Archive for April, 2011

In the Past Imperfect

For the second day in a row, I had a lovely writer double date. Yesterday I met up with Karin of An Alien Parisienne and Isabelle Solal at Buttes Chaumont, my favorite Paris park.

Topics of conversation were mainly about writing craft, though there was a fair bit of girly talk, too.

Isabelle recently took the plunge and put her debut novel directly onto Amazon’s Kindle Store. As I’ve been watching the current traditional vs self-publishing show-down with rapt attention, you better believe I’ll be following her journey. I’ll borrow any tips should I decide to go that route.

I’ve already learned from Isabelle that I don’t actually need a Kindle to read an ebook for Kindle. (Who knew?) You can download a copy to your computer.

I haven’t yet had a chance to read In the Past Imperfect, but if it’s as light and bright as Isa, it should be fun. It’s an updated take on Persuasion with a twist – and transported to France.

Continue reading ‘In the Past Imperfect’


Aux Deux Amis

Last night I met up with two of my favorite Paris bloggers – the awesome Amy Thomas of God, I Love Paris and the wonderful Erica of HiP Paris Blog.

Amy and I share the same feeling of being both blessed and cursed to have such strong affinities for New York and Paris. On the one hand, spoiled for riches to have intimate true love and knowledge of two incredible cities. On the other, heartache, because we’re forever torn between the two.

Amy moved back to New York in January and believes the decision the right one. She also said the adjustment has been difficult. From what I’ve heard, repatriation can be even more of a shock than first moving to a foreign country.

What did Thomas Wolfe say? You can’t go home again.

Well, you can, but you are different. Home feels different. Once an expat, the very notion of home becomes complicated. It’s no longer just a fixed location, but an evolving, fluid concept, one that changes how you interact with the world. It reaches right down to your very identity.

Continue reading ‘Aux Deux Amis’

Overall Mischief

In college I bought two pairs of overalls from a vintage store, one sky blue with the kid’s brand “Osh Kosh” written on the front, the other pair navy, and more of a nod to lumberjacks.

I’m not sure why I was so proud of these overalls, or why I insisted on wearing my hair in pigtails when I wore them. Was I making it clear that I was still a child at heart?

I’m more subdued in my rebellion now – though I haven’t quite come to terms with the whole adult thing yet.

I have never seen a French person sporting overalls. (I know! Where is their fashion sense?) So when I spied a whole group of them in blue overalls congregating near the Pompidou Centre, I knew something was up. Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around to see what, but I knew it was probably good.

Overall-clad French people plotting mischief

What do you think is happening or *going to happen* here? All theories welcome. (We can write a story together!)

“Paris, Paris” Giveaway Winners

Off Rue de Mouzaia

I’m pleased to announce the three winners of David Downie’s “Paris, Paris:”

Congratulations to Jerry of Connecticut, Linda of California, and Joy of North Carolina!

Thanks everyone for entering. I so wish you *all* could have won! (Note to self: try to get more free stuff for my readers. 🙂 )

To pick the winners, I wrote everyone’s name on slips of paper and literally drew from a hat. While there are online applications that make random selections, I liked going the old-fashioned route. It gave me a chance to think about how grateful I am for each and every one of you as I wrote names down.

If you’d like to connect in a new way, I finally bit the bullet and started a public Facebook page. Feel free to find me here.

My main focus remains this here blog, though. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your time with me.

Posted in Paris

Photo courtesy of Posted in Paris

Hi friends,

Just wanted to let you know that yesterday’s post about the bank was picked up by Posted in Paris. The site is a helpful resource for any of you needing practical information about moving to/living in Paris (and I know there are a few of you out there!) It covers everything from finding an apartment to setting up phone service.

I deal mainly in anecdotes here, so wanted to point out a place that can help answer more basic questions.

You might also want to check out Chez Loulou’s Moving to France tutorial.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. I’ll be drawing names for the “Paris, Paris” giveaway at the end of the day and announcing winners Monday!

Faux Pas Friday: Banking Bloopers

For the first year I was in France, I kept all my money in a sock.

This was well before the global economic crisis, so it was not a protest against untrustworthy banks.

BFF Socks

No, the clothing/cash method wasn’t my choice. It’s because no bank would let me open an account.

Now y’all must remember, I came to Paris on a bit of a whim with not much of a plan. I moved straight into someone else’s tiny studio so my name wasn’t on any official document that could have helped me at first: the lease or gas/electricity bills (proof of stable address), payslips or work contract (proof of income).

Even after my name was plastered on everything from the phone bill to EDF (electricity bill – the best proof of residence) and I had just gotten married, this still wasn’t enough. We went to J’s bank where he had been a client for 15 years and they refused my request.

This became one of those tricky catch-22’s so infamous in France. To get my first carte de sejour I needed a bank account. To open a bank account, I needed my carte de sejour.

Continue reading ‘Faux Pas Friday: Banking Bloopers’

April in Paris

Did you know, you’re not allowed to sit on the grass in certain Paris parks?

This small one behind my apartment is no Jardin du Luxembourg, but you’re not supposed to sit on certain sections here, either.

I have to admit, I often disregard the rule.

Make a wish

I have been told to climb down from the tiny hill where I took this picture. Never a good feeling to be scolded – especially in French! But I risk it just to have this little pocket of goodness to myself for awhile. (Also, don’t you just want to reach out and grab that dandelion puff to make a wish?)

What’s to say about April in Paris that hasn’t already been said?

Don’t know, but we’ve been having an awesome run here: sun! blue skies! warm temperatures!

In fact, out of the five I’ve experienced, this has to be the best April (weather-wise) I’ve seen. A spring this nice even makes the annoyances of living here less annoying. (Yes, I’ve had another run-in with La Poste! Arg!)

Today, the sky has returned to the more familiar cloudy mix. So I just wanted to give thanks now for the happy spring we’ve had recently. Counting my blessings (or more aptly, naming my blessings) is an important theme for me this year.

Continue reading ‘April in Paris’

First! Ever! Giveaway! David Downie’s “Paris, Paris”

See that book right over there to your left?

For the re-release this week of David Downie’s “Paris, Paris: A Journey into the City of Light,” Broadway Books has offered to give away copies to three lucky blog readers. Details on the giveaway at the end of the post!

Of course I wanted to know more about the writer behind this collection of essays. After a quarter century in Paris, veteran author and journalist David Downie has plenty to say about the City of Light…and a whole bunch of other things, too!

You describe yourself as an “accidental Parisian,” meaning that you didn’t necessarily set out to make Paris your home. After 25 years here, however, part of your identity must now be wrapped up in Paris, even though you’re American. Can you elaborate on this feeling of being an “accidental Parisian”? What has kept you in Paris for so long? (Will you stay?)

Before moving to Paris my world was centered on the San Francisco Bay Area and Italy—Rome, Milan and Padua. My mother is Italian, I spent a few crucial years as a child in Rome, my second language – actually my mother tongue – is Italian… I fell in love with Italy as a boy and with France as an adult.

In the early 1980s I moved back to Italy after finishing graduate work in Italian literature at Brown University. After a couple of years and a roller-coaster marriage to an Italian artist I needed a change of scenery. So I headed to Paris to stay with friends. That was in Oct 1985. I had such a wonderful time – it was maybe the fourth or fifth time I’d been to Paris – that I decided, what the hell, I’ll move here and rent a maid’s room and write the Great American Novel – about Italy! I did. Luckily it wasn’t published.

Continue reading ‘First! Ever! Giveaway! David Downie’s “Paris, Paris”’

Franglish: Language Exchange in Paris


The language I speak most fluently. A mixing of francais and anglais into some bizarre hybrid beloved by anglophone expats (see previous post).

There’s a new game in town, though, and they call themselves Franglish.

While I’ve been wedded to the name franglais for awhile, I have to admit that “franglish” is actually a more equitable term (Francais + English = both languages represented in the word).

Franglish is also a new language exchange event taking place in bars across Paris each week. Brainchild of Nicolas Saurel and Steven Annonziata, two childhood friends from France who studied in the UK, Franglish offers the opportunity to practice both languages in a laid-back environment.

The idea, of course, is not to mix the two in the same sentence, as I often do. The set up is one-on-one conversation on even terrain: 7 minutes in French. 7 minutes in English. Switch partners and repeat.

Curious as to whether this was a straightforward language exchange or some form of bilingual speed dating, I made my way to L’Autre Cafe in the 11th where Franglish holds its Sunday events. I steeled myself for awkwardness as it seemed a distinct possibility: Talking to strangers? Shifting languages? Time limit? (Ack!)

Continue reading ‘Franglish: Language Exchange in Paris’

paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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