Paris Speaks to My Soul
First and foremost, let me apologize for “falling off the radar” lately. Juggling a full-time job, marriage, fatherhood and university courses has not allowed much time for the podcast. That said, I’m pleased to say that I will be recording a new episode soon with a special guest (and an expat to boot). More details coming soon!
Recently, I was speaking to an acquaintance and was discussing the podcast. This individual was taken back by the name of the podcast (by the way, I know I Rather Be In Paris is grammatically incorrect. I explain it here). They took the podcast name as an affront to my homeland, the United States. What ensued was an interesting conversation and a point of reflection for me.
I am a first generation American, the child of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. I am resoundingly proud of my Dominican American background, grateful for both cultures and what they have contributed to my life. That said, why start a Paris themed podcast for the aspiring expat?
Paris is a marvel: at once familiar and foreign, a city so full of wonders one could spend three lifetimes and still not scratch the surface.
Growing up family travel was relegated to the occasional trip to the Dominican Republic to visit relatives. As I got older, travel centered upon domestic business trips. My first trip to Europe was in the 1990’s. Visiting London, England was life changing. I felt a kinship with the city unlike any other. However, that changed when my family and I visited Paris in 2017. That trip followed a four day visit to London. Visiting both cities back-to-back allowed me to compare them. While I genuinely love London, Paris speaks to my soul. As someone that studied culinary arts, French food and culture are not unfamiliar. Nevertheless, as I strolled the streets of Paris, enjoying the sights and sounds, I could not escape the feeling that Paris is where I need to be. A two week visit in 2018 confirmed that to me. Paris is a marvel: at once familiar and foreign, a city so full of wonders one could spend three lifetimes and still not scratch the surface.
While no place is perfect — the same problems plaguing the United States can be found in France — the quality of life and challenge of learning and incorporating myself into French culture, is a pull too strong to ignore. I look forward to taking you along my journey. - JU