As a follow up to yesterday’s post containing the first half of the interview, the rest of the “interview” is below (and if you’re seeing this for the first time, check out the Part 1 of this interview here):
Do you get homesick?
Another “yes and no.” I don’t get homesick in the sense of just wishing I could go home, or missing things to the point that I can’t enjoy my current surroundings. But there are events that happen: births, weddings, get-togethers… and I miss them all. Not to mention the events that I have in my life that my friends and family don’t get to be a part of. Plus I really miss my dog, Reese. She’s very well-taken care of, and I know that, but man I miss that silly, sweet, brown pup.
Do you take every experience like it’s just temporary?
I think sometimes I do, yes. I try and enjoy what I’m experiencing, for sure, but I sort of have this voice in the back of my head telling me that I don’t know how long this will last. It’s good in a way; it makes me try to see and do all that I can while I’m here. But sometimes I also feel like I’m some kind of tourist-at-all-times, never interacting in great depth with the various elements in my life.
Are you scared of having to come back?
This is a tough one. I don’t know. When I came back from studying in South Africa for 3.5 months, I had extreme reverse culture shock. The adjustment was really hard for me. I don’t think that French culture is so different from the what I was living previously that I would experience that again, but I wonder about the possible long-term negative effects I might experience.
I also feel like I’ve come to think of a lot of aspects of life in Paris as endearing, though city life in general is much grittier than what I’ve experienced in small towns and suburbs. There are cities, and then there are cities. And I think if I came back, I’d need to find a place that kept me in a continuous state of wonder and awe. It doesn’t have to be another city, but it does have to have magic.
Do you feel like you’ve accomplished something by experiencing life in another country?
Not yet. I feel like I’m not finished here. First of all, I don’t speak French as well as I would like (though I’m proud to announce that I no longer say “I don’t speak French,” and now I just say “I’m not fluent in French” because dangit, I can say a lot!). Second of all, I think there’s more to gain from living and working in another country than what I’ve gotten at this point.
Do you think that everyone should experience living abroad?
No. I don’t think it’s for everyone. I have some friends who are so close with friends or family that even vacations make them nervous, and as much as I think people should try, there are plenty who would not thrive when living outside of their comfort zones. But I do think that most people don’t even know where their boundaries of comfort lie, and living abroad can be a very positive eye-opener. I think people should at least travel to other countries, and if it appeals to someone enough, they should give being an expat a try, even if it’s only temporary.
What other questions do people want to know about the life of an expat? Are some of you out there considering making the leap? What weighs on your mind?
Tagged: America, american, expat, France, living abroad, Paris, Travel, United States
Great concept and execution – very thoughtful, interesting and fun Q & A (was that a real friend or a mock friend when you conceived the idea?). We’re definitely considering living abroad so found it personally relevant. I’d love to hear more about re-entry in general, and tough time post South Africa.
Hi Molly!!! I haven’t forgotten your email, btw. Will respond soon 🙂
Exciting to see you’re thinking about relocating! I’d love to share more about re-entry and my experience post-SA. I’ll work on some posts to touch on those topics 🙂
And yes – it was a real friend who came up with the questions 🙂
Nikki, this is great! I’ve stumbled upon your blog since writing my last post (I believe you liked it first), and I am so impressed by what you are doing here. Being an expat is a theme close to my own heart, and I love hearing about your experiences working in Paris (and around the world). I’ve only studied abroad, and I’m struggling to make the transition into the work force, whether abroad or back in the States. I’ll be sure to keep reading what you have to say! Et ne t’inquiète pas par rapport à ton niveau de français, le plus important est que tu le pratiques autant que tu peux, et ça va venir. Au bout de neuf mois en Suisse, je n’avais pas non plus l’impression que je parlais “couramment” le français, mais maintenant j’ai de plus en plus en confiance en mon niveau 🙂
Hi Colleen! I’m glad you like what you’ve seen here so far! I feel exactly the same about what you’re doing… very impressive! You are a great writer, and I applaud your efforts to live a less ordinary life. It sounds like you’re already succeeding, and I hope you continue to do so. I love connecting with other bloggers, especially those living/working abroad, so I look forward to keeping in touch. And thanks for the words of encouragement… forgive me for not responding in French but I’m using the old QWERTY, which is ill-equipped to handle many words. 😉 But I will definitely keep practicing, and eventually I’ll get there! Cheers to you, and I look forward to more great writing on your blog 🙂