Chances are, you might know someone who has uprooted themselves and relocated to a foreign country. Depending on the strength of your connection to that person, your reaction may vary from vaguely annoyed/impressed, to overly thrilled/depressed at the prospect of their new life. Perhaps they’re moving somewhere exotic for an amazing job and you couldn’t be happier, or maybe they didn’t have the choice and you’re saddened by the sudden distance this move will create. Regardless of where your emotions lie on the spectrum, I’ve created a list of Dos and Don’ts for those who have expats orbiting their universe. Read More →
Here’s a funny story:
The first time I ever met my friend Jess was on New Year’s Eve, when our mutual (and awesome) friend Ashley invited her to my place for some festivities. She showed up with a bottle of wine… coming from Burgundy (huh?). Up until the last few times I saw Jess before heading across the pond, she still insisted on drinking Burgundy if it was a wine night (which it usually was). We didn’t know much about the wine, except that it was French. And it was kind of awful.
A few years ago, Frog Prince and I decided to take a mini-vacation. We first wanted to see Rome, but the tickets were too expensive. After scouring flight search engines for days, we opted to stay in France, and he planned a 5-day trip to the region of Bourgogne (pronounced Boor-GON-Yuh). Known for its great wine, stunning castles, and beautiful countryside, I was looking forward to seeing (and tasting) what Bourgogne had to offer.
It wasn’t until we arrived and were looking at postcards that it hit me: Bourgogne = Burgundy! The whole time we were planning this trip, I never put two and two together. But once there I did drink a lot of Burgundy wine. And none of it was awful.
So, dear Jessica, this one’s for you. Some wine cellars, some castles, and even something from Dijon, the home of spicy mustard. 🙂
I have to say, the food in Bourgogne was just as good as the wine, and I definitely learned a lot about wine (though it was really just a drop in the bucket, considering all there is to know!). And you know what that means… #16 is officially crossed off the list!
And since I don’t like to underperform, I went ahead and crossed off #18, too. There were plenty of castles, and I explored the heck out of ’em. 🙂
Although there haven’t been a lot of posts about the progress I’ve been making on my psuedo-Bucket List (or a lot of posts, in general), I can assure you I haven’t been sleeping on the job. A few months back I managed to accomplish one of the tasks I had given myself, despite being completely unable to predict when, how or where I would pull this off (given my current physical proximity to most of the people I grew up with): # 30–reconnect with someone from the past. Read More →
Last year, I wrote a post reflecting on what my first year in Paris had been like. Though I acknowledged a lot of positive elements from my first year, I also described the sensation of struggling between the person I was inside and the person I was forced to be due to my lack of ability to express myself in French.
Now I face a whole different kind of struggle. One which I can’t really get into here (yet! but maybe if all you boys and girls are good I’ll save you a nice story for later…;) ), but mostly with money. HOLY HELL Paris is expensive. And the taxes are just, well… that’s a first world problem and I’m just going to go ahead and bite my tongue (can’t hurt any worse than those bills from the government! Ouch!).
However, I am able to happily report that, for the most part, I feel a lot more like myself than I did 365 days ago. There’s a few reasons for that, which include:
- I’ve kept a lot of the friends I met in year one, and have been able to let go of my insecurities around them. I no longer fear that they’re going to think I’m stupid if I make a mistake in French, and I no longer worry that they’re going to think I’m stupid if I butt into a conversation in English. I think they know me, now, and they’ve decided to stick around. They’re either loyal to a fault, or messy conversation isn’t all that bad.
- I’ve improved my French. I mean, let’s hope so, right? Seriously, after being here for 2 years, I’d like to think I can answer my own cell phone and not have a heart attack. Okay, I’m still working on that one, but I can definitely participate in conversations now that I couldn’t before, and people remind me all the time that I’ve come a long way.
- I’ve gotten into the rhythm of how life works here. Do I still get frustrated at processes that are painstakingly inefficient? You bet. But do I expect them now, and have a good laugh about it? Most of the time. And it doesn’t hurt that even on its ugliest days, Paris is still pretty.
- I made some catastrophic mistakes in 2012. How can that make me feel more like myself, you ask? Well, first of all, I wouldn’t be me without some huge blunders now and then. And second, I forced myself to look at who I was and what I was doing, and realized I was starting to get off track. I have this weird philosophy about myself that I’m always changing, and I still am, but I’d like to at least be changing in positive directions. I was starting to go the other way, and was able to reroute myself.
So there you have it. I spent my Two Year France-iversary watching the rain come down outside of my apartment and watching Saving Private Ryan (for the first time) in light of our recent trip to Normandy. Oh yeah, there was wine in there, too. For what is an anniversary without a toast…
It’s been exactly one month since my last post, where I was motivated to write by the unfortunate happenings in Boston. One month may not seem long to some, but to me it felt like an eternity. Read More →
Almost two years ago, I arrived in Paris, ready to embark on a new adventure. During my first few weeks here, it was the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs back home in the states, and my home town team, the Boston Bruins, had made it to the finals. My hockey allegiances had been split in college between the NJ Devils (after following a certain player that helped them to a Stanley Cup win), and the Bruins, whom I had watched on TV as a kid, and had seen a few times at the Garden with my Dad.
The Boston Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup that year, and I experienced something interesting: pride in the place where I come from, that was actually heightened by distance (and a love of sports). I wrote about it, here, and was happy to wear some New England sports attire to work that day (it was a Red Sox jersey, since I didn’t have anything Bruins). Although I smiled on my walk to work, proudly displaying my Red Sox gear, I knew my clothing would only signal “Boston” to those who were American, but I didn’t care. I was expressing myself just because I was happy and proud to be from New England, not because I cared if anyone else could see what I was doing, or to prove my fandom (because trust me, I know some super serious hockey fans, and I don’t rank among them).
Today, I’m doing something that is simultaneously very similar, yet very different to that day in June. Today, I’m also wearing something Bostonian, to show my pride, and not because I care who can see me or if they recognize the green color and signature leprechaun that represent the Celtics. But the pride I express today is a different one. This is the kind of pride I don’t want to have to express, the kind that is caused by things we always think happen to someone else. This is a quiet, pensive pride, where support means thinking about all of the people who have been hurt or have lost someone in an explosion that rocked an otherwise awesome event, and counting my blessings.
Funny how pride can exist in two different forms, despite being tied to the same thing.
So here’s to you, Boston, and all the people who make the city as strong as it is. Like the emergency personnel and the race volunteers that I saw on the news who were rushing to the aid of the injured, like the former Patriots player who was seen carrying an injured woman, and like the rest of the city who I know will support one another every step of the way. I am far away from the danger that has transpired, but never too far to be proud of Boston and to show my support for the city that myself and so many other New Englanders call “ours.”
Sometimes, when you’re a traveler at heart but the timing isn’t right, you have to make a location come to you. So when I realized that my 30th birthday was not just happening on a Saturday night, but the Saturday night before the Oscars, I decided to bring Hollywood to Paris. Read More →
Recently I took a look at one of the statistics that WordPress provides its bloggers, which is to show you the search terms that bring people to your site. I noticed an interesting trend: Almost every day I have someone that lands here looking to find out where to watch NFL while in Paris. Read More →
This blog is about what it’s like to live as an expat, peppered with posts about my travels and the cool stuff I get to see and do as someone who landed a job as a semi-jetsetter. For that reason, I have avoided posting about any topics that could be perceived as taboo. It isn’t that I don’t have opinions, but I didn’t feel that this blog was really the place to share those feelings. The funny thing is, if you know me, you know I’m pretty outspoken about what I think… I just generally don’t do it in the social media stratosphere. But recently I asked myself why I don’t share these thoughts out loud from time to time, and I didn’t like the answer I came up with: because I am scared of offending someone. But part of me feels like not saying what you think to avoid rocking the boat is kind of like lying. And I’m tired of lying to my readers… Read More →
I don’t look at my blog stats very often. I am still a wee little fledgling in the blogging world, and I prefer to be pleasantly surprised, so I spare myself from counting my followers or my daily views. It would be a fast exercise, to be sure, but I usually focus on the writing.
Every once in a while, though, I take a peak to see if people are actually reading this thing, or if I just write things for the heck of it. I’ll spare you the details, but did want to share one very cool little piece of the WordPress Stats tool: the viewing map.
It’s meaningless to most of you, I’m sure, but to me, it’s an awesomely orange representation of global readership.
Essentially what this clementine-esque version of a world map tells me is that there are people from all over the world who are reading my blog! The color-coding here indicates areas of the world where someone has taken a peak at Perpetual Passenger, with the darkest areas having the heaviest readership. It shows me that my readers come from everywhere – even Mongolia! Even Peru! Even a whole bunch of other countries that are equally awesome! And thank you, USA, for being my biggest fan, but France is catching up. 🙂
Also, for those who may not know, I finally took the plunge and created a Facebook page for my little baby blog. I’d appreciate it if you gave it a thumbs up (at the bottom of the page, or by going here and liking the page), giving you access to more content from the expat and travel adventures I always find myself in. Help me make more of my map orange (or even red)!