Paris is expensive.
But if you’re here and you’re seeking something fun on the cheap, let me introduce you to patin à glace… also known as ice skating! Read More →
Paris is expensive.
But if you’re here and you’re seeking something fun on the cheap, let me introduce you to patin à glace… also known as ice skating! Read More →
Before this post becomes too outdated, I wanted to share a unique little yuletide trinket I found here in France, that roused both nostalgia for my upbringing in the States and appreciation for the French in my life. 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)!
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?
Maybe it’s presumptuous to post an interview that features me, but I’ve gone and done it anyway.
An old friend (as in long-time, not as in aged-like-fine-wine) and I were talking about what people would want to know from my blog. What things would be of interest to tourists? What things would a visitor to Paris or France want to know? And then the question came up: what things do you want to know about the life of an expat?
My friend came up with so many great questions, that I’ve decided to share the “interview” with you in two parts. Without further ado, I present you with her first set of very interesting questions about living life abroad, and my responses:
What does it feel like to live abroad, emotionally?
Most of the time, it feels kind of normal. At this point, anyway. I’ve got a great little network of friends, there is routine in terms of when I am able to make contact with friends and family from home, and I find myself still thinking about work too much, and personal things too little. There are definitely times when I feel isolated, like in groups where the conversation flows so fast that I can’t keep up or participate. Or when I’m up on a Saturday morning and thinking of someone from home and they’re still fast asleep…
It is also challenging, when things that were simple before are now a struggle (buying groceries, having your washing machine fixed, being allowed to live where you live). Emotionally, you either get worn down or put up war-like defenses to prepare you for the semi-constant rejection.
But on the whole, things are starting to feel familiar, and the experience is very rewarding. I often look back and realize that I am able to do things now that I couldn’t a year ago, and that feeling is worth all the emotional turmoil.
Do people think this is a phase?
Yes and no. Some people, like my Dad, say things like “I bet you’ll never come back,” and other people ask me “when are you coming home?” every time I see them, as if it’s guaranteed that I’ll return to the States. Though I do think that the more time passes with me living here, plus the addition of an amazing French boyfriend into the equation, has people expecting an imminent return less and less.
How are you treated as an American?
Not badly, at all. Actually here, believe it or not, people often can’t hear the difference between an American or British accent (though I’ve met a Frenchie, who coincidentally lives in London, who swears he can, haha), so a lot of times people realize I’m a native English speaker, but not necessarily that I’m American. Usually the first reaction upon learning my nationality is to ask where I’m from, and then to tell me some place in the States they either have been, or would like to go. Then, they always want to know what I think of France. 🙂 I often hear things like “Really? You came all the way to Paris from the US?” or “Wow! I’ve never met an American before!” And on the whole, there isn’t as much negativity towards Americans as there used to be.
Are you afraid to settle in too much since you aren’t a citizen?
Not really. My attitude is that I don’t know what’s around the corner, and I want to be open-minded and willing to go where life takes me. That means that maybe an opportunity will come up in another area, or maybe I’ll decide to apply for citizenship in France. I’ll do what feels right when it comes to making life decisions, and if that means settling in to some place here in France, that’s just what I’ll do.
Check back tomorrow, for the conclusion of my little mock interview. 🙂
This summer I had the pleasure of attending my very first French wedding! It was a beautiful affair from start to finish, despite the threatening rain, and my French getting put to the test. The event was interesting to me on many levels, one of which being the ability for me to observe differences in ceremonies and traditions that exist between French and American weddings.
In no particular order, I present to you the 10 wedding things that French and American couples do differently (in my experience):
So there you have it! And if there are any international brides/grooms or wedding crashers out there, please share some interesting traditions you’ve seen (or missed)! 🙂
In all of my rushing around the globe, I forgot to pass along the latest article I’ve written for MyFrenchLife.
Check it out, here, and get a small taste of some of the lesser-known spots I’ve scoped in this crazy country!
A bientôt! 🙂
The moment has finally arrived. The moment when I review the cupcake shop to end all cupcake shops in Paris. The one everyone told me about, from a comment on of of my earlier cupcake posts, here, to an article written by MammaExpat over at HJ Underway, here, to recommendations I received via twitter: Sugar Daze was the must-try bakery on my list. Now it’s time to reveal whether or not the shop is worth all the buzz…
At first glance: The first few times I walked past Sugar Daze I actually didn’t notice it. It was only when I was on a mission to find the shop that I realized I had walked down that same street several times, since my doctor was located around the corner. “How could I have missed a cupcake shop?” I had asked myself as Frog Prince and I turned onto the familiar street. It even has a colorful awning and a lovely glass window displaying some delectable treats that looked more than tempting.
At second glance: Once I finally stepped inside, the overly-commercial decor of the other shops I’ve visited yielded to a simple, relatively white-walled setting… which didn’t hold my attention for more than two seconds in light of the cupcakes on display.
At first bite: As with Daisy Miller’s, I knew before taking a bite what the experience would be like. Except in this case, I was expecting, and experienced, opposite results. I went immediately for I Love Rock N’ Roll, with it’s hand-crafted sugar guitar sitting atop the perfect amount of frosting. The frosting was sublime, and the cake was perfectly moist and well-flavored (which says a lot since they had been refrigerated after buying them the day before). At Sugar Daze, Cat makes full-sized cupcakes (not those little mini ones the Parisians try to pass off as cupcakes), so we each selected a different cupcake, cut it in quarters, and shared. I can say that the second, third and fourth bites were also exquisite.
Overall: Again, I don’t pay much attention to pricing, but I can say that Sugar Daze has the best-tasting cupcakes so far (and perhaps in all of Paris), and they offer full-sized cupcakes, so the price is probably higher per cupcake but not by weight, and for good reason. Not only is the size and taste enough to make these cupcakes worth the money, but the time spent on making each one look uniquely perfect is a rare thing in the cupcake world, rendering each one worth its weight in gold. Oh, and did I mention how fresh they were? Yeah, the list keeps going…
It’s almost like I don’t even need to say this last part, but for the sake of consistency: DEFINITELY GO to Sugar Daze if you’re in Paris and craving a cupcake. You won’t be disappointed! 🙂
When I tell people that I live in Paris, I often hear things like “I love Paris! It’s so beautiful,” “OMG, Paris is so pretty!” “I love _______ (insert Parisian area/neighborhood/district of choice)! It’s so charming!” “You must love the _______ (see previous instructions)! It was my favorite place when I visited there.”
At first, the short amount of time I had spent in the city allowed me to say things like “I haven’t been there yet, but I’ll definitely check it out,” to the satisfaction of those who had now given me, the resident of Paris, a recommendation on something new to see or do. And I took as many of those recommendations as I could in the early months. But recently it has dawned on me that the more people tell me how much they love certain little pieces of Paris, the harder it is for me to relate. Why? Simple: I have spent so much time and energy trying not to be a tourist, that I have flat-out avoided some of the parts of this city that make it so… Parisian.
So I’ve made a resolution to cut that out. I don’t care if I look like a tourist or not. The truth is, I live here, and if my American accent and constant stops to take pictures annoy the people around me… too bad. I’m here now, and I’m going to make the most of it. I would regret moving away from this place without having experienced the ins and outs of such a famously beautiful, culture-rich city.
To try and get better acquainted with the Paris that lies beyond the 12th arrondissement, I spent part of my Saturday last weekend taking my bicycle along the Seine and admiring beauty that was meant to be beheld. At some point I will compile all of the photos I’ve taken in and around Paris to add to my Cities: in Photos series (which still has yet to see Kos! Bad blogger!), but in the meantime, here’s a peek at what you can see in the city when you cycle through the streets. Enjoy!
I bet you thought I had taken a break from my mission to discover cupcakes in Paris, hmm? Well you’re wrong–I haven’t!
Frog Prince’s big sis clued me in to a potentially dangerous thing: a cupcake shop in my neighborhood. This sounded like trouble, and I needed to investigate. Enter: Daisy Miller American Bakery & Restaurant.
At First Glance: Technically the first glance I had of this place was the website, and I liked what I saw. They have some really great photos of some delicious-looking cupcakes, and I felt both excited and worried about the prospect of having such yummy desserts nearby.
At Second Glance: The shop seemed pretty bare, which I tried to overlook considering that they are newly installed into their little corner of the 12th arrondissement. But as soon as I took a look at their cupcake shelf, my heart dropped and I knew that my initial reaction of disdain for the wannabe-American bakery was an accurate one. We actually called before coming, since it was August and so many shops close for summer holiday, and we wanted to make sure they were open. They told us that they were, in fact, open for business, but asked us to delay our visit by just a bit so they could put out more fresh cupcakes. We obliged, but when we got there, I’d say their selection was extremely limited, and looking far from fresh.
At first bite: I didn’t need to take a bite, actually, to know that these cupcakes wouldn’t measure up to the previous two shops I’ve visited. Each cake looked exactly the same (no differentiation in flavor), and the frosting looked like whipped cream mixed with flavoring and/or food coloring, topped with cheap candy. Nevertheless, the first bite confirmed–these were not what an American would consider a cupcake.
Overall: I can honestly say that we felt bad serving these cupcakes to our dinner guests that night. Fortunately they were up for the experiment, and didn’t hold it against us, but this isn’t a bakery that I plan to return to anytime soon. Obviously, my verdict for this one is DON’T GO to Dasiy Miller.
As a side note, I was particularly put-off by two other things: First–the name indicates that this bakery is aiming to resemble something American, either in look, feel, or food offering. Not only were the cupcakes not at all up to American cupcake standards, but the decor in the shop centered around imagery from… London. Second–the one American thing they did have on their menu that looked appealing was beer. I was especially excited to see Sam Adams Boston Lager on the menu (for obvious reasons), and we tried to order one… at which point we were notified that, uh, they were out (or do they even carry them??). But we could have Heineken! No thanks, Daisy Miller. And maybe you should revisit the American theme you have going on…
Image credit: http://www.daisymiller-cupcakes.com/