Kasia: The Joys of Traveling to and Living in Paris
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Paris, etc.
I was born and raised in Poland, in my early teens I moved to America, then to Paris, living there from 1995 - 2006. I also lived in Tokyo for a while. I'm a professional expat.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
After I moved to America my friends constantly asked me to help them prepare for their trip, if they were going to Paris. They'd ask me to write up a list of all the cool things to do, and places to visit. So I just decided to put it into a blog format and just sent them a link - it was also an excuse for me to stay connected to what's happening in my city.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Hmmm. No. I like most of them in one way or another.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Paris differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Yeah, culture shock lasts about a year. I have been through it four times already. I actually think I am addicted to it by now. But life in Paris is very easy to fall in love with, once you've overcome that adaptation period.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Paris? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
No, I went on a whim. I was 18. I wouldn't change a thing though. It was thrilling, and I was discovering everything as I went, there was very little preparation. I probably wouldn't do it so spontaneously now, but back then it was the perfect way to go.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
There are so many, but I remember relying on miming a lot for the first year or so.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Paris?
Take it all in without judgment. Never be ethnocentric, and write everything down (or photograph everything). Memory deceives.
How is the expat community in Paris? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I went to the American University of Paris. It's an international school, so I met a lot of people from all over the world there. It wasn't hard at all. But a community like this can isolate you from the real French experience if you aren't careful. I was lucky to have a French boyfriend and experienced a glimpse into a very Parisian life through him and his family.
How would you summarize your expat life in Paris in a single, catchy sentence?
The best learning experience of my life!