A Girl’s Guide to Blending In in Paris: Pink Pangea Preview

She’s Parisian, which is to say she’s melancholy. Her mood responds to the changing colours of her city. She can feel a sudden surge of sorrow or even hope for no reason at all. In the blink of an eye, all those lost memories and smells come flooding back, reminding her of loved ones who are no longer there. And time passing by. – Anne Berest, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are Before leaving for Paris last summer, I was obsessed with figuring out how to blend into the Paris scene—or, in other words, how to not look like the tourist […]

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What’s on MY Mantel?

A few weeks ago, I shared with you a few of my tips for making a furnished apartment feel like home. From promptly putting your suitcases away to stocking your pantry to (eventually) inviting a new friend over for a cup of coffee, there are many practical and inexpensive things you can do to make your new apartment feel like a familiar, safe, and comfortable haven. I share these tips because they’ve worked for me. My own pre-furnished rental has become a home over the past few months thanks to a lot of intentionality and patience — patience with the space […]

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10 Things I’ve Learned After 3 Months Abroad

10 Things I've Learned After 3 Months Abroad | thisplaceishomeblog.com

The new year has got me thinking, not just about my goals for 2017 (there are many!) but about the many ups and downs of the past year. What a crazy, emotional, exciting, stressful, challenging road that has brought us to this moment! And what have we learned through it all? A lot. So much that I thought I would share a few of those lessons with you – namely, what I’ve gleaned from our first 3 months of life abroad in Paris. Now, I know what some of you are thinking: 3 months really isn’t that long. True, in the grand scheme of things. But, anyone […]

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An Open Letter to the Man Who Saw Me Cry

An Open Letter to the Man Who Saw Me Cry in the French Immigration Office | thisplaceishomeblog.com

To the man who saw me cry in the French immigration office: I think it goes without saying that I was having a really, really rough day. You could have watched the scene unfold from your seat across the room, quietly feeling sorry for me like the rest of the responsible expats who showed up at the correct time with the correct paperwork. (Kudos to you for effectively reading between the lines on the government website.) You could have even snickered to yourself and thanked your lucky stars that you weren’t the fool for whom, as the receptionist put it, “there was absolutely nothing she could […]

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How To Feel At Home in a Furnished Apartment

How to Feel at Home in a Furnished Apartment - just 7 easy steps! | thisplaceishomeblog.com

There are many reasons why you might find yourself renting a furnished apartment. Whether you are studying abroad for a semester or are moving temporarily for work, it doesn’t always make financial sense to ship furniture or appliances or boxes filled with cookware and dishes to your new abode. A great alternative is to rent an apartment that is already stocked with all of the furnishings and amenities it needs and that is, for whatever reason, being leased by the owner for a period of time. How convenient it is not having to pack towels and bed linens and silverware and wine glasses! Convenient, yes, but also a little […]

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The Essence of Thanksgiving

The Essence of Thanksgiving -- celebrating our first Thanksgiving abroad! | thisplaceishomeblog.com

Even before Chris and I moved to Paris, I knew that the hardest part about being abroad would be the holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas and the glorious season in between. I live for all of the traditions and nostalgia and family gatherings that define the season, and I knew that it would be difficult for me not to feel a part of it, to be so far from home. Sure enough, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, it took everything within me to resist dropping a couple hundred dollars on a plane ticket, to be honest, just so I didn’t miss out. […]

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Pucker Up: Navigating La Bise Française

La bise, or faire la bise, is what the French call the cheek kisses that accompany a friendly greeting or farewell. Where Americans would shake hands or hug, the French use la bise as a polite gesture, an acknowledgement of recognition, affection, and camaraderie. It is a vastly important component of French social etiquette, taught to children alongside “please” and “thank you” and “cover your mouth when you cough.” Different regions of France teach different iterations of la bise: most of the country, including Paris, uses 2 kisses (one on each cheek), while other regions use 3 and even 4! La bise is a fine art, to be sure. There’s […]

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Autumn Snapshots: Seeking Quiet in la Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

This week, Chris and I were in need of some quiet. Don’t get me wrong: urban living is great. To be able to step through our door and immediately become part of the hustle and bustle is exhilarating, the fulfillment of a 15 year old dream from the heart of this urbanite wannabe. But, everyone needs a break from the noise every once in a while, a break from the car horns and sirens, the click-clack of shoes on concrete, the constant chatter from bars and cafés. Sometimes, you need to hear bird song or wind in the trees… or just hear yourself think. Chris […]

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Saturday Night at the Paris Chaâbi

People milled around the lobby of the community center, chatting like old friends and copiously exchanging the Parisian bise – one kiss on each cheek. It was clear that most of the center’s clientele that night were regulars, people who had been looking forward to meeting each other yet again at the Paris Chaâbi. Chris and I, however, were not regulars. This was our first time at the Centre d’Animation Dunios, our first concert, our first opportunity since we had arrived in Paris to experience firsthand the Algerian popular music known as chaâbi. I could tell Chris was nervous. This was, after all, the reason why we had […]

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Reflections On Our New Home, Pt. 2

Everything is smaller here: smaller sink, smaller refrigerator, and yes, smaller washing machine. But, there’s something truly refreshing about the simplicity. You work with what you’ve got. You take advantage of every nook and cranny. Constrained to 320 SF, you physically cannot accumulate a ton of things. As someone who has recently made a significant move and who has put most of her belongings in storage, the accumulation of things has been on my mind a great deal. A few days before Chris and I left Tallahassee, I watched with horror as our dear friends helped us carry box after box […]

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