8 American Things I Can’t Live Without in Paris

A year after leaving the U.S., there are lots of things I enjoy (baguettes, croissants, shopping) and miss (my friends, my job, ENGLISH). So when my husband and I traveled last month to New York -- he for work, me to hang out and meet up with friends and colleagues -- there were a few things I knew I wanted to be sure and bring back to Paris. In short order, here's the random stuff that I miss so much in Paris I loaded up my bag for the return trip: Peanut butter. This is one food that's as American as pie -- that the French are notoriously not fond of (hubby is grossed out by my daily PB habit). Sadly, most grocery stores don't carry ... [Read More]

7 Ways This Year’s French Presidential Election Is a Soap Opera

Today is the French presidential election. Despite the cold and wet weather, I was happy to see this outside of the polling place across from our apartment: Even if you aren’t living in France, you might have heard about this election for one simple reason: Marine Le Pen. Following Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the rise of Le Pen -- the anti-immigration, anti-globalisation leader of the far-right party -- has people not only in France but around the world concerned about what’s to come from the populist movement. Living in Paris with a front and center seat, here a few of the wildest things I’ve heard or read: A former ... [Read More]

8 Things You Need to Know Before Moving from the U.S. to France

Given last night’s devastating Trump election, a lot of people have been asking how they can get the heck out of this country. I’m not saying that’s the solution: The U.S. needs people standing up for the rights of minorities and women now more than ever. But if you were already planning (or thinking of) moving to Paris, what I learned on our move this summer to France can help: Expect it’s going to cost more than you think. Between shipping and moving fees, visa application, potentially paying double rent (see below), and buying new stuff to settle into your new home, moving is pricey. Like, thousands of dollars kind of pricey. It will ... [Read More]

The Important Lesson I Learned After 7 Months Living from a Suitcase

One of the first things people would say when I’d tell them most of our stuff was in a box floating on the Atlantic was that you realize what’s important to you and what’s not when you don’t have it. And I didn’t really miss those pots and pans and drills, did I? No. But actually…yes. Not for the reason you think you’d miss something. It was out of desire, but a new kind of desire I hadn’t ever really experienced before. We packed up our New York life in a total of 16 boxes this past March. At first lovingly arranged, each china plate and crystal flute lovingly wrapped in bubble wrap and newspaper. And then, the remainders tossed ... [Read More]

Why I Need These Chocolate Chip Cookies Now More Than Ever

As a girl back in Tucson, chocolate chip cookies were a nearly weekly family event. My mom would break out the bowl and the beaters; I’d find sugars and eggs. She sifted the flour; I beat in the eggs. We each took a beater and licked off the dough while my dad stirred in the chocolate chips. Then we all ate a warm cookie with a glass of milk. It was a routine, and that meant it became comforting. And that’s what I need right about now. I’m almost afraid to admit it, because these aren’t “real” problems. I’m not homeless, hungry or abused. Most people would probably even see my situation and think I have every reason to be happy: I’m ... [Read More]

5 Ways the Paris Music Festival Rock en Seine Is So…FRENCH

Nothing says summer more than music festival, even in Europe. So this weekend, just outside of Paris we attended France's answer to Coachella or Governor's Ball: Rock en Seine (sounds like "Rock On, Seine! to the Frenchies...kind of cute). A three-day festival launched in 2003, in many ways, it's just like any festival you'd go to in the U.S.: Loads of people, lots of stages, good music, and pot wafting through the air. But then there are a few things that make it...well, typically French: 1. The super-feminist man band: The band Olivier was most excited to see, La Femme ("The Woman"), consists of four dudes and a woman who ... [Read More]

I Know I Look Like a Crazy American…and Guess What? I Don’t Give AF

Yesterday I did what I had been hesitating to do since I arrived in France: I worked out outside, like the crazy American I am. I did not do this by choice. No, I did this out of necessity. Because I was chased out of my routine by a grumpy Frenchwoman, and I need my daily workouts to keep my sanity…especially now when I’m feeling more vulnerable. Let me explain. For the three weeks since I've moved to Paris with the hubs, I was working out. But because there are NO GYMS anywhere remotely in the vicinity of our apartment, I did it in one of two ways: I ran. Sometimes I still get comments (usually from old men playing board games ... [Read More]

The Side of Myself I Never Knew Before Leaving the U.S.

If there’s one thing that I’ve always been able to count on in myself, it’s this: I. Love. Travel. Love it. Live for it. So I was surprised at feeling recently like I wanted to stay put. For a while. It hit me first when we landed in Paris, but even more after we left the apartment we had just arrived at two weeks earlier to go back to New York, where I had to get my visa and Olivier had to do training for his new job. This was after two months of traveling to 20 different cities all over Asia in two months. I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking right about now: boo-hoo. Life is SO hard. And I agree. So I’m not complaining; I’m just ... [Read More]

The Moment I Understood Why American Healthcare Sucks So Much

I’m almost scared to write this lest I jinx myself: I am uninsured. That’s right, folks—no healthcare. Zip. And because of these circumstances and a recent visit to the doctor’s office, I’ve come to discover one more big reason why French healthcare is so great...especially compared to the U.S. After Olivier and I quit our jobs at the start of April, we were both off our employers’ healthcare plans—the first time, I think, I’ve EVER been without insurance. Clearly, I’m not a risk taker. The very next day, we had ourselves signed up for travel health insurance that would cover us for any big incidents over the following two months, while we ... [Read More]

6 Things Parisians REALLY Think About Brexit

With the U.K. voting last week to exit the E.U., there’s been a bit of a freak-out on this side of the Atlantic—especially among Parisians. After all, France and Britain aren’t exactly best friends, and this vote is seen as a bit of an f-u to the European region. Here are a few of the things I’ve read and heard on the streets of Paris RE “Brexit”: That sucks, I can’t buy as much now. At a chic Paris boutique, I overheard a British customer asking a salesgirl the price of a shirt. When Salesgirl responded in euros, Brit said “well unfortunately that’s about the same as it costs now in pounds” and chuckled to herself. When Salesgirl ... [Read More]

What Happens When a Paris Restaurant Runs Out of Baguette

I lived Paris for a year and a half after school. It's only been a week since we moved back: How much about this place could really come as a surprise? A lot. That was 10 years ago, back when I was a laid-back Cali college student. Before I turned 30 and became a pain-in-the ass, high-maintenance New Yorker. I’d always appreciated the fact that French servers don’t rush you through your dinner, like so many places do in New York, where they’re trying to turn over the tables as fast as they can to squeeze out an extra buck. I don’t blame them. But it is nice to enjoy a leisurely meal without a server hovering. Except if… That time ... [Read More]

Who Am I If I Don’t Have a Job?

Two weeks ago I quit a full-time job I (most of the time) loved for…no other job in sight. With our move to Paris, I plan to freelance. Before I left my job, I felt excited about the potential of working for myself. But now, with only prospects but no contract in the queue, I’m riding the roller coaster of thrill and panic, wondering: Who am I if I don’t have a job? Since January I had been waiting impatiently until the right moment to quit, given my husband’s current job and his new offer. But the deadline kept getting pushed back— from February 1st to 15th to, finally, March 1st. The wait felt impenetrable; I couldn’t wait to leave and ... [Read More]

9 Things I Wished I Knew Before Moving from NYC to Paris

This past week my husband and I made the leap: We moved our entire lives from our comfy Chelsea apartment to the unknown life in Paris. Well, not entirely unknown—my husband is from Paris, and I lived there 10 years ago for a year and a half between school and teaching English in the suburbs of St. Denis. Yet this time around, there were still plenty of unknowns. Here are nine things I learned from my move that might be helpful to anyone else looking to leap the ocean. Just deal with your landlord (even if he is a scumbag). When we contacted our landlord to let him know that we were moving out of the country and wanted to get out of our ... [Read More]