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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Before this post becomes too outdated, I wanted to share a unique little yuletide trinket I found here in France, that roused both nostalgia for my upbringing in the States and appreciation for the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 →
So you want to visit the City of Lights. But If metros and buses aren’t for you… 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):
- Although the United States also asks couples to officially marry in a clerical setting, such as a court house or town hall, very rarely does it happen on the same day as the wedding and reception, with guests piled into some official room. In France, the civic proceedings happen just before any other ceremony or reception is to take place. At this wedding, as many friends and family members as possible were crammed into the tiny room, though I’ve been told that sometimes it’s just the bride, groom, and witnesses, and everyone else joins for the reception.
- Speaking of witnesses, that’s what the bridal party is called here. There is no maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids or groomsmen. There is usually one person (sometimes two) for the bride and one (or two) for the groom to act as witnesses to the marriage.
- The witnesses do not usually coordinate clothing or colors to match the bride, groom or any wedding theme.
- A bouquet is thrown, but a garter is not.
- There is no cake or cake-cutting ceremony.
- There is no father-daughter or mother-son dance.
- I also don’t recall seeing the couple’s first dance, but this may have been around the point where things got hazy. 🙂
- Speaking of hazy, the reception (aka when dinner was served) started around 9pm, with drinks and dancing intended to last until around 5am.
- Since there is often no outright “ceremony,” there is no rehearsal the night before the wedding (although in this case, there was actually a ceremony at a church that included a choir, who held a rehearsal at the church, which preceded a barbecue).
- Instead of a brunch the morning after, there is often an all-day event where food and drinks are served.
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)! 🙂