Monday, April 23, 2012
Expat Blog Hop (With A Prize For You!)
I'm proud to be participating in this year's Expat Blog Hop, sponsored by Blog In France! For this event we're encouraged to write something about the experience of being an expat. So what's it like? Take a look after the jump, and also enter to win my super-amazing Paris Cheapskate prize!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Sabrina and Barbara (from Austin, TX), who each won a personalized postcard from me (and Paris). If you're one of those ladies please be sure to send your address to parischeapskate - at! - gmail.com so I can send you some Paris love!
For me, I was afraid when I moved here that I would not have enough money to truly experience Paris. I spent all last year saving up my money to live here, but I wasn't sure how long that would last me. As it's very difficult for Americans to get a job here, I knew that this little nest egg was going to be my main (and perhaps only) source of cash flow while I'm in Paris. But I was determined to make it last as long as possible, so I inflicted a pretty stringent budget upon myself. During my first couple of months I focused very hard on (and completed) my first novel, which was the perfect thing to do in winter. Just hole up and write. But as the sunshine of March beckoned me outside, I realized that my time in Paris would be wasted if I didn't let myself get out there and enjoy it.
Sure, Paris is the land of expensive hotels, extravagant dinners and elegant clothes to break the bank. But most of the people I hang out with aren't rich. I knew there were ways to make the most of Paris without crushing my nest egg, but every time I'd Google "cheap things to do in Paris" I'd get a list of museums that were free on Sundays or suggestions to go hang out at cemeteries. Anybody could run through this list in a week. There had to be something for the rest of us. I knew I couldn't be the only one out here trying to save a buck. And thus was born Paris Cheapskate.
It's almost a selfish endeavor, because working on the blog forces me to be in the know on what's happening all around Paris, and the absolute cheapest things possible. When I say I am cheap, I am cheap. I will not pay more than 4€ for a sandwich (even that's a stretch). When I went to a museum exhibit the other day and paid 9,50€, I got really pissed off. And I will never post a concert here that is over 20€ (usually 15€ or less), because I wouldn't pay more than that myself (since Led Zeppelin is no longer).
So, that's my commitment to you, fellow Cheapskates. I'll try to keep us all in the black, and you keep reading and sending me your suggestions. I believe that the best things in life are simple, and usually cheap. That's why I'm offering a prize to TWO lucky readers: a heartfelt, personalized postcard, sent from yours truly to wherever in the world you may be. Imagine opening up your mailbox and there, nestled amongst the bills and junk mail is a carte postale from Paris. Just leave a comment below letting me know your favorite thing about Paris, or (if you've never been here), what you'd most like to experience in the great City of Lights. The winner will be chosen at random tomorrow. Good luck... keep those wallets zipped and keep reaching for the stars!
Check out the other Blog Hoppers here: