24 Hours in Krakow, Poland

The coolest thing about living in Europe is the proximity to a dozen other countries just a hop, skip and a jump away, right?

Well, it turns out that when you have a full-time job plus other responsibilities (or you, I don’t know, buy a house…) it becomes not-so-easy to just jetset around the continent. Truth bomb: flights and trains are still very expensive. All those people snagging 49€ last-minute flights must be leaving on a Tuesday mid-afternoon, because they don’t have an office job.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve barely made a dent in my long list of travel destinations, thanks to a cornucopia of complications. But I got lucky!

An opportunity fell in my lap to visit a place I never much thought about: Poland! Continue reading

Advertisements

Quick Trip to the Opéra Garnier

One of the cool things about living in Paris (rather than visiting) is that you can take the time to explore hidden gems and smaller sites you wouldn’t otherwise have time for on a Greatest Hits tour in a week-long or weekend trip.

I’m lucky in that my office is centrally located in the heart of Paris, surrounded by some of the swankiest areas. I can see La Madeleine from our windows. Since we moved to this location back in October, our gregarious Office & Happiness Manager (official title, and it suits her!) has organized a couple of quick lunchtime trips to cool things to see nearby.

Unfortunately I missed out on the first one (to the Chapelle Expiatoire – where Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette were originally buried and now a museum about the darker sides of Paris’ history through the Revolution and the Reign of Terror. It’s now closed until May). I refused to miss out on another one, this time to the Opéra Garnier.

opera-palais-garnier-paris Continue reading

Thoughts from Paris, Spring 2016

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

Life as a bored* expat

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

Continue reading