Blog of the month - June 2008
My name is Sarah, and a few of my nicknames include Poopsie, Honey, Auntie, Sare, Little One and Little Sarah. I was born and raised in Austin, Texas (Hook ‘Em!!) and I love that city with all of my heart. I’m sad it’s been growing so much while I’ve been away, but I’m always excited when I go back and see what’s new in the Live Music Capital of the World. I’ve been living in Paris, off and on since November 2007, but became a real resident last month. So, I’m still a newbie to the expat world!
I’m living in the Paris area of France with my husband. We’re still newlyweds and just last month we moved into an apartment together in Boulogne-Billancourt, which is a suburb of Paris. My husband is French and we met in Austin while he was completing an internship for his Master’s degree in 2006. I’m not sure how long we intend to stay in France, but for now it’s indefinite. We’ve contemplated an eventual move back to the States, but we’re happy to be settled and starting our married lives together in the lovely City of Lights.
Have you ever lived abroad before?
For some reason, I tend to do my travel in three-month increments. I took some time off between high school and college, and after meeting six amazing Brits on exchange in Austin, I decided to follow them back to England. I lived in Nottingham for about three months while commuting weekly to London for a short course. After returning to school, I continued my travels with a study abroad program in Rome, Italy for three months and fell in love with that country. I dream about being there every single day. I’ve also visited Scotland, Amsterdam and Belgium (love Brussels), and outside of Europe, I’ve spent some time in Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico.
What do you like the most about Boulogne Billancourt?
I love my ‘hood! It’s far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the major Paris attractions, but still close enough to enjoy all the benefits of living in this amazing city. The best thing about Paris is the food. I’m not really gourmet, but I’m definitely a gourmand and nothing tantalizes me more than walking by outdoor cafés in Paris. Grocery shopping is another task that I’m still getting accustomed to here; I love the selection of patés, cheese and fois gras, but always have a hard time locating even the most menial items, like sugar and salt.
Any culture shock?
I’m very much a chameleon and don’t find it too difficult to blend in with the locals. Unfortunately, living in Paris, that often means refraining from smiling and not being overly friendly to strangers, which is a bit of a challenge for a southern girl like me. I’m still learning to let myself be myself without looking like a freak.
Do you miss anything from your homeland?
I miss all the good stuff and none of the bad stuff. Good stuff: family, friends, food (Texas steak, Tex-Mex, mom’s home-cookin’, Fuddruckers, Mrs. Butterworth’s, Cajun food…), the convenience of living, Target, trashy TV, cheap everything, the lake, the ocean, the beer. Bad stuff: traffic, bad weather, crappy drivers, short vacations.
When did you start your blog?
I started my blog the first time I ever moved away from Austin indefinitely. My husband (then, boyfriend) was starting his second internship in California and I followed him there. Since my sister moved away from Texas, she’s always used a blog to keep us in the loop of her life, so I decided to do the same. The main purpose of my blog hasn’t changed since I started it. It’s a great medium for me to communicate with those I love while simultaneously archiving my daily experiences.
Did you make new friends with your blog?
I’ve come across so many interesting and informative blogs of ex-pats in Paris through the expat-blog site. I’ve met one fellow expat-blogger, Aimee at her tea-house in Paris a little while back, and as a new transplant, I’m looking forward to meeting more ex-pats in the area.
Your best souvenir?
Maybe it’s too obvious or too cheesy, but my favorite memory of being an expat has been getting married here. In France you have to get married by the mayor, which doesn’t sound too elegant, but I was blown away by how elegant it really was. What I expected to be a dull and cold event with a town mayor turned out to be a beautifully orchestrated celebration of our marriage. .
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