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 |

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 […]

Continue Reading

Go and Sin No More: My Favorite Painting at the Louvre (so far)

My Favorite Painting at the Louvre (so far) |

The best part about getting a membership to the Musée du Louvre is that I can visit the famous museum as often as I please. I don’t have to feel rushed, like I need to ingest all of that culture in one, greedy bite. I can spend an afternoon browsing the Egyptian artifacts and another meandering through the Roman sculptures. I can revisit my favorite Greek pottery or Moroccan tiles. And, I don’t have to feel guilty for spending a half an hour admiring a single Italian painting either. It’s fate that I even found the painting at all, hidden as it is in a corner behind the […]

Continue Reading

The Essence of Thanksgiving

The Essence of Thanksgiving -- celebrating our first Thanksgiving abroad! |

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. […]

Continue Reading

Roundabout Horror at the Arc de Triomphe

Roundabout Horror at the Arc de Triomphe |

Every few weeks since we arrived in Paris, I make a point to visit the Arc de Triomphe. This might seem like a silly ritual because, you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a thousand times. Maybe so. Maybe it’s touristy and over-crowded. Maybe they charge an arm and a leg to climb the 284 steps to the overlook at the top. Maybe. But, is it worth it to me? Absolutely. Now, I like a spectacular view just as much as the next person. I too get googly-eyed over the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Cœur basilica and the giant Ferris Wheel at the […]

Continue Reading

Autumn Snapshots: The Paris Catacombs

This past weekend, in an attempt to celebrate Halloween in some capacity, Chris and I decided to pay a visit to the Catacombs of Paris. We really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, except that we’d get to see a few bones, maybe learn some historical tidbits, and, above all, we’d get a healthy dose of some pre-Halloween spookiness. While all of these expectations were met during our tour, I never anticipated finding it as entertaining and informative as we did. There is a vast expanse of history (nearly 2000 years!) buried in the dark tunnels below The City of Light, and […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Laundry Day

In preparation for our 7 months abroad, Chris and I packed a lot of clothes. We were moving into a furnished apartment and, therefore, didn’t need to bring much else. With this in mind, we took advantage of every ounce, every nook and cranny of space in our suitcases to ensure that we’d have what we needed to span 3 seasons. We stuffed. We rolled. We layered. We were the epitome of packing excellence. But, no matter how well you pack, at some point, your supply of clean undergarments begins to dwindle. At some point, you have to re-learn how to do the […]

Continue Reading

Reflections On Our New Home, Pt. 1

  Our apartment overlooks a quiet, secluded courtyard, separated from the street by another set of apartments served by the same large, green door. It is so quiet that, once through the door, it’s nearly impossible to tell that you’re still in the heart of a bustling city. Courtyards are commonplace among Paris apartments – isolated sanctuaries that, often times, are only ever seen by those living behind the outer door. The courtyard at 60 rue de Dunkerque is simple, lined with gray cobblestone and home to a picnic table and an albeit sizeable tree. It’s simple, but I like […]

Continue Reading