Did I tell you about the time I visited the Paris Catacombs?
We stood in line for hours. No, that is not an exaggeration for dramatic effect. Literal hours. We made a bad choice.
Poor, patient Frenchman stood along with me, our feet dying (ready to be put out of their misery and left with the rest of the skeletons down below), wondering why in the world this strange American wanted to do this so badly. If only he knew then what kinds of crazy antics he’d be roped into for all eternity when he decided to marry me. #SaintFrenchman.
It’s not always like this, apparently. We just got very, very unlucky
The Paris Catacombs
The concept of the Les Catacombes is pretty creepy, just at face value. A labyrinth of underground tunnels walled with the scattered bones of millions of people? Shudder. I HAD TO SEE IT. Continue reading
Last year, I just missed the Fête des Vendanges. It ended the 9th of October. I arrived the 10th.
This year, there was no way I was going to miss this!
La Fête des Vendanges 2016
A “fête des vendanges” is a wine harvest festival. THE Fête des Vendanges is a wine harvest festival in Paris itself, in Montmartre. Because there’s a vineyard in Montmartre. Did you know that?
So this particular Fête isn’t just any wine-soaked fête, it’s a wine-soaked fête perched atop the highest point in Paris, surrounding the iconic Sacre Cœur and overlooking the rest of the city. So you can see why I was determined to go to this year’s event. Continue reading
I’ve had so many things to say – and so little time to say them.
First and foremost… It’s my France-iversary!
I’ve officially been living in France for a full year, minus those couple of months at the start of this year. But my stuff has been here for a full year and that’s what counts. Home is where
the heart your stuff is.
It’s amazing to me that it has been a year already. This time last year, I was just moving into a freezing apartment with no heat, nervous to try the metro alone, and starting a long, strange few months working from home. I can’t believe how much has changed since then. Travel, engagement, married (twice), working, feeling settled… I couldn’t have asked for more. Continue reading
I know, I know. It’s been forever.
And I’m sure you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat, near tears, just waiting for the next post from l’Américaine.
Well, here it is. So sit back, worry no more, your favorite expat has finally gotten her sh*t together enough to write you a story about what’s been happening… more or less.
But let me tell you, it’s been a busy few weeks (or months? I don’t know how long its been since I wrote anything). I started a job and got busy and got tired from all the French being spoken at and around me all day every day. I took a whirlwind trip home to Boston and back in the span of what felt like 2 days (it was 4). I did lots of wedding planning and preparation for September, and move/house planning. And then every day les français at work ask me when I’m going on vacation and I have to sadly say I’m not, really (as they leave for 2 week trips to Sri Lanka and Norway, lamenting how short it is). Continue reading
A lot has happened in the last couple of months, and I haven’t written about any of it.
It’s not like I didn’t have the time. For almost all of April and May, I was home just about every day. With exceptions of course for that time I got married and the week I showed my parents around Paris, I’ve had a pretty wide-open schedule. I’ve filled my days with job-hunting for hours on end, cat-snuggling (a full time job on its own, really), and going for really long walks to get lost and find my way home again. And yet somehow, I never found time to tell you all about it. Or maybe I just wasn’t inspired after several days straight on the couch.
Human contact is a funny thing. Too much of it and you’re dying for some alone time in your jammies with a snack and your favorite shows. Not enough, and you start to become a bit too attached to your Netflix account, who is always there for you and would never do anything to hurt you.
Over the last couple of weeks though, things have been looking up! Good stuff has happened, the weather got better (briefly), and I started to spend more time with fun people other than my cat. Lunches here and there with friends, shopping trips, and – most important of all – I found my people in France for weekly Game of Thrones viewing. It does a person good to find their fellow nerds.
Anyway, I’m bouncing back with a few random thoughts from the last few weeks of “Spring” here in Paris: Continue reading
I quit my job to live in France.
That sounds like an intriguing start to the next New York Times Best Selling novel, but the reality of it isn’t as fun as it sounds. I mean, I can’t say it’s all bad, not at all. I get to sleep late, go nowhere if I don’t want to, hang with the cat… It’s actually pretty great. For the first week or two.
After the rush of wrapping up my job at the company I was with for over 4 years (and saw grow from 10 people to nearly 200), rushing back to France and getting married, then showing my parents around Paris for a week, I was ready for a break. It was nice to relax a bit. But after the first couple of weeks, having nowhere to go gets old.
When you picture “I quit my job to move to France” you imagine leisurely strolls through ornate gardens with a croissant in hand, sipping espresso at cafés, and mid-week visits to world-famous museums. The problem is that while, yes, I do have all the time in the world to do those things, I don’t have the income to support it. You can’t make daily trips to the terrasse for a coffee on an indefinitely-unemployed budget. That’s the part they forget to mention in movies; the funds required for a life of leisure.
So what do I do with my time? Whatever’s free.
So here’s my Unofficial Guide to Being a Bored Expat
Remember that time I got my parents to fly all the way across the ocean to see me get married and visit Paris? I know that was 3 weeks ago and it seems like I forgot but I swear I didn’t.
It was a crazy, full, busy week but it was so much fun!
Let me set the scene: my mother, a big European traveler in her day and, honestly, the reason my brain has been full of travel dreams since I was about 10 years old, hadn’t been to France in over 40 years. My father, on the other hand, had a brand-spanking new passport in hand, having never flown so far before in his life. Things were about to get very exciting. Continue reading
Or, maybe you haven’t. But I have, so let’s go with that.
I got married!
I’m still saying it because those words – just like “my husband” and “wife” – still has a funny feel in my mouth. I try rolling them around now and then just to see if it feels more normal yet. Status update: still feels funny.
On Monday, April 4th 2016, I married my Frenchman. Yes, I will continue to refer to him as “Frenchman.” Not everything has to change.
We got incredibly lucky with the weather and had a gorgeous, sunny, mild day. Leading up to it, the weather was all over the map vacillating between rainy and horrible and partly sunny and “okay”. I got ready at my parents’ Airbnb apartment around the corner and, with the generous chauffeuring of his brother, we met Frenchman and his family in front of the Mairie in the 15eme. Continue reading
I’m heading back to Paris!
I can finally say I’m going back – to Paris, to my apartment, to my cat, and of course to the fiancé I left behind for nearly 3 months to wallow through the winter without me.
For the entire time I’ve been home, there has been some measure of uncertainty. Not knowing when I could go back, not knowing if my paperwork was going through, not being able to tell anyone at work I was planning on going back… It has been exhausting. When the pieces finally all fell into place and I not only had solid plans but could share them? That was a big day. And once I was able to tell my team and give my notice a huge weight was lifted and I finally felt like I could enjoy this a little. Not that quitting my job didn’t come with its own set of stressors, but I wasn’t keeping secrets anymore and that was a relief.
Speaking of paperwork, I can also finally celebrate all of it going through! We got our marriage stuff in order… I got my visa application in order and received it… all that’s left is to get on a plane and go to the city hall! Continue reading
It has come to my attention that this blog post fell flat like a
pancake crêpe and/or totally confused everyone. Here are some clarifications to hopefully make it all make more sense.
- This post was written in total snark and sarcasm.
- Everything is fine.
For a bit of context, this post was intended to be a funny, quick exploration of French vs. American perspective and attitude. It was written in response to a funny exchange with my Frenchman in which, after reassuring me that X would be fine, Y would be fine, and Z would all be fine, he also expressed “I am not just being optimiste, I am just realiste.” I interpreted this moment as a silly, succinct example of one of the many differences between Americans and the French, in the way he felt compelled to clarify to me that he was not, in fact, being optimistic (apparently a bad thing), he was just being realistic when he said everything was going to work out perfectly smoothly.
I thought it was funny. Apparently everyone else did not. Continue reading