But how do you get to the point where you think not only of moving from New York to Connecticut but maybe London or Dubai as equally viable? That mental shift, that comfort level with immersing yourself completely into another culture is fairly unusual among Americans. There is a sub culture of American expats working for American companies around the world like my brother who has worked for Chevron in Africa, China and now Kuwait. But this primarily entails living in little American enclaves, having your kids go to American style International schools and shopping at American style supermarkets. You keep to your bubble, socializing with other workers in your assignment. Going out on your own is a whole ‘nother level.
My sister certainly went in that direction - she moved to London for graduate school and never left, in fact is still there 35 years later with a career, husband and children - all with proper British accents. That is immersion!
But I still don’t think that shows the flexiblity of these amazing newlyweds. She left one country and put down deep roots in another; they float between countries like ballet dancers, amassing friends, mentors, projects, job opportunities. They know completely different neighborhoods via living in them, having a favorite restaurant or coffee shop they can go back to in any number of countries. Have special and separate traditions or rituals for when they are in Sidney, Los Angeles or Mexico City. This fluidity is remarkable and I am just a touch amazed by it.
But there is that whole wide world out there and I so want my kids to know it, to swim in it, down to knowing minutia like how to hail a taxi in Quito (arm up, palm down) versus NYC (hand straight up in the air) versus Paris (go to a taxi stand). I want them to feel equally comfortable traveling by Tuk Tuks as trains, have no compunction about eating street food ever and never be a snob about where they sleep. So we travel. And maybe, maybe they will edge me into being as global, as cosmopolitan and as comfortable in the world as Lourdes and Jules.