Paris: year one

by Kasia on August 20, 2010

One year ago I left everything and everyone that had composed my life for nearly 12 years, and moved from NYC to Paris. I remember the moments leading to this day so well. The great anticipation mixed with nostalgia. The fear outweighed by excitement. I never once doubted or questioned my decision, and one year later I feel even more confident having followed my heart. 

The journey has been an insightful and often difficult one. As anyone living an expat life well knows, in Paris or anywhere. (I will refrain from getting into details, but oh the stories I could tell…) 

Here are my top 10 ‘rules to live by’, based on what I have learned thus far. In no particular order.

1. let go of expectations (or prepare to be disappointed)

2. learn humility (perhaps the most important lesson of all)

3. follow your instincts (trust yourself completely)

4. laugh at yourself whenever possible (otherwise you might cry)

5. learn the language to know the people and culture (still working on that…)

6. indulge guilt-free in the pleasure of local food and drink (without over-indulging)

7. take time to discover yourself (outside the context of work)

8. don’t be driven solely by the ego (period.)

9. appreciate the simple pleasures (never take them for granted)

10. follow your dreams (and believe in them)

{ 4 trackbacks }

Saturday Six #35 | Misadventures with Andi
August 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm
HiP Paris Blog » “Le Flirting” in France: The Art of Seduction
September 19, 2011 at 9:35 am
year three
August 20, 2012 at 9:38 am
Saturday Six #35 - Misadventures with Andi
April 1, 2013 at 1:01 am

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Paris Paul August 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Beautiful list! My personal rule for traveling has always been: Don’t look for the similarities, search out the differences. Thank you for the insights!


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Thanks Paul! So true that you enjoy a new culture much more when you accept and seek out the differences (versus looking for what is familiar and comfortable).


Isolde August 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm

After talking about it for years (or forever, it seems) I am moving to Paris in September. Theoretically for one year but something tells me it will be for longer. Your #1 rule (Let go of expectations) will be a tough one… #6, #9 and #10 will be fun!


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Very exciting!! It’s quite an experience, and well worth the many struggles. Keep me posted on how it’s going for you and let me know if I can be of any help. Most of all, enjoy the process.


Sion @ paris (im)perfect August 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

A great list, Kasia! I agree completely. I’m wrapping up year 4 and hitting my stride. Hope your journey here continues to be insightful and full of joy.


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Thanks Sion! I had no idea you have been in Paris 4 years already!! I’m sure you have many more insights to share, looking forward to a proper Paris expat chat soon!


Erica August 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for these insights. They are all so true. I’ve been in Paris quite a while, but they still totally apply. I must say that it is SO important to learn the language. It really helps you integrate into the culture so, bravo for doing just that. I know how hard it is. It’s so worth it.


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Ah, the French language. Still struggling with that. You are right that the key to truly being immersed in the culture is being able to communicate with the people, read the newspapers…. S L O W L Y I’m getting there!


Andi August 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Bravo! It took me a long time to learn some of these, some I never learned! Congrats on making it a year with some sanity. I did three years and have now been back for four and am ready to go back and do it all over again (which at the moment is just a fantasy).


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Some you need to keep learning again and again…a reprogramming of sorts. I do have a little sanity left and think the hardest part is over (TBD!) Kudos to you for having gone through the process and being so much culturally richer for it.


Cynthia August 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I think a lot of expats struggle to adapt and adjust but are rarely introspective about it. Great post. Happy one year in Paris!


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Thanks Cynthia! It’s been great sharing this expat experience with you. Introspection loves company!


Transcendental Neon Blob August 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Bonjour. Wonderful set of rules you have there.


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Merci! Took me a while to figure some of them out.


Ana August 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Happy one year in Paris! I need to remind myself of these tips ;)


Kasia August 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Happy one year to you too Ana! Let’s keep reminding each other…


CopyStrands August 23, 2010 at 7:24 pm

So nice to know about your blog! It’s nice to meet other Parisian lovers. Thanks for your sweet comment and congrats on your first year in Paris!


Kasia August 25, 2010 at 6:13 am

Nice to ‘meet’ you too!


Jamie August 29, 2010 at 5:41 am

25 years ago I packed two suitcases, a few hundred dollars and left everything – job, family, apartment and belongings – behind and moved to Paris. It was scary and precarious and it took me two years to finally find my place and settle down and I’ve never regretted the decision. Several years later my French husband and I picked up and moved to Italy, albeit with a job, but it was also just as scary and just as exciting. Life is an adventure if you let it happen. I also follow the rules you have listed, evry single one, and how much more fun life is when you are open to adventure and to others, when you can indulge and enjoy all around you while being able to laugh at yourself, your mistakes, your foibles and just open yourself up to discovery. Lovely!


Kasia September 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I love to hear others stories of courage and faith, those who take the ‘path not often followed’. Bravo! Thank you for sharing your story, Jamie. Keep on living the adventure…and cooking!


Justine April 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Bonjour Madame Kasia! I read your love story and thought it was so romantic and beautiful. I’m 16 and I absolutely adore your achievements and your perspective on life. I hope to travel the world one day and find the perfect prince as well… I love France too, so basically your love story is what I dream about. Best of luck for you and your Italian Prince!


Kasia April 15, 2011 at 6:57 am

Salut Justine! Nice to hear from a fellow francophile, traveler and romantic! May you never stop to dream and follow your heart wherever it may lead you. (Maybe even to Paris!)

All the best – Kasia


saumya June 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm

this is amazing.
you should write a book.. :)
i love : laugh at yourself whenever possible (otherwise you might cry)
it’s sooo true..
i live an expat life as well.
really less stuff for a fifteen year old to explore actually here.. :( hehe
but it’s real good to know about your life experiences..
i wouldn’t really call myself a romantic but i love your blog. i am a HUGEE fan of paris.. i so wanna visit it but just no time :(
anyways hope you have a lovely life ahead… :)
middle east


Minaliriel September 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm

U are sooooo right!!! I am since July in Paris and one month after arriving I felt in love with an Phrasseur par excellence! Now I am bit heart-sick but that is okay – I read somewhere this belongs to be in Paris some times xD But when I felt over your blog (linked by another) some days ago and as a first entry I read this one and it is so true !!!!!!!!! I can’t say more than agreeing! No I don’t have any expectations on french men, play also the game, find about myself as much as possible and my place here in this wonderful city!


Kasia September 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Welcome to Paris! Sorry about your heartache but keep smiling. Many adventures await, particularly when you least expect. With or without men involved! Enjoy this time getting to know yourself and Paris. Keep in touch!


Minaliriel October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Yeah I hope so that a lot of adventures are waiting for me here in the City of Lights! ;)

It’s great to be here … some differences between the Austrian “Northern” – Beer drining part of Europe and the French “Southern” – Vine drinking part of Europe I have been recognized in the month still I am here. So strange – these countries are so close but so far away in truth!

Unfortunately I have these days so less time to spend time to read your blog from the beginning ;) I hope I’ll find some – but this city never sleeps!


Natalia April 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Great list!
I would also add: Don’t think too much and overthink everything (It can be dangerous ) as I discovered lately :)


Kasia April 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Thanks! Great addition.


Kasia August 25, 2010 at 6:14 am

Thanks. What sort of content are you looking for? Much more to come…


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