Tuesday, July 17, 2012


It's been a full 365 days since we arrived in Paris.  One year. 52 weeks. 12 months.  We came here knowing absolutely nobody, I knew minimal French, and with an adorable non-mobile 6 month old.  One year later, we have friends, and I can get around town with my workable French, and our ever-moving highly-opinionated toddler keeps us on our toes.

The other day Mr. Oil and I were trying to reflect on our first year - what we've learned, what we like most about Paris, what has surprised us.  Here's what we came up with:

1.  The Bread.  We love the bread.  We love it warm and fresh from the oven, we love the tradi, or the occasional sesame baguette.  We really enjoy a nice fig baguette for toast in the morning.  There are 8 boulangeries within four blocks of our apartment.  The bread here is fantastic.

2. Parc Monceau.  We live one block from one of the most beautiful parks ever.  I go there at least once a day, sometimes more, and it never ceases to amaze me. 

3. The Endless Supply of Good Desserts.  Self-explanatory, non?

4. It takes a long time to make friends.  We already knew this, but it's different when you're living it.  I've been particularly fortunate to find one of those people-you-know-you-will-be-friends-with-for-a-long-time-and-they-always-have-a-glass-of-wine-ready-for you, and I know it has made a huge difference for me this year.

5. SOS Medecins.  They send a doctor to your HOUSE.  In less than an hour.  And it's covered by insurance.  It is AMAZING.

6. Mr. Oil's commute.  Every day, his metro train rises above ground to cross over the Seine, with a picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.  It's a pretty great commute.
This is the view on his metro ride. Seriously.
 7. You can get tired of traveling.  But the urge to keep exploring new places when you have all of Europe at your fingertips is hard to resist.  In this first year, we visited Alsace, Normandy, Champagne, Burgundy, Lyon, Loire Valley, Provence, Portugal, Italy, and Denmark.  That's a pretty intense travel schedule, so year 2 will probably be lighter on that front.

8. Parisian apartment doors are expensive.  You may recall that one year ago today, a group of eager firemen broke down our front door when we locked ourselves out (with baby inside).  Full story here.  Then we had to buy a new door.

9.  The Bread.  It is really good.

10.  There is always more to explore in Paris.  We still have whole arrondissements, and neighborhoods, and museums, and patisseries on our list.  And while we might be taking a break from the exploring at the moment to ensure adequate playground time and appropriate napping, there is always something to do here. 

11.  The blog.  The blog is an integral part of our experience here. It is, of course, our record of what we've done, where we've gone, what I've thought, and how I've felt throughout the year.  I have it on good authority that if you printed out everything I wrote this past year, it would fill one large binder to capacity (hat tip to Gramps, who has actually done this!).  I write the blog, and some of what I write is just about my own experiences, but Mr. Oil has been the blog's number one fan, always encouraging me to write more. So we both love the blog, and we both can say that we are surprised at just how important it has become to us.  

12.  The cheese.  And the wine.  And have I mentioned the bread?  And a really great fresh croissant.  And champagne.  And chocolate.  Really good chocolate.  Also butter.  Especially the kind with salt crystals.  Salty butter + warm baguette = heaven.

13.  We actually moved to France, 3 months after buying our first home, and 6 months after giving birth to our son.  It seemed like a crazy thing to do, but we just did it.  And while it is comforting to know that we will be returning to the US (no, family, we don't know exactly when), it has been liberating and empowering to show up here and make a real life for ourselves.

Year one - check.  Currently working on Year 2 Resolutions.  Suggestions welcome!


  1. Revision to #12: And caramel!

    Year 2 reso: eat more foie!

  2. As for #11, I'll second Mr. Oil and urge you to continue writing frequently. Love hearing of your adventures, and of the mundane, and everything in between.

  3. Found your blog through a mutual friend (Brianne in DC); I've just spent the past hour reading through your entries! You're a great writer and seem to really be making the most out of your experience. I'm actually in Pornic, right now, which is close to Nantes. I am back in France for the first time in 11 years, and I have missed this country and language so much. It has its frustrations and quirks, like any other place, but boy have I missed it. Enjoy Paris and good luck to you and your family!

    Meghan M.

    P.s.--I lived in North Bend/Coos Bay for 4 years.......Oregon is another place/culture that I miss dearly. Made me smile to see you are from Portland...love that city!

  4. "B' Nana"July 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    All of your family and friends are big fans of your sense of humor and unique perspective.Being able to read about your adventures helps us not miss you all so much!!
    Keep up the great work. We are all so proud of you and wish you all another great year of discovery and happiness. Only one suggestion...MORE BABY OIL PICTURES !!!

  5. I've also loved your blog for the past year! You have a wonderful way of sharing your experiences and insights that make them both personal and universal. I've wanted to comment several times when your experiences with baby oil remind me mine with my son, but I'm always distracted by something adorable (or not) that my children are doing. Also, your posts about Paris have made me appreciate my city even more and get me out there exploring. Thank you for that. I hoping to see you in November! Much Love! Brette

  6. Happy anniversary! I've loved reading about your ex pat adventures for the past year. Makes my longing to move to Paris stronger every time I visit your posts!