Expat Interview With Lindsey - Philadelphian Expat In Paris

Published: 24 Oct at 1 PM
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Filed: Interviews,France
Lindsey Tramuta is the author and photographer of the award-winning blog Lost In Cheeseland (see listing here) where she covers life as an expat through food and travel stories, personal anecdotes and interviews with inspiring Francophiles. A Philadelphia native, she studied in France at both an undergraduate and graduate love, fell in love with a Frenchman and never left. A die-hard 'right banker', she has lived in the 11th arrondissement with her husband for the last six years. Aside from blogging and work in social media, she writes for a number of other publications, including The New York Time T Magazine, and is passionate about photography.

Lost in Cheeseland

Here's the interview with Lindsey...

Where are you originally from?

In which country and city are you living now?
Paris, France

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
6 years, going on forever

Why did you move and what do you do?
I moved for school then stayed for love. I am a freelance writer, blogger and social media manager for a digital marketing agency based in Paris.

Did you bring family with you?
No, I created my own!

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Difficult initially, as can be expected, but once I became active on social media (2009), my network grew and I found my place.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
No, especially not making French friends! My social network consisted of my husband's friends and my friends from home with whom I maintained contact via Facebook and email. Once I started grad school in Paris, the network grew and included anglophones and expats from all over the world, many of whom I'm still close with today. But I can honestly say that my circle of friends didn't really take form until I started blogging and engaging on social media in a real way - attending events, putting myself out there and connecting with other creatives.

Lost in CheeselandWhat are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
My neighborhood (Oberkampf/Parmentier) is full of bars, quality restaurants and independent shops so everything I need is within a 1/2 mile radius. I also live right on the border of the 10th arrondissement so the Canal St. Martin, one of my favorite spots to go out, picnic and explore, is only a short walk away.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
The food, quality of life, people, creative spirit, chaotic beauty.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
Paris is among the most expensive cities in the world so cost of living is high for everyone. You settle for much smaller living spaces because the quality of life is so good.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
The French are resistant to change so progress moves at a snails pace and that can be frustrating, particularly for Americans who are accustomed to adapting when necessary and getting things done. Much has been said about the administrative hurdles expats encounter (though I've heard the situation is far worse in Italy) and while it is frustrating, it reminds me to exercise patience. Stores close early in most neighborhoods which is troublesome for those of us who tend to work late but the advantages of living in Paris far outweigh the city's shortcomings.

Lost in CheeselandIf you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Do your research - and that applies to everything from visas/residency permits to language and housing. Enough books and blogs have covered the pre-requisites, both administrative and psychological, for moving to France so it's imperative to be well-read and prepared before arriving to prevent any unwanted surprises.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Getting to a place where I feel I belong as much here as in the U.S. And while it took a number of years, I know I'm home.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
1) Speak French as much as possible or, for those new to the language, don't give up on studying and practicing, it will make all the difference.
2) Join local groups or associations to meet people; joining Twitter might help too.
3) Don't give up on making French friends - it's easy to fall into an Anglo-only niche here but pursuing friendships with natives will enrich your experience.
4) Never stop exploring, there's always something magical to discover in this city
5) Eat everything.

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Lost In Cheeseland is a sort of expat journal with personal anecdotes and travels, restaurant reviews, photography, interviews with inspiring Francophiles and exciting cultural happenings.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?

Lindsey has her own fantastic expat blog called Lost in Cheeseland http://www.lostincheeseland.com which is very worthy of a visit. Lindsey can be found on Twitter @LostNCheeseland, her Facebook page. Lost in Cheeseland has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here which has already received great reviews and tops the Expats in France category! If you liked this interview with Lindsey, please drop her a quick note below too.
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