The Dream Life of Amy Thomas

I liked Amy Thomas the moment I met her. Not simply because she arrived to Paris from NY (though us New Yorker’s do tend to stick together). Perhaps we bonded due to our careers in advertising or passion for writing. No. Amy is a dreamer. A romantic. A thinker. Above all, a lover of all things sweet, as she has so appropriately coined herself Sweet Freak. In her blog God, I love Paris Amy shares her nearly two-year long love affair with Paris, where she has always dreamed to live. But some romances are not meant to last. I will allow Amy to explain, in the name of love.

Can one question change your life?

I’m willing to bet a 25-piece box of Jean-Paul Hevin bonbons on it.

In 2008, I was sitting in my office, living what I considered to be a pretty dreamy life. I was single, owned my own place in the East Village, and was braving New York’s dating world. I had a great group of friends, and I liked my job as an advertising copywriter. But I loved my moonlighting dalliances even more: exploring and writing about sweets. Life was good: easy, fun, comfortable. Then my ad agency’s in-house recruiter walked into my office and nonchalantly asked:

What do you think about Paris?

Let me just pause and say—I am obsessed with Paris. Almost as obsessed as I am with sweets. So when the recruiter revealed that the Paris office of my international agency was looking for an English-speaking writer to work on the Louis Vuitton account, my first question was how soon could I leave? Of course I wanted to go live in Paris and work with one of the best fashion houses in the world. What Louboutin loving, Coco worshipping, macaron addict wouldn’t?

The only thing holding me back from the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) was several months of bureaucracy. Five long months of waiting, the papers were finally in place (a little preview to the pace of life in Paris). I packed my laptop, clothes and black tabby cat, and then gulped, vigorously nodding my head as my doorman reminded me on the way out, “It’s like business and pleasure. You’re getting paid to do what you love.” Indeed, I was off to live my dream.

And a dream it’s been. Especially the first six months. Having arrived in early March, each new day was a little bit longer and brighter. Spring turned into summer—a beautiful and balmy season when the sun didn’t set until 10 p.m. I became an instant Velib addict, to say nothing of the sweets. I cruised from Les Petits Mitrons in the 18eme to Du Pain et des Idées in the 10eme. From Blé Sucré in the 12eme to Pain du Sucré in the 4eme. From Michel Chaudun to Michel Cluizel; from Ladurée to Pierre Hermé; Les Deux Abeilles, Stohrer, Le Patisserie de Reves… there was to be no viennoiserie, gateau or bonbon unsampled by me. After all, I told myself, biking from sweet spot to sweet spot, this was a great way to get to know my new hometown. Which was true. But as familiar as I became with each arrondissement’s best patisseries and chocolatiers, and their closest Velib stations, many of the city’s customs, codes of conduct and unspoken rules were still foreign to me.

And then the inevitable happened. After a prolonged honeymoon phase, I crashed. Hard. Summer had turned into fall, which turned into a long, dark winter. My beautiful city was suddenly cold and alienating. Not being able to communicate with the postmaster or dry cleaner was no longer a challenge that I approached as sort of fun and charming, but, rather, left me feeling totally defeated. Which just made me miss my friends, family and comfortable, easy life back in New York.

But I plodded on. With work (pulling longer hours than I ever did in New York). With French lessons (often swallowing cries of frustration when I couldn’t wrap my tongue around those R’s). With making friends (though this—gasp!—entailed befriending almost exclusively other expats as I couldn’t get a proper Parisian to give me the time of day). I willed myself to be tough. To stay strong. To smile, even if it made me look like an American dork. But mostly I lamented my lost love. I just wanted to feel moved by Paris the way I once had.

In hindsight, I know it was a perfectly natural cycle. Even the best affairs cool down at some point. After that initial head-over-heels infatuation, the ho-hum reality sets in and the daily grind is no longer sexy or romantic. Even in Paris. So after a season of sulking and consoling myself with a ridiculous amount of bonbons, I reset my expectations for a more “real” relationship with the city.

And now, the love affair continues. I cram my days with observing and writing, eating and drinking, Velib’ing and, toujours, ogling and sampling the sweets. And I have wonderful friends to share the meals, wine, stories and moments with. I’m a happy, lucky girl and I love every day that I’m here.

Because… all good things must come to a close. As mad as I am for Paris, I’m returning to my first love. New York is calling my name. It’s not been an easy decision, but I know it’s time to go home. And instead of looking at Paris or New York as an “either/or” option, I see it as “both”. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.

Paris will dearly miss Amy and her ‘joie de vivre‘, even the vélibs will feel the loss. Not to mention the pâtisseries! But her sweet life continues in New York. And lucky us to be able to read all about it in her upcoming book to be released in March 2012, a merging of God, I love Paris and Sweet Freak. Sounds like an ideal union to me!

The Dream Life of Cat Beurnier

Cat Beurnier has a sweet life in Paris, quite literally! She is the founder and owner of Sugar Daze, a leading American-style cake and cupcake business in Paris. Well known and savored by both expats and locals since it’s inception in 2008. When I met her and found out she was also an ex-ad girl from New York, with an equally entrepreneurial spirit, I took a liking to her immediately and began to inquire about the hardships of settling into life in Paris. Cat’s story not only inspired me but it filled me with hope that it does get easier and it is possible to create a new path, with great resolve, hard work and dedication to your dreams. 

My story begins with a coup de foudre which happened approximately 29 years ago when I first visited Paris with my mother and grandmother.  Though I had lived in New York City all my life (a city millions dream of running away to), the charm, the beauty, the history of Paris won me over almost the second our taxi turned off the Peripherique.  Paris was a place I would return to time and again — on vacation, for a summer study abroad, for my junior year in university… I never tired of it and each trip left me wanting more.  When I graduated from university, I spent a few months looking for work in various French corporations but my leads never panned out – unemployment was high and no one was willing to sponsor me, a recent grad with no real experience to get my work papers. I contemplated moving to France and working as an undeclared server at one of the many bars or restaurants that cater to the Anglo-Saxon crowd (something I had done the summer after my junior year). But in the end, I wasn’t brave enough to make the leap of faith and head down this unknown, unchartered course.

I found a job in a well-known ad agency in New York and fell into daily life as a young, single gal in the Big Apple.  I loved my dynamic, fast-paced job. I very slowly started to work my way up the corporate ladder. I even got to travel to Paris a few times to assist on some new business projects.  Fortunately, I had an endless supply of friends, and even some boyfriends, who happily agreed to accompany me on the frequent vacation to Paris so I could get my fix!

Fast-forward about 10 years, when I experienced love at first site for the second time in my life.  I was at a party with an ex-boyfriend (who yes, I had at some point dragged to Paris!) when I saw this tall, handsome stranger standing with a group of people at the side of the room.  I casually walked over, joined in their conversation and fell under the spell of his charm.  As the evening went on, I found myself alone with him chatting and sharing stories as if we had known each other for years.  At some point talk turned to how we knew the hostess and he told me she dated a friend of his before they both moved to New York.  Curious to hear more, I asked where he was from.  When he said Paris, my jaw dropped open.  I hadn’t detected a hint of an accent in his voice, and yet when I looked closer, I saw that yes indeed, his choice of clothing, his mannerisms, his features, etc. gave away his distinct un-American-ness.

Long story short, over the course of the next five years we dated, moved in together, and married.  The funny thing about my husband is that he was just as much a romantic about NYC as I was about Paris!  Moving to France was never a consideration for us; I was content with the once a year or so trips we made to visit his family.  And then our son was born and it was a total game changer.  Cramped into our one-bedroom apartment with our son in a crib at our feet, we started fantasizing about the type of apartment we could have in France, and what neighborhood we would live in.  On a whim, we listed our apartment in the Sunday NY Times and I don’t think either of us could really believe it when just a month later, we found ourselves signing it away.  Those last few months in NY were surreal — we were new parents and about to set off on a whole new adventure on the other side of the Atlantic!  My husband hadn’t lived in France for 10 years and I think he felt the culture shock coming back just as much as I did.

We arrived in Paris at the end of November seven years ago this month.  For those of you who know Paris, you’ll probably agree this is one of the worst times to have started our new life here.  Months of cold, damp and grey weather as a new mother unaccustomed to life outside the office left me feeling depressed and sullen.  My husband’s friends, who had always been so warm and welcoming when we visited, many of them new parents too, were too busy with their day-to-day lives to hold my hand as we settled in.  And to complicate matters, our fly by the seat of our pants “planning” meant living at my in-laws until we could find a place of our own.  Which actually didn’t take too long as I was totally motivated!  It took me a loooonnnngggg time to adjust to my new life in France, but little by little, I started making friends and got the hang of life as a stay-at-home mom.

France is a country where families are king.  And the benefits families receive to ensure their kids are looked after as they return to work are nothing short of amazing. Because I had never worked legitimately in France, many of those benefits were not available to me, and my husband encouraged me to return to work before we thought about expanding our family. I had become very involved in an English-speaking parents group called MESSAGE, and took on the role of VP, Public Relations but it was pro-bono work and so no benefits to speak of. As I started to think about a return to corporate life, I realized that the long hours, the stress, the travel – it just wasn’t worth trading my time with my son. I found myself at the age of 35 taking a long hard look at my life as I tried to figure out what I “wanted to be when I grew up.” I decided on a radical change and began investigating the possibility of my own business.

One of my childhood dreams was to be a pastry chef. In fact, my closest elementary school friend, Suzanne, and I used to “host” a cooking show called “Snacks Delight” where every weekend we would whip up a different dessert in front of our “live studio audience” (usually comprised of her little sister or our Barbie dolls). As an adult, I studied pastry at a culinary school during a period of unemployment and worked for several restaurants and a caterer in the US. It’s physically hard work but something I enjoy enormously. I’ve never considered myself overly creative but when I bake, I have the sense of accomplishing something made with my own hands. Our last apartment in New York was just around the corner from the famous Magnolia Bakery and since I love cupcakes, I was inspired to import this traditional American dessert to my new adopted “hometown.” But just as this idea was taking shape, I found out I was pregnant again. I had to put my project on the back burner and there it stayed until late 2008. I had kind of given up hope on ever having my own store as I was just so busy with 2 children and dealing with everyday family life, which in a foreign country can sometimes be complicated. But I always found time to bake on the weekends, for friends, etc. and one day I found myself agreeing to make cupcakes for a friend of a friend for a party she was having. And thus my company, Sugar Daze (formerly Little Miss Cupcake), was born.

Around that time, I read an article in an entrepreneur’s magazine that advised that if you have a dream, and you don’t have the money or the support or the time to realize it, you don’t have to scrap your dream entirely. Instead, take a step back and figure out how to make this dream a reality on a smaller scale. And that is exactly what I have done by creating a small, custom order cupcake business. Things just took off after that first order; I started a blog to document my baking adventures which got my name out there, and through the grapevine, people came to hear about me and my cupcakes. Baking and making cupcakes is one of my greatest passions and knowing how happy they make people is a reward in and of itself. But it isn’t always a cakewalk. Most mornings, I am up and at my kitchen by 5 to bake the day’s orders fresh from scratch. I am back home by 8 to get my kids up, dressed and out the door for school. My daughter is only 3 and spends her afternoons with me. And so after a full day of shuttling my kids around and taking care of household chores (and my husband!), I often find myself working late into the night once everyone has gone to sleep to catch up on paperwork or to hand-craft the decorations that top my cupcakes. I am the sole employee of Sugar Daze and so this means that my responsibilities include answering all inquiries, shopping for supplies, baking and decorating all the cupcakes, doing my own accounting, creating marketing materials, making deliveries, etc. (and most of this is done in a language that is not my mother tongue!). I feel like a lot of my days are some wild juggling act where at any minute the whole thing is going to come crashing down but I’m doing something I absolutely love and that makes the difference.

I believe that many times in life, your destiny is shaped by being in the right place at the right time. Some may say this happened on the night I met my husband, and looking back, I realize how fortunate I was to start up my business just as the cupcake craze took hold in Paris. It’s taken a lot of work to get where I am today and without a storefront, it’s sometimes hard to compete with the growing number of cupcake stores. But I believe in my products and am constantly experimenting and improving my offerings to ensure they are the best American-style cupcakes you’ll find in Paris! Life continues to be a challenge but I am living proof that you can have your cake and eat it too!

To indulge in Cat’s dream life of cupcakes, take a look at all the sweet possibilities on her menu. I recommend  La Vie en Rose or perhaps a Black Coffee in Bed? And let’s not forget the NYC classic Empire State of Mind. I could go on… Thank you Cat, for making life in Paris a little sweeter!

Update: In June 2012, Cat opened her Sugar Daze Bake Shop in the dynamic South Pigalle area of Paris.  Sugar Daze serves an array of cupcakes – sweet and savory – cheesecakes, brownies and other American baked goods with a rotating daily menu, available for eat-in or take-out.  Custom orders and cupcake classes are also available.  The Bake Shop is open Wednesday-Sunday (see www.sugardazecupcakes.com for more details).  20 rue Henry Monnier, 75009, 09.83.04.41.77

The Dream Life of Forest Collins

How exactly does one end up living ‘the dream life’ in Paris? By following your dreams, fearlessly. Forest Collins, fellow expat, drink connoisseur and creator of blog 52 Martinis, did just that. And little does anyone know (until now) just what an insightful and inspiring journey she took, with just the right amount of spare change, a little luck, a lot of strength, and always the will to dream.


photo credit: Melanie Vaz

Nearly ten years ago….it was a warm Parisian night and I was riding home on the Metro thinking to myself, “How did I get here?” Lost in my thoughts, I reached into my pocket and jangled my entire net worth of €1.57. Just at that moment, a busker strolled by and in a Pavlovian reaction held out his hat to the sound of my jingling coins. I didn’t look him directly in the eye, but shook my head lamely and muttered a barely audible “désolée”. I knew what he was thinking: I don’t look very sorry and I do look like I could spare a bit of change.  I wanted to tell him that, judging by the contents of his cap, he was financially better off than me and considered asking him for some job advice.  But, instead I silently pondered my situation. It’s then that I had a very important realization: In life, sometimes, you’ve got to eat some Top Ramen. Let’s face it.  No one wants to eat Top Ramen, the main sustenance of poor, struggling, American college students. They eat it so they can afford to pay for their education…or beer.  Either way, they believe it’s a payoff in the long run that’s worth the deprivation in the immediate moment.  They can try and dress it up with some fresh garlic or Tabasco, but, in the end, it’s still just limp watery noodles with a bit of MSG.  But, you know what? It’s not. It’s the sacrifices you make in the present to achieve something better in the future.

My first major “Top Ramen” experience was many years ago now. Having arrived in France, flush with cash and ready for Euro-adventure, the last thing on my mind was my finances.  But, as the date on my return ticket drew nearer, I played with the idea of staying beyond my originally planned six months. The only obstacle was my lack of funds.  Would I let that stop me? Since I was a little girl, I had dreamt of the challenges of living, working and learning the language in France. I decided I was ready to eat Top Ramen or do whatever else it took to reach this goal.  Being American, without specific marketable skills in France, not being fluent in the language and not having working papers ensured that this would be a challenge. I had to continually remind myself that my goal was not to climb a corporate ladder, but to stay in Europe.  With this in mind I began the search for work. I sat at the Internet café, plucking away at the keyboard, sending resume after resume for any job that seemed remotely feasible. For all of my persistence and eagerness I was having no luck and getting discouraged.  One evening, over drinks with friends, I was lamenting my desperate situation. Just then, someone leaned over towards our table.

“Excuse me”, he says. “Would you be interested in working in an Irish pub?” Several things went through my mind. First of all, I’m skilled and educated. I should be a secretary or the President. But, a bartender? Then again, I had always had a romantic notion of what it would be like. I’d have my regulars who would sit around the bar telling me about their day. I’d mix fancy drinks and deliver them to tables with witty repartees. But for all of my “skills” and cocktail experience, I realized I hadn’t a clue as to what it took to tend bar. So, of course, my response was “I’d be delighted!”

The following day, I went for my official interview with the gentleman from the bar and his business partner. In my broken French I managed to convey my enthusiasm and, apparently, impressed them enough to get the job.  They told me they’d help me get my papers, pay me a decent wage and set me up in an apartment.  The only thing I had to do was cover a shift in their restaurant for a couple of weeks while the bar was being finished.  Slightly daunted by the fact that I had never worked as a waitress, much less in a fancy French restaurant, I agreed. On my first day of work, I was initially thrilled with my good fortune – my Top Ramen days were over. It took all of twenty minutes to realize that I was completely unprepared for what was going to unfold over the next six days. I consider myself an intelligent person who learns new skills quickly, but the waitressing life was a mystery to me. It didn’t help that I understood nothing anyone said. On the second afternoon, someone was giving me instructions and the only two words I understood were “touch” and “plate”. So, of course I touched the plate. Immediately, I realized they must have said “Don’t touch the plate. It’s hot.” as I screamed and waved my scalded finger in the air. My inability to understand was demoralizing.  I would become ecstatic when I took a complete order correctly and return to the kitchen to place it only to have the cook respond with an excitement-quelling look that implied “any idiot can take an order.” Certainly, if they speak the language. It wasn’t just the language barrier, it was the work. I did ten to twelve hour days for six straight days. It was hot and hectic and stressful. The customers were unforgiving of my lack of linguistic skill.  After what I considered a relatively successful week of work, on the sixth day I was given an envelope with my wages. I was told that they had found another Anglophone to work in the bar that already had papers. So, instead of helping me get mine, they were letting me go. Feeling hopeless, I walked home and collapsed on the couch. While doing so I opened the envelope to count the money and found I had been paid the equivalent of $2 an hour for my hard work.

I surprised myself by finding the events more funny than infuriating and tried to take it as a life lesson. Fortunately, a few days later  I got a call from a U.N. agency in Geneva to which I had applied earlier and they wanted me to come for an interview. I danced around the room with renewed hope. Then I looked at my calendar. Coincidentally, the date of the interview was the exact date of my return flight home. My return flight home on a non-changeable, non-refundable, non-transferable ticket. If I went to the interview and didn’t get the job, I’d be stuck here with no money and no way to leave. But, if I didn’t go to the interview, I knew I’d regret it. It’s not hard to guess what I did. A week later I was on the train to Geneva, which was not far from the tiny French town of Annecy where I was staying. After the interview, on the train ride back, I fantasized about the possibility of actually living and working in Europe. Arriving at the station in Annecy, I dug around in my pockets for change for the bus ride home, but found them empty. I stopped by the cash machine and the inevitable finally happened. There was no more money in my account. I stood there absorbing the realization that I was now completely broke, in a foreign country with no guarantee of a job. I walked for an hour to get back to the tiny apartment I was renting. I sat in my room uncertain and scared. Not knowing what to do, I waited. A few days later, the phone finally rang. It was Geneva. I had the job.

Finally, the payoff! I spent the next year and a half working in Geneva. I was well paid and lived a very comfortable life. Instead of soggy noodles, I ate in fancy restaurants and spent nearly as much time traveling as working. But after sometime, the annoying little voice of adventure started nagging at me. It kept saying “This is pretty good.  This was sort of your goal.  After all, you’re in Europe.  But, didn’t you really want to be in Paris?”  Its counterpart, the boring little voice of realism, tried to explain that although Paris was my first choice, prior experience had taught me it would next to impossible to work in France. And, I wasn’t sure I was ready to give up the good life just yet. The little voice of adventure was too strong of an opponent to defeat.  At the end of my contract, I was in a rental car on my way to Paris.

Paris, France. I had finally arrived. But, there was a sense of déjà vu. Here I was again, flush with cash from my Geneva stint, ready for more European adventure. I enjoyed myself and got settled into the apartment, the neighborhood and the city. Once again, my money dwindled. Once again, I realized it was time to find work. Once again, I tried everything I could think of. Searching the classifieds, I applied to any job I thought I could do – and even some that I knew I couldn’t. I networked.  I searched notice boards and the Internet. After a few months of this, I had nothing to show for my efforts except an empty bank account. During this time, I was offered a few positions back in Geneva. It wasn’t easy to not give up on Paris and return to a comfortable, stable and well-paid life. But, here I was stubbornly staying put without even enough money to buy a cup of coffee. Fortunately, what I didn’t know at that time was that I was about to be offered a job in a translation office. Would it be more Top Ramen or just what I wanted? There would be no way to find out but to try.

I still remember that metro ride, which was so many years ago now. I think about all my friends that tell me how “lucky” I am to live in Europe and follow my dreams. But, I know it’s not luck. I’ve eaten a lot of Top Ramen to get to where I am today.

If you’d like to know what Forest is eating (and drinking) these days, follow her on twitter and be sure to check out her blog.

Thanks Forest, and cheers to you! Keep on living your dreams…

The Dream Life

Moving abroad and creating a home in a foreign land (or even a new city for that matter) is by all accounts an overwhelming experience. Finding a place for yourself, new friends, a job which often means a new career, all leading to what is called a life. In so doing, there is often much time to reflect. To think about what it is exactly that you want to do in this new life, what you want to create for yourself, and what is even possible. Not to mention, what will bring you fulfillment. Within the space of an odd and curious new world, you are forced to examine yourself more closely. 

In so doing, I find it enabling and empowering that we can recreate ourselves as who we believe we are, rather than who we have been labeled to be in our past lives. The possibilities are endless!

I won’t get into my personal history, how little I cared for cliques in high school, and never opted to be part of a fraternity in college, always seeking my own path, accepting not to fit in, whatever that means in American standards, white picket fence and all. And how happy I am for doing so.

I can very well say that I have pursued and continue to pursue my dreams. Certainly not without difficulty. A little language barrier can’t stop you, can it? Nor can all those voices of reason. Hence my decision to travel the world and move to Paris.

In the past, most often led by the adult, I achieved both success and fulfillment working in advertising (one of my long-time professional dreams) and will continue to do so, though Paris is a long way from Madison Avenue.

Sometimes in the pursuit of dreams, it’s important to ignore the adult and pay attention to the child. Who were you before you were told who you should be?

I discovered my child a few years ago, very fittingly, in the home of my youth, while hand-printing canvas and constructing a bag from it, creating what I call wearable art. The dietz bag was born and thus began my life as a designer, combining my love for art, design and fashion, led by inspiration from my mom. More on that later. (Incidentally, my other dream of writing comes from my dad.)

Along this journey I have met many fellow expats and non-expats living what they consider their dreams, having chosen to follow their hearts and/or instincts. In the next several months I will share their stories and hope to learn of others. Many of these people I am pleased to consider my friends.

This leads to my query. Are you pursuing your dreams? If so, do tell! If not, what are they? Take a moment to think. And if need be, pack up and start again. Figuratively if not literally.

the dreams of a seven year old

On a recent trip to Monterosso I felt like a movie star. Not because of my Jackie O sunglasses or the many tourists photos I am (accidentally) appearing in, but because of a little seven year old girl named Emma. It turns out that Emma, the beautiful product of  an ‘American girl on holiday meets local Italian boy’ love story that originated on the shores of the Ligurian Sea, is completely enamored with Paris. Why? Simply because it’s Paris. (On that note, who isn’t?) I understood her very well, and she could feel it. If I correctly recall, that’s about the age when my love affair with Paris first began. 

When I encountered this little Emma, already quite a cultured and curious, not to mention naturally bilingual girl, she was star-struck. I was met with a grin from ear to ear. After all, she was in the presence of a real live walking and talking girl, (quite a bit taller and older than she, minor details) who lives in the city of her dreams. In her young and impressionable mind I was a movie star. Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating just a little, but I felt flattered to indulge this little girls fantasy. 

We spoke about Paris with sparkles in our eyes, while I dreamt of youth and she dreamt of adulthood. Both of our fantasies grew more colorful and with the gap of a generation, we understood one another perfectly in the unspoken language of the dreamer.

Emma and her mother are planning a trip to Paris soon, where surely we will rendezvous. Emma in fact, already she has her outfit picked out. (I hope she’s keeping track of the Parisian trends, I don’t want her to experience a fashion faux pas!)

I left Emma with a knowing smile, and these few words, “Be mindful of what you wish for, it may very well come true.” She smiled back.

What did you wish for at seven years old?

how to dream in French

The days are growing longer. On rare occasion a hint of spring passes through the still frigid air. I remain warm within my expansive thoughts. I am in the midst of redefining myself in the context of a French life. Did I think it would be this difficult to leave behind the comforts and familiarities of a city which had become my home for over a decade? To bid farewell to my old self who knew so much and so many and made such an intimidating city feel so intimate? I recall so well the first few years of NYC, the growing pains involved in assembling the many pieces that create a life. And here in Paris, the puzzle appears much more difficult to piece together. Mostly due to the fact that the instructions are illegible. I remain perplexed as to how exactly things and people function here. The extreme formality and sense of order do not always appeal to me. Even the vagabonds seem well-mannered. Perhaps I am accustomed to a greater diversity that cannot be defined. A place where possibilities are endless and nothing is impossible. Once upon a time I was taught to dream. And now? As I attempt to redefine myself, an American girl raised with European sensibilities, I feel more American than I ever did in the USA, and even more so a dreamer. Simply, I must now learn to dream in French.

the dream

Love is by no means rational. Nor should it be. Hence my decision to move to Paris. I didn’t think much whether it made sense, given that I didn’t speak French nor did I have any career prospects or know more than 3 people. But what I did have was much greater an achievement than learning a foreign language, much more stimulating than a strange and exciting new culture and indeed more fulfilling than endless girls nights of carousing. I had found my great love, and lucky me, his home was Paris. Had I followed my heart given that his home were in a more remote part of the world, say Knin in Croatia? (He would then be a 6 foot 6 basketball player no doubt). Perhaps then I would have convinced him to move to NYC to play for the NBA, who knows. But that is not my story, nor is it meant to be. My dream has always been Paris. And yes, for the sake of sounding terribly corny, if you believe in your dreams they do come true.