredient is important to get the experience.

And I think for us because our kids were young, it really wasn't a problem. But I think, but maybe if kids are older, it could be a problem. And I mean, I do see my kids are now, well, one of them, I would say the older one is much pickier with his food and wants things a certain way. So he's gotten back to the American way. But, but my daughter who was interested, who was introduced to it earlier, she's, she'll try anything. And that's the thing too. Their culture is all about trying new things. Like when I had to start going gluten free, you know, there, at some point people were interested.

I went on a vacation with people and someone's like, oh, I'm going to try it's her birthday. I'm going to try to make a gluten-free cake. And I could use Chestnut flour. Like in the schools, there's a whole organization that organizes what the kids will eat and the kids have to eat the same thing at lunch that we're all given a lunch and it's served to them when they're younger. And then later they pick it up, but they're all given the same exact thing and they're not going to get dessert unless they finished a certain amount of their lunch. And then when they get a dessert, it is something really terrific. But, and they'll talk and they'll like, they'll have talks and conferences and say, oh, the kids didn't really like the broccoli so much.

So then they'll figure out a way to put broccoli into something else and the kids won't see it. So they're all about getting the kids to try different flavors and to like everything.

At school. Is that right?

Yeah. Yeah. That's at school.

That the kids there, I mean, if you had a play date or something like that, that you'd put something out and kids would not be picky. Cause you know, here it's very different. No, I don't like that. No, I can't have that. And if anything, a kid looked at me because they hadn't had something before I didn't care, you know, they would try it or I mean, well, the other thing is they have something special with the kids don't really eat in between meals. So the only time they eat is at 4:30 and everybody will take a break at 4:30, whether you're an adult or kid or whatever to have what they call dessert. So if after school you have someone over, you're going to be responsible for giving them this dessert.

But you know, absolutely. I did get some faces. Like if you put infront of them like fruit or something like that, they kind of looked at you like really, you know, because they knew that this was when they were getting a treat. 

Well, I hear another father saying to the kid, he bought bread and he stuck some chocolate inside the bread, closed it up, and said, here it is, this is to give you strength. So, you know, they do eat sweets, but they eat everything in moderation. Like I could see the difference between my kids and the French kids. Like they were shocked that my son wanted three desserts and they would all give him his dessert. I think they thought this was so funny. If he ate enough, he could ask for a second.

Um, but his friends liked him and they would give it to him when the French do something. Like they have what they call, rules. And they're very strict rules actually. But, um, when they decide to not have a rule, they're very serious about it.

Like, so people don't, well, at least at that time, people weren't eating as much candy and they're, they have like a lot of gummies and things like that. And so the one thing is if someone has a birthday party, they have, you know, um, bowls around with lots of candy in them. And that's when like, you know, it's time to load up. Like everybody's going to be eating the candy, like bags of candy and like that's expected. And that's just like the way it is. So it's, it's interesting it's when you're gonna not follow a rule, enjoy yourself.


Yeah. Yeah. So it was kind of like for the most part you were only eating, you know what, I'm going to say, breakfast, lunch, and dinner with this 4:30 little snack in there, but during like celebrations or parties or something, then you can kind of go to town with candies. Is that right?

Yeah. But the thing is I would guess that a party's going to involve being at 4:30.

Because it's that snack time, because.

It's that time. Yeah.

Okay. Yeah.

Got it. Yeah. And they have, like, I won't go into detail, but they have a very specific way that they do parties. So like I had, I had a French teacher for the kids at one point to help after school a little bit and that person, and I had a lesson, so I could learn, like, what did I need to do for this party? Or was it my own private teacher at the time? Actually, we went through like, okay, this is what's expected. Like they're gonna come and they're going to want this and they're gonna want that. And then, you know, it was like, the party had to be a certain way and it wasn't a fancy party at all.

Nobody had fancy parties, but it was more that like, you know, you needed to play games with them. And there were certain games they were used to. So you had to do those, you know, the kids had to open up their gifts at the party and thank the person, give them a hug, give him a kiss. No, thank you. Cards.

Oh, interesting. Yeah. So there's kind of that guidelines, not necessarily rules, but guidelines that works.

Yeah. They're all about the guidelines and they, you know, they, they expect that these guidelines are followed.

What things did you notice about like kid raising, that may be different than America, but I just think of like America, we are so on our kids, you know, I feel like we're kind of helicopter parents. We're always hovering. Yeah. I feel like that is different over there than it is here.

It is.

Yeah. What do you mean by that?

I would bring my kids to the park. And you would see like the kids would go in the playground or this, the sand area there. Cause they had a lot of sand. Um, and the parents wouldn't be at the park, looking at the kids. The parents would be like, you know, quite a bit away, like having discussions and having a little picnic with their friends or whatever. But the parents weren't, the parents didn't take part. Like, you know, I can't think of what, like when they were young, you know, you might climb with them or do stuff with them and they didn't do that.

Like it wasn't that kind of a thing. Yeah.

So the more, more kind of independent play and more peer-to-peer play instead of having to necessarily be the playmate. Because I do feel a lot of times when the kids are younger, even now, I mean, sometimes my kids seem bored and I'm like, okay, what do you want to do? 

First of all, how long were you there? Cause I don't remember how.

Long we lived there for five years. Wow.

Five years. That's a long time.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. By the fifth year, like I would say we started talking about leaving. I don't want to go now because I think five years is this big mark of when you're starting to, you just feel immersed in it and you really not having such difficulties anymore.

Right. You got the language, got the culture down. Yeah. So since moving back, what have you stayed with that you really enjoyed as part of their culture that maybe you've kept?

I'm pretty vigilant about my meals. You know, we eat on a separate table. Like we have two tables in the house. One is a glass-like table near the kitchen where people have breakfast because then you can leave out quickly. But, um, but as far as my, um, my dinners, I have them on a separate table, you know, in a totally different area. There's really nothing to look at, but the table. Um, and I don't really, I sometimes I'll give in every so often, but I don't really allow this.

Um, I guess an example would be my son, who doesn't like these meatballs that I make and I still make them because everybody else likes them. And so he has to eat them, maybe not as many as us and then he can have something else as well, but that never would affect, you know, so, so I'm, uh, I've given in a little bit in France. I never would have given into that. It's, you know, there is no choice. This is what you have.

When your kids came back there, there were much older. I'm like really thinking of this. It's like, you know, two and like four or so,  then they come back at like seven and 10. That's huge. That's such a big shift of age and phases, so, okay. Two questions, one, were they able to come back and just kind of re-immerse into the lifestyle here, which they hadn't been in really or even known?

Um, I think I had a really hard time. I really, became very depressed. I think they also had a hard time, but it wasn't quite as hard for them. Yeah. I think that I was so nervous about them knowing English because really they hadn't learned to read in English until maybe a year or two before. I think my daughter learned the year before we moved to my son started two years before we moved, I think, where they just started to learn how to read once a week and right in France in English.

But I had been reading with them every night in English. I was like really crazy about that. And I spoke English.

And you spoke, right? So they were speaking English in the house, maybe?

Yeah. Just in the house. Cause if a friend came over, I was speaking French with a friend, I wasn't going to speak any English. So, you know, so they got it when my husband and I were home. Yeah. Um, but it was, it was a huge, like I said, I don't think it was as big for them. It was hard for me because I was used to a city and all of a sudden I was in a suburb. I'd never lived in a house before we were renting a house.

Yeah. And we had picked a school district, but we didn't really know if it was going to be good or not, you know, if it would be a good fit for us or not. Um, because I had never been out of a city in my life. Um,.

Well and neither had they. Right. I mean, it must've been kind of hard and I'm also thinking, so this was my second part of the question is, you know, as they're older. So when you moved there, there were younger, there were a good ages and weren't really in school. So they weren't like taking them away from all these friends and their school and what they're used to, but actually on the way back you were. Right. Yeah. So was that actually a harder transition when they knew they had, they were leaving France? Cause it kind of technically grew up there.

Yeah. No, it was, it was much harder for everybody I'd say except for my husband, but it was much harder for everybody moving back. I mean the one thing they were excited to be with was they were excited to see their family. Cause my husband has a huge family, so they were very excited to see their family. And we stayed with my mother-in-law for a month, I think while we were looking for places. So they were, they were happy with that. My son was happy with a lot of things at school because in the French school system, you weren't given so much attention.

Like you had to do what you're supposed to do. And that was it. You know, we're here. Like his first comment was, oh my God, they have a nurse in the school. Like when I get hurt, I can, you know, I can see the nurse, the nurse, not like in the next building, you know, he felt, you know, he felt very, um, cared for, but given much more attention.

Um, but that said, you know, he was coming into fifth grade, which is kind of a hard grade to come into. Cause it's the last grade in elementary school. Right. All the kids knew each other and he was coming in. So that was really hard for him. My daughter, she it's just the luck of the draw. Like she was going into third grade. She happened to have like an amazing teacher and someone in the class, like things to think about. Like if you have someone moving from another country into your class, like to invite, to invite them over is really nice.

And someone actually did that was she invited all the kids in her class over at her house, which right away my daughter felt cared for. That way, you know.

It is hard to fit in, especially. I mean, I could see how your son would have a harder time. Fifth grade is much more difficult than third grade, um, to fit in. Yeah.

That's a great recommendation for parents who, whether they're going to another country or having another kid from another country or new to  town,

invite them. Yeah.

Because the person that's moving is So stressed out, trying to like make a home that when somebody, you know, then calls you and invite you or something, it's it just makes all the difference. It makes it easier for the kids. 

I mean, that is universal. Kids want to play. So that's the one nice about younger kids, at least it's universal.  Hey, you want to play in the sandbox. Yeah. Let's go play in the sandbox. You don't need a lot of language. Right. So looking back to being here now, looking back at what you've done, would you have made the same choice?

I definitely would've gone there. I definitely would have stayed for at least five years. I think I might've stayed longer. We were afraid to stay longer because, um, we were afraid of the whole learning English thing. I spent a lot of energy worrying that they wouldn't be able to catch up in English. And that just was not the issue.

So they caught up easily is what you're saying. They did catch up pretty easily.

Well, I'll be honest, you know, my daughter caught up really easily. My son has some difficulties, so, you know, for him, you know, it doesn't go as easily. Um, but that was also one of my reasons for moving back because I felt that here we have much more, um, like special services.

But actually what I found out later as we were leaving was they did have interventions. I just didn't really know about them, which is why it's like when you do move somewhere, to really research even more what's available to you.

Yeah. Which is hard when it's in another language and it's very hard, you know? And you try and even just discuss things with teachers. I mean, teachers could have probably recommended stuff for your son is what I would have thought. Um, but you know, when you don't fully understand the language, you still learning is probably less of a, you know, ability to fully communicate those needs or for the teacher to know that your son needed those needs, knowing that French was not his first language. And he was just trying to figure it out.

Exactly. And I think that brought a lot of gray areas into things, you know because we decided to do some testing before we came home because we figured it's cheaper in France, which it is. So, um, we had him do some testing, but it wasn't English. And at the time we're like, well, how valid is this now? Because this is not, you know, he's bilingual now. He's not just English. So there's, there's a lot of things that you have to think about. And also the way the teachers talk, they might've said something, oh, he has his head in the clouds or he's very, and I'm like, oh, well that's wonderful.

He's very, you know, imaginative. You know, years later I'm like, oh, maybe they weren't.

Yeah. They were saying things. Yeah.

Yes. I guess if, if you not shy and you can find, and you can pay somebody to do some translation sometime that's probably helpful.

They now have Google translate. Right. Right. Now you can press your phone and you can ask them, you know, say something. So that would have been helpful.

Oh, that's huge. That's so huge. I forgot about that. Yeah.

Yeah. So it has developed so maybe will need to come back eventually.

No, I would move back there in a heartbeat to tell you the truth.

Um, so if you could give advice to any parent who is maybe in this situation or just really wants to make a life change, um, what would be your biggest advice for them?

I would say do it, if you want to do it, you both have to be really want to.

Meaning you and your spouse or your partner. Because I saw so many couples break up going over. And oftentimes what it would be that I would see is that like the husband happened to be French and then the wife was American, but the wife didn't really want to move. And so there was all this tension where it's like, you both have to go in there and just laugh at things and say, and just enjoy it as much as you can.

And as much as you know, you can't make, you can't say I'm doing this for somebody else. It has to be that you both want to do it.

That's good. Yeah. I can hear that because I think it sounds like as much as it's an amazing experience for yourself and your family, it's a very stressful experience. And if you're doing it for somebody else and not for yourself, there's probably a lot of resentment of what you've left behind. Yeah.

Also, because if it's a change like someone had said to me, oh, was such a change for me because she lived in the suburbs and now she was going to the city where for me, I said, well, people said, how is it feeling like, well, I just lived in a really big city and now it's like going to a little small city. I'm like, it's pretty nice actually, you know, it's really clean. So it was, it was different. And I also think that, um, because I mean, I would say like when I came back, it's not like we both were kind of like, I dunno, who wanted to come back more than the other? Like I think by the time I came back, I just think either way, if you move across, realize that when you come back, that's going to be the hardest time.

And I've heard that across the board going there it's not as hard because you're going for this adventure. You're, you know, you're going to check things out. You're going to see new that you've ne,ver thought before, you're going to laugh at this and laugh at that and whatever else. But when you come back, you're changed. You have to kind of say like, it took me a long time to not be annoyed with different eating things here. You know, I was like, I was like, what is this? Everybody just buys pizza all the time. And what's going on in here.

You don't like, you just change. You know, you have to be willing to recognize that there's certain, I guess, like you said, now I'll be thinking about like what, what, what I kept from there and what haven't I, because, but then it's true. After a few years, then you usually are back to where you were before.

You kind of mold into wherever you are. Right. So it's like, you have all these experience, then you come back and then eventually it seems to fade. So yeah, I think it's important to think about all the things you've learned and keeping those things, you know, with you and incorporating them into even being here. Cause that's why he went in the first place. Right? Yeah.

But I had to, but I will say it's kind of funny now that you say that because I happened to have been very lucky after I was there for, I don't know, a year or whatever it was. I ended up, someone told me about an international group and I ended up like joining this group and it just so happens that in my own town, now I would say three quarters of the people I know are from other countries.

You kind of, yeah. You kind of seek them out now that you've lived abroad for a while. Yeah.

And they say, well, I think like they have this like thing that the American library in Paris, and they said like,I guess they told you like what to be aware of with your kids. And they said, you know, you're going to find that your kids are gonna end up finding some kids that have lived in other countries or have other cultures or whatever else. And it's true.

Well, Amy, thank you so much for telling me about your experience. I mean, this is was such an adventure for you and I hope you do eventually move. Maybe not even back there, we had another adventure and maybe, maybe when my husband decides to say, Hey, let's go live in wherever. I'll say. Sure. Thank you for listening to the show today. It was so nice to hear Amy's story about moving abroad. It was really inspiring to take such a big opportunity and learn a new language and immerse yourself in the culture.

And it's just so interesting how coming back to the states was almost more difficult than actually going over to France. Please visit us on our Facebook group so we can continue talking about this conversation or any other parenting conversation. And don't forget to follow Real Life Momz so you don't miss an episode.


Amy Srebnik


I was born in Bronx, NY. Went to HS in Manhattan--Fiorello La Guardia as a voice major. I went to SUNY Stony Brook and when I figured out that the classes I chose would give me a bachelor in English I said, ok, and got that. Then a friend mentioned that she was going to try for PT school I thought, hmmm that sounds good. I took the science prerequisites and thought, well lets see if I can get in. Well, somehow the PT program decided let's give her a try. So then I got my Bachelors in PT at Stony Brook. I lived in Manhattan for 13 years. I worked at NYU Rusk Institute for 10 years, where I did pediatric PT for 5 years. I was hyperfocused on my job, so giving it up to be a mother was quite a difficult decision. I realized if I continued to work after daycare costs, I could maybe get a cup and coffee per day with the money I would make. I must admit I was also hyperfocused on breastfeeding and did not have the strength to endure the pumping. I did some part time work here and there and some part time teaching at a PTA program. Anyway, we had another child after 2 years and 4 months.

My husband, Lee and I have parents from Europe (Germany for me, Belgium for Lee) so we always dreamed of living in Europe. Lee worked for a French company, so when there was a possibility of quitting and taking a job locally with the same company at the Paris headquarters we jumped at the idea. Dean was 5 years old and Tessa was 3 years old. And the story begins....