It's been a while since my last update, but a LOT has happened in the last few months.
The biggest and most amazing news is that, starting around the start of October, I'll be moving to Paris for 6 months!!! It's part of a work career development exchange, and has been in the running since February, but it finally got approved back in May. I'll be changing roles a bit and dealing with our distributors in more of a marketing role, but still staying fairly technical (unlike the completely technical role I'm in now as an apps engineer). I'll be replacing a coworker in Paris who is coming to the US to work as a product marketer. Kara's coming too, and we plan on living right in the center. I had mentioned before my interest in working overseas, and randomly one day my boss called me in and asked if I'd be interested in an opportunity in Europe. It took a few months for upper management approval to go through, and now we're in the slog of working through all the visa requirements for France (it's even more cumbersome than the US!) so while it's been a very long time coming, it's still slowly but surely happening. I don't think I'll believe it's real until we book our airplane tickets.
And of course this gives me extra time to learn how to speak French. I won't have to use it for work really since the common language is English, but I will need it for daily life. I've found that French is surprisingly easy to read since it shares so much in common with English and there are so many cognates, but speaking and hearing it are a whole other matter. It's been fun though, and while I just hope to have basic usage by the end of 6 months, Kara's going to be fluent pretty quickly I'm sure.
And as part of that new role, I'm doing more business travel, and as I type this, I'm at SFO waiting for my flight to China! I'll be spending a week there, going to Shenzhen and Shanghai. I've never been to China, and while I wouldn't want to live there (political system, pollution, etc) I'm very excited to get to visit. I have a few days free in Shanghai for tourist stuff, so I'll be taking a lot of photos! I also have my cheat sheet of Mandarin phrases since I don't speak any Chinese, but I figure if I can do Tokyo, then I can do China's major cities.
Then I get back next week, and a few days later, fly to Munich, Germany. Then there's a chance I might get to go to Russia as well. Though being in Paris, we'll be taking weekend trips most weeks to see various places. I can't wait to see Spain, England, Germany, and go back to Italy.
And speaking of travel, we went to the Dominican Republic back in May for a wedding, and it was gorgeous. It was my first experience with an all inclusive (including drinks) resort, and I have to say having a vacation where you do nothing at all but eat, sleep, and swim in the ocean on a gorgeous beach is pretty fun.
I'll try to update more often, but we'll see how that goes. Lots of exciting changes coming up though!