The Perpetual Passenger is getting some publicity this week! Some friends have decided to share my stories, and here’s the lowdown on where you can find them… Read More →
Browsing Category Travel
Three Things I Did to Improve My French
Earlier this year I stumbled upon a video of a guy calling himself Benny the Irish Polyglot that got me realizing that I was making a lot of excuses about my progress with the French language, and wrote about it. Benny was cool enough to repost my blog on his site (which is a great resource for anyone trying to learn another language, so check it out, here), and I figured I owed it to anyone who stopped by to post something about my progress. Read More →
Hunting for Hostels
It’s that time of year again! No, not the time for a renewed sense of self, a fresh perspective on your life and where you’re headed, or a time to establish a mile-long list of self-worth-inducing goals that you will barely scratch the surface of. No, no… it’s the time when the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere of the globe unite as one in the misery of gloomy weather and fantasize about a tropical getaway.
Ice, Ice, Baby
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 →
2012: The Perpetual Passenger Travel Review
Lately I’ve been sharing maps showing my readership and reports with blog stats, but now I’ve got a really fun map to share: my 2012 travels! Read More →
Bienvenue au Batobus!
So you want to visit the City of Lights. But If metros and buses aren’t for you… Read More →
Interview with an Expat – Part 2
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?
Interview with an Expat – Part 1
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. 🙂
The Road Less Traveled
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! 🙂
Paris Cupcake Wars: Sugar Daze
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! 🙂