I'm Jenni; a mother of three boys, an editor, a professor's wife, and I’m in the process of moving from the American University in Cairo, Egypt, to the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Considering the time constraint and the circumstances, I would say we’re having a fairly smooth transition, so far. I would know, because I’ve done this before.
My husband and I never thought of ourselves as people seeking to live abroad. Our studies in Belgium were quite the hullabaloo by themselves. A country house with a pumpkin patch in the outskirts of a Midwestern university town was always where we thought we would find our happiness.
A little over three years ago however, we were presented with the option of moving from our (for-the-past-11-years) home in Leuven, Belgium to Cairo, Egypt. After much consideration, we took the shot. Why? might you ask, seeing that we are no globetrotters. You’ll find the answer to that question here.
Well then; now why Beirut? Practically, our prime motivations have been: 1/ cleaner air and more reliable living conditions, 2/ a secure, four year contract (we would only have another year at AUC before being brutally thrown out on the economically constrained job market, something that is quite scary with three boys to feed and a hefty, monthly student loan payment), and 3/ most importantly, academically it is a step up and a new interesting challenge for Courtney.
More than anything however; although that country house with a pumpkin patch might still be our dream one day, our life has unfolded differently, and we are, well, interested in these kinds of challenges. We are not moving to Beirut because it is something we always wanted, or because it is part of our grand plan to live around the world. We are certainly not moving there for wealth (in fact, we are taking quite a pay cut). We are moving because there was something about this specific opportunity that appealed to us. Lebanon – the work and the prospective life there - awakened our curiosity, and we decided that we want to see what is behind the door - door number three.