American Expat Living in France, Interview With Nancy

Published: 22 Nov at 4 PM
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Filed: Interviews,France
Nancy Kate began her journey at the tender of age of 3 when she took upon her tricycle to escape the everyday monotony of the stress-filled toddler lifestyle. Upon her return to her Mother's care, she was questioned heavily as to the intentions of her journey...she had been on her way to New York City. From that point on, the interest in travel never ceased and, after many trips to New York City, Nancy Kate finally picked up and left the country entirely. She has spent 3 years living in New Zealand and Australia and now can be found swilling wine and eating French cheese in the Rhone-Alps. Nancy's expat blog is called Bread is Pain (see listing here)

Meet Nancy - US expat living in France
Meet Nancy - US expat living in France

Here's the interview with Nancy...

Where are you originally from?
Memphis, Tennessee, USA

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

How long have you lived in France and how long are you planning to stay?
Almost 3 years and there is no telling how much longer - I have found that life has a tendency to throw you a curve ball when you put a date on these types of things.

Why did you move to France and what do you do?
I moved here with my husband who is French - we met while both living in Australia. While here I finished up my Masters Degree and then set it in the corner to collect dust while focusing on writing a novel.

My husband and I eating raclette at l'Auberge des Allieres just outside of Grenoble
My husband and I eating raclette at l'Auberge des Allieres just outside of Grenoble
Did you bring family with you?
Just my husband and me.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Well, France has been my 3rd foreign country experience, after New Zealand and Australia. However, it was completely new dealing with the language barrier. I had never planned on living in France at any point in my life and had ZERO background with French language...that was pretty daunting.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Hmmm...I actually wrote a few posts about this. I've found making friends in France a little harder than some other countries - the French are more reserved than what I am used to culturally and aren't really "into" talking to strangers. I've definitely had to try harder here and, as a result, probably freaked out/annoyed some people. Ha! That being said, it is always easy to fall into expat groups and our friends are probably about 60/40 expats.

My husband and I in Tuscany during our honeymoon.
My husband and I in Tuscany during our honeymoon.
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Outdoors, outdoors, outdoors! In this region the best activities are up in the mountains surrounding the city. There is amazing skiing (so I'm told, I'm not a skier) and the hiking possibilities are endless, there is zip-lining, amazing lakes in summer, tons of climbing. The outdoor adventures around here are boundless...then you can come back to Grenoble and tuck into a nice cheesy fondue or raclette.

What do you enjoy most about living in France?
I love having the mountains in such close proximity - there is never a bad view. Also, I love being so close to other destinations, for example, it never ceases to amaze me that I can drive 3 hours and be in Italy and a completely different culture.

How does the cost of living in France compare to the US?
Hmmm...I can't really say because I haven't lived in the United States for almost 6 years...I can, however, confirm that wine and cheese are much cheaper in France (I pay attention to the important things).

My husband overlooking the city of Grenoble from the Bastille.
My husband overlooking the city of Grenoble from the Bastille.
What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
The distance from home is always in my mind - what I wouldn't give to just have a 3 or 4 hour flight. Also, the grocery stores being closed on Sunday afternoons, haha, makes me crazy!

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Relax and enjoy - it can be really easy to get caught up in the administrative frustrations of moving to another country but one must remember that all that stuff will get done eventually whether you stress out or not. Better to try to enjoy every moment...even waiting in line at consulates - soak it all in!

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Trying to balance my life here with my desire to spend more time with my family and friends at home. If only I could be in two places at once!

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation? is a scary question, I really have no idea what I will feel like. I do know that no matter what city we land in, one of the first things I will do is seek out expat groups.

A view from the mountains surrounding Grenoble.
A view from the mountains surrounding Grenoble.
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?

  1. Eat everything....
  2. Travel copiously....
  3. Befriend people out of your norm....
  4. Take long walks by yourself....
  5. Try the local booze....

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is really about those funny moments that can trip you up in expat life, everything from figuring out greetings to language mistakes. I also have a lot of posts that make jokes about the American and French differences - all in good nature!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Anyone should feel free to contact me via my blog or here.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingNancy is an American expat living in France. Blog description: A humorous blog about an American expat living and eating in France.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Allison wrote 9 years ago:

I have personally known Nancy Kate for 14 years. I can say one thing....France is lucky to have her!

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