I may blog about food, interior design and hikes, but travel is my heart. And I don’t just mean vacations; what truly inspires me is the kind of adventure that’s a leap of faith, and that’s what first drew me to Danielle Alvarez’s blog, Danielle Abroad. New York-bred Danielle made the bold move to go to Paris for graduate school and on her blog she shares an American’s musings on European culture.
Many blogs these days are so visual — and yes, Danielle’s photos of the City of Lights are beautiful — but what I love is that she writes — really writes — about her experiences, her pratfalls, her curiosities. Today she lends us some of that same expat thoughtfulness. Read on to see what routines have made this gal’s new home feel like, well, home.
Name: Danielle E. Alvarez
Hometown: Valhalla, NY
Current City: Paris, France
Profession: Masters student of Global Communications at the American University of Paris
Living in Paris is as amazing as it is stressful. Having been here for nearly a year, much of the initial magic of the City of Lights has worn off, so I try to get away at least every two months. Whether it’s a weekend in Rome (gotta love budget airlines) or a day trip to the countryside, a quick trip is often just the R&R I need to appreciate “home” all over again. It’s also a beautiful reminder to appreciate this opportunity to be in Europe right now.
Growing up in the Hudson Valley, I was introduced to farmers markets at a young age. It wasn’t until my short stint in New York City, however, that I began to frequent them. I love the opportunity to interact with the French vendors and discover the freshest produce of the season. Market-inspired meals are the best way to appreciate the seasons, in my opinion.
Rather than dwell on how much I miss my friends and family, I’ve made a sincere effort to keep in touch with those who matter most. I call my parents as often as I can, and once a week, I sit down at my desk and write a long email/Skype. For special occasions, I’ve also committed myself to snail mail. Who doesn’t love a handwritten letter or postcard? Especially as we receive so few of them nowadays.
French women don’t get fat. They can, of course, but they rarely do in Paris. The secret, I think, is in the “inconvenience”. It’s necessary to walk and take stairs often! There’s nothing I enjoy more than my invigorating hike up Rue Menilmontant each morning, especially because of the short-cut through what just might be the greenest pedestrian street in all of Paris. What a treat before sitting at a desk for 8 hours.