Monday, October 21, 2013

A Simple October Weekend

This past weekend I was invited to spend a quiet and relaxing 2-days in the countryside of France.  La campagne, as the French call it, is always a nice change of scenery from the typical hustle and bustle of Paris, especially during this time of year when the air is crisp, and the changing fall colors are more visible to the eye. 

I enjoyed feeling like a local while doing some of the simpler things in life such as shopping at the farmers market, gathering walnuts from under the walnut tree and enjoying large cups of coffee next to the river.  My laid back mornings were then followed by long lunches and dinners in the evening with excellent French cuisine.  

As you can imagine, October days, don't get any better than this. 

Location: Poitiers

Friday, October 18, 2013

Moving to Paris: My Story

So, why Paris?

This is probably the most frequently asked question that I get from French people and curious individuals back home.  It's pretty easy to answer, but I find myself forgetting half the time and  just responding with something short like "J'adore Paris et voila!", which is very true, but I'm probably the ten-millionth American to say that same exact thing.  So after 2-years of the same vague answer, I'm ready to tell you the real reason why I decided to make Paris home. 


It all started on my first trip to Europe in 2007 when I had the opportunity to visit Paris over the Christmas Holiday.  

During this time, so many of my college classmates were doing study abroad programs, but I never took advantage of them, so when a friend of mine proposed a vacation in Europe I didn't want to pass up the chance to go.  It was my first holiday away from home, but I was super excited.  I was a bit nervous and didn't really know what to expect, but I anticipated a lot of time at the Eiffel tower, a visit to the Louvre, a tour inside the Notre Dame Cathedral and of course endless amounts of amazing pastries. However, I was in for a surprise. Paris was much more than that… in my eyes, I saw a very modern city, with beautiful old architecture all mixed into a sophisticated atmosphere with fascinating people everywhere!  Everywhere I turned, something beautiful caught my eye and I found myself wanting exposure to so much more than the little I had witnessed.  I told my friend, once we left that I could see myself living there one day and of course she didn't believe me, but who knows that was probably all the motivation I needed to get the ball rolling. 


Pretty much after returning from my trip I was so inspired to shape my life around living abroad in Paris.  I wanted to live like a true Parisian, even if that meant waiting until I finished college 4-years later.  


Yes.  I like to think of myself as free-spirited and open to facing the unknown, so once I had made up in my mind that I was going that was pretty much it.   Of course, there were some bumps along the way that made me second guess my choice, but with all of the positive encouragement I received from friends and family, it helped reassure me that I was headed down the right path.  


The biggest challenge for me was the language barrier.  I didn't speak a lick of French or know a soul in France, so as you can imagine that made the entire process 100 times harder.   I also had significant difficulty with finding accurate and up to date information (in English) on the internet about required documents for visas, apartments, schools, etc. which became very annoying and discouraging at times.  I was a bit naive and expected instructions to be readily found, but it was probably the furthest thing from that. However, with both of these challenges, I found that reading blogs about other expats who have gone through similar experiences, whether they be in France or anywhere else in the world, very encouraging.  It brought me back to the reality of anything is possible if you really want it. 


My adventure began in October 2011.


To be honest, it wasn't all champagne and roses.  I had good days mainly, but at times I was so frustrated with the language.   Basic essentials that I needed like a French bank card and a cell phone were extremely nerve-wrecking and difficult to obtain.  I couldn't openly communicate with people how I wanted.  If I had a question, I had memorize the phrase in French and cross my fingers that they understood my accent.  And please don't let them ask me a question, because it was basically downhill from there.  But, I am forever grateful for the help that I did receive along the way.  It was literally a lifesaver for me. 


During my first trip back to states after living in Paris for 9 months,  I received a ton of questions from friends and family who wanted to know what's new in my life, and I ended up giving the same update about 30 times. So when I arrived back in Paris I decided to start a blog.   I was motivated to share parts of my life and information with others, and also inspire someone else to follow their dreams. I feel very lucky and excited to share my story with you all. 

 Has anybody else ever made a life changing decision to pack up and move to another country? If so, I would love to hear from you.

Please check back soon as I will be covering Part 2 - Moving to Paris - Let's Get Started, with information and helpful tips on how you can start your move.  

A bientôt!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet Tooth

Sometimes you just have to stop into your local patisserie and grab a couple of these. Blame it on the sweet tooth!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Taking a Walk Down Memory Lane

When I started Pardon my Exposure back in January of this year I definitely wasn't a newbie to Paris.  In fact, I’m an American who has been living here since October 2011.  Before now I never really took the time to explain why I moved here and how I did it.  I just skipped to the part where I post photos and talk about my sometimes awkward interactions.  These moments are great and have truly defined my experience here, but since I've just passed my two-year mark, I'm very eager to share with you how it all started on my first trip to Europe in 2007.  

I wish I could say that my move was all a piece of cake, but then I would be lying to you.  So for the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing with you a series of topics about why I chose Paris and some guidance on ways you can start your move here.  If you have ever wondered about ways to obtain a visa, jobs, language schools or tips for finding an apartment then please stay tuned.

Also, please feel free to comment below or send me an email if you have a topic that you would like me to cover.

Talk soon!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Apologies for my FIVE MONTH blogging hiatus… I have felt so guilty for leaving my readers hanging but sometimes life just takes the front seat and blogging gets put on the back burner.   These past five months have been a whirlwind of cross country road trips in the US, French weddings, special birthday celebrations, moving and lots of visitors in between.  

It’s kind of hard to get back into blogging once you've been gone for awhile… it almost feels like an awkward interaction between two long lost friends.  So much time has passed and I don’t even know how to start again.  Do I forget about the huge empty gap and just pick up where I left off?  Or do I start from scratch (something I am very guilty of doing when it comes to blogging)?  However I look at it, it’s going to take some time to get back into the swing of things. 

With all that being said, I have so much to share with you and new ideas that I think it’s time to get back in the game… you can only stay away for so long.  I would love to see Pardon my Exposure be more interactive, so if you have any ideas, questions or travel stories to share please do.  I would love to hear from you and its great motivation to keep the posts coming.  A+