July 2, 2008

One Year in Paris!

Today is the one-year anniversary of our move to Paris! We celebrated that tiring, stressful move across the ocean by undertaking a tiring, stressful move across the city to a new apartment. We’ve got some recuperating ahead of us, but other than that, we’re still very happy to be here, and looking forward to the next phase of our stay. All in all, it’s been a great year.

Although we’ve neglected this blog in recent months, I wanted to provide some updates on a few aspects of our lives that may be of general interest:

  • Our apartment: When we first moved to Paris, we signed a one-year lease on an apartment, figuring that we’d take some time to get to know the city and decide where we’d like to live longer-term. Because of the unfavorable (to us) changes in the dollar-to-euro exchange rate, our rent effectively increased by about $300 per month over the last year, which was rough on our budget. So we found an apartment that’s much less expensive—also much smaller, and without a view, but such is life. Some friends of ours are living there now, and they’re moving to Canada, so we’re going to move in as soon as they move out, which makes things more convenient for all of us (and their landlord). Unfortunately, the new place isn’t available until around August 1 and our old apartment was being sold, so we had to find a temporary place just for the month of July. Two moves in one month! Yay! But our new home will be more conveniently located, and quieter; that should help to make up for the four flights of stairs we’ll get to climb.

  • Our cartes de séjour: It’s already time for us to renew our long-term residence cards, and I can’t tell you how enthused we are about the process. (Insert your favorite expression for “much less than not at all.”) Last year, applying for the cards was a source of great anxiety, and although renewing them should be simpler (you can even do it by courier now, rather than making an appointment to present your dossier in person at the préfecture), we’re working our way through some complications that have made the process less straightforward than we hoped. Wish us luck!

  • Our French: The number-one question people ask us is how well we speak French, especially now that we’ve (presumably) had plenty of opportunities to practice it. The honest answer is “not a whole lot better than we did a year ago.” Well, OK, some better, but not well. We’d planned on taking classes as soon as we moved here, but for lack of both time and money, that didn’t happen. And since we both work at home, we aren’t forced to interact with French-speaking people all day, every day. But we are now optimistic that we’ll have sufficient monetary and temporal resources to apply ourselves in earnest to language learning beginning in September. We’ve had several recommendations for the Alliance Française, so we’ll be looking into that as well as reviewing the other 12,473 French schools, tutors, discussion groups, and other language learning options the city has to offer.

  • The state of our blogs: Believe me, no one could be less happy than I am about the near-total lack of new content on not only this blog but all our other sites (especially Interesting Thing of the Day) this year. I agonize over it constantly, not that I’ve had much actual time for agonizing. For pretty much the entire year so far, I’ve had one major writing deadline right after another, and since the books and articles I write about Mac stuff are what keep a roof over our heads, I haven’t had the luxury to turn down any assignments that would free up enough time to work on my own sites. (And Morgen has had her own series of time constraints.) However, that same light at the end of the tunnel that makes me believe we can pull off French classes in a couple of months gives me hope that we’ll soon be able to pay significant attention to our blogs.

So that’s the quick update. Thanks for all the notes and comments—we really appreciate knowing that people are thinking about us!

8 Responses to “One Year in Paris!”

  1. Alisa said:

    just found your site….not sure how, but we are moving to France in September for a 1 year sabbatical and will be bringing our 2 dogs. Congratulations on a year, I’m sure it went fast. Looking forward to hearing about year 2.

  2. Joe Kissell said:

    Alisa: Best of luck with the move! I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time here.

  3. Alastair said:

    Congratulations on your anniversary. If you’re anything like me it’ll feel, at the same time, that you’ve been there for ever, and that you’ve only been there 5 minutes.

    Well worth trying to find the time to improve your French, I’d have thought, but I understand that you have bills to pay. That said, I’m also looking forward to seeing lots of new stuff in your blogs – perhaps you could write an entry on finding a decent (and decently priced) French class!

    Once again, congratulations to all three of you.

    Alastair, Amsterdam

  4. Tom Zähner said:

    Hi Joe & Morgen Congratulations! Hope you still like your stay here in Europe and hope you two are fine. Would love to see you again 🙂


  5. Steve Attack said:

    Love your blogs Joe. Fortunate are the ones who can earn a decent living off the pursuits they enjoy. The rest of us must go to work. Hope life settles into a groove that allows you the time to pursue those interests you love the most.

  6. Dan Bensky said:

    Hope that all your moves have gone well. Allez!

  7. Joe Kissell said:

    Steve, Dan: Thanks for your comments. We’re now moved into our new apartment and, apart from being busy, doing well!

  8. Gwen said:

    Hey! We miss you guys a lot. We’re trying to figure out how we can move to Europe. David’s looking at art residencies and I’m comparing ESL training courses. I’m also applying to a graduate program so that might cause us to stay in Chicago for another 2 years. We like it, but we’re already feeling the itch to move.

    Hope you are feeling more comfortable in your new apartment.