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  • 05 Oct 2018 11:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Fall is a time when we naturally see a number of new expats make the move to Paris.  The process of moving to Paris is one thing. The process of making it a home, or at the least feel comfortable is quite another.  Knowing that many of our members are not just new to AWG but new to Paris, I have been thinking quite a lot about this process and what to write, being a relative newbie myself.  Almost at the very same time, I received an email from one of our long-time members inquiring into the blog and I thought, “I bet our new members would find it helpful, or at the very least reassuring, to hear the thoughts / advice / experiences of some of our members who have established their lives here.  I know I would.” 

    And, so, this entry is courtesy of Rebecca DeFraites.

    Rebecca has been a member of AWG Paris since 2005.  She is intimately familiar with the organization, having served on the Board from 2006 until 2018, having served as VP Activities, VP Membership, our FAWCO rep and President.  She is continuing to serve American women living abroad, now serving at Membership Chair of FAWCO. She just celebrated her “expat anniversary” on October 1st, the date on which she, 14 years ago, signed a lease and officially moved to Paris.  Needless to say, she has navigated quite a few waters, administrative and personal alike here in Paris!

    I hope you enjoy her entry as much as I do and welcome any other of our long-time members to offer their words of advice for future postings.

    “Our VP Communications asked me to write briefly about my first year here and what was hard about “fully transitioning.”  Fully transitioning? I gave that up that rêve a long time ago. I am an American in every cell (cellule) in my body and will always be.  That being said, I often gauge my current degree of Frenchness by what I am wearing and my day’s activities. Hmm, today -- French top, French skirt, French tights, French (sensible) shoes and OMG -- today I am wearing French underwear!  My scarf I bought in the US to celebrate the 300th anniversary of New Orleans, arguably still at least marginally French.  I had lunch with two fellow Americans at Le Bistro Perigord, a charming inexpensive restaurant near Notre Dame.

    This evening I am going to my local gallery to celebrate the PACS (civil union) of two neighbors, one French and one American.  French will be spoken. I will understand a third of it. I will beg people to speak doucement, doucement s’il vous plait (it seems to go over better asking people to speak sweetly rather than to speak lentement. I don’t know why.  Ask Véronique Bawol at her next cooking class; Véro speaks excellent French).

    I would characterize this as a one foot in each continent kind of day which, after fourteen years, is more typical than not.

    The first year was just flat-out hard.  I did not join AWG until after the first year.  Like many voluntary ex-pats, I was going to do full integration.  I would make only French friends. This did not work exceedingly well.  I did know French people from our various trips here over the years but, well, at the end of the day they were just so French.   I spent a good deal of time feeling lonesome and talking to my family in the US even though I was married to a fully cooperative American husband.

    I am not what I call a “love ex-pat,” that is, someone who falls in love with a French man and decides to stay.  Member-at-large, Sara Sautin is a long-term love ex-pat having been married to “Jeff,” whose actual name is Jean-Francois, for more than forty years.  I was also not a “trailing spouse,” as many AWG members are. When I later became president of AWG Paris, I had two trailing spouses on my board. They were both MBA’s.  Needless to say, it was a pretty high-powered bunch.

    In my later work with AWG and FAWCO, I have come to realize that everyone’s first year is hard.  Imagining myself a trail-blazer (and yes, of course I was going to write a book), I had no idea how predictably I was behaving.

    The most important integrational event that first year was to BUY A CADDIE.

    In those days, French people were not nearly as willing to speak English as they are now.  My landlord, for example, an elderly professor of endocrinology with those wonderful French old-man eyebrows which old American men just don’t have, reported to me once that, despite twelve years of English in school, he was afraid to speak it.  He didn’t want to look like an idiot. I’m thinking, Jean-Claude, you’re an esteemed professor of endocrinology -- no one could possibly think you an idiot. But, to this day, I have never heard him speak a word of English.

    But, to the caddie.  I knew they are practical.  I knew they are a necessity.  I don’t own a car. But I thought I’d look like a little old lady in rolled-down socks if I actually rolled one along the Boulevard St. Germain.  But my back was giving out and I’m not even sure if you could get your groceries delivered back then. I had scouted out a place to get one. I was going to go to the BHV.  I girded my loins. I made it to the Caddie Department. I probably said I wanted a poussette which used to mean caddie but now means baby carriage. I had to answer way too many questions -- did Madame want it pliant ou non-pliant?  I decided I wanted it be folding. And how many liters did Madame require? How the hell should I know? I think in gallons and quarts, not liters. I ended up with a forty-liter folding purple caddie. I felt silly wheeling it across the Seine from the BHV.  But, after its first trip to the Monoprix, we fell in love. That purple caddie wore out a decade ago. My current caddie was inherited from an AWG member who was repatriated. It is a nondescript brown and is fifty liters. It holds more and is sturdier. But, as I write this, I realize that buying that purple caddie, in French (!) and then actually rolling it along the Boulevard St. Germain, was the absolute highlight of my first year.  It was also the first day I got asked for directions by a French person. That was also pretty cool.”

  • 20 Sep 2018 11:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Moving and making a life in a new place is hard no matter where it is or how amazing the location.  There seems to be no better proof of that than all it takes - logistically and emotionally - to not just move but really settle into Paris.

    Since we are at the beginning of a “new year” I thought we would use the next couple of blog entries to go through some of the biggest issues / problems that you face when you move here and share some words of advice about how to navigate them.  BUT since I am a relative newbie to the expat life myself, my base of knowledge is still rather limited compared to the other members of AWG. SO, I am using this blog entry to present an invitation to you, whomever you are reading this right now, to share with us.

    Specifically, we would love to hear from you about:
    • What are the questions you found yourself asking (or are currently asking) as expats? For example: Were you absolutely blown away by the process for getting an apartment here?  Did you walk out your front door the first Sunday you were here only to wonder what would be open?
    • What’s the best piece of advice / recommendation / lesson that you learned as you navigated either life in Paris or expat life (either here in Paris or elsewhere) more generally? For example: How did you make your first French friend?  What words of advice would you have for adapting to cultural norms here?  Or, even, what tricks do you have to handle jet lag if / when you go back and forth overseas?
    Whether you are a new and long-time members - just starting the expat life or “career” expat, if you will - please reach out to us and share your questions and experience.  There is so much that we can learn from each other in this crazy journey.  That is part of the beauty of life, after all!

    Email me your questions / thoughts / musings to awgcommsvp@gmail.com.  I will be collecting what you send over the next couple of weeks and will share your queries and recommendations in the next blog entry or two (depending on how many people reach out).  Also, in case you are wondering, I will not attribute any commentary I receive and include in the blog post unless you explicitly tell me that you would like to be cited (i.e. reference your blog, business, or want to put yourself as a resource to those reading the blog).  

    I hope to hear from many of you!  AWG is one of the many resources at your fingertips to help make Paris feel like home so the more information I receive, the more I can share!
  • 04 Sep 2018 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    No matter where you are from, there is just something about September.  I can remember as a little girl how excited I would be during this time.  I would go with my parents to get “back to school” supplies and perhaps even a couple of new outfits to start the new school year on the right foot.  It was always a time of excitement and, for me, feels much more like the “new year” than January 1st. As I have gotten older, I still feel that sense of excitement but also struggle at times with getting back into the groove of things.  After a summer of slower work hours and weekends on the beach, I have found it hard to focus and do all that invariably needs to be done during the month.

    This is my first September in Paris.  Having moved here in October of 2017, it marks the completion of my first full year in this beautiful city that has presented its fair share of challenges.  And, it is my first Rentree. Back in the States, this time of year is reserved almost exclusively for kids, students, and parents sending their kids back to school.  I absolutely love that, here in France, there is a recognition that this time of year is a period of adjustment - or readjustment - for everyone. I have heard everyone from children to parents to professionals to businesses say to me and others “Bonne Rentree!,” wishing a smooth easing back into the daily life.  

    With this in mind, I thought I would share some thoughts and tips for how to make this just that.

    Celebrate the Month - and the Adjustment - as the French Do

    As I mentioned, this is my first introduction to the term Rentree, what it means and what it entails. As I was researching what this time of year means to the French, scouring the internet in the wee hours of the morning, as I am wont to do when I can’t sleep, I came upon the website of one of our own AWG members, Jennifer Hamerman. She wrote last year in her blog, Mama Loves Paris, all about this time of year and how to celebrate with the French. Whether this is your first Rentree or 6th (as in her case), make sure to check it out to help you understand a bit more about this time of year.

    More than anyway, this is a great time of year to embrace the world around you, to understand it, and to feel like home. We noted some of these in our most recent newsletter, but a couple of events that will help you ease back into understanding the rhythm and life of Paris are:

    Jazz a la Villette (August 30-September 9) - Need an unwind after work begins to hit you hard?  This is a nice way to take in some of the best Jazz artists from all over the world (Paris does have a long history in the music after all) and get a refresh / shot of musical energy for the next day.

    Paris Design Week (September 6-September 15) - Looking to add something fresh for the “new year” to your home or for inspiration for such?  This is the perfect place to do it, known for identifying trends before they hit the mainstream market.

    Les Journees des Patrimoine (September 15-September 16) - For one weekend a year, historically relevant sites all over the country open up their doors, including many that are not open otherwise to the public.  This is an opportunity to begin to understand the history of the country, and its values, that you now call home.

    Fete de la Gastronomie (September 21-September 23) - France's gastronomy is classed by UNESCO as an 'intangible cultural heritage of humanity' so it makes sense that this month includes a celebration of it.

    Finding Your Pace Again

    I don’t know about you but no matter how healthy I am, how good my regime is, it somehow always falls off in August.  I give myself the excuse to take a break, to sleep in, to lounge around. Well, that’s all well and good until I get back home and realize that I may be a little more relaxed, but I am also a little less, well, fit both physically and emotionally to take on the day-to-day.  I personally need exercise - it helps me to clear my head of any frustrations (be they from work or just trying to communicate with my neighbors) and gives me the energy to take on anything that may come. However, after a month (or more, whoops!), I find that every September, I have to sort of start again.  I imagine I am not the only one in this position so here are some tips for getting back at it.

    Going from Walking to Running - We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so why not take it in and get some exercise at the same time?  I have begun by allocating 30 minutes a day to just take a walk, in the neighborhood, to a local site, in a park. Anywhere really, just to get out. I work from home, as I know many other members of AWG do, so I have found it important to mark off this time to do just this.  Otherwise, I will tell myself I will do it “just after I finish this next thing.” After a couple of weeks of this, I then build up to a slow jog to get my heart rate up. And before you know it, I am back to the full run of 5-7k that I am used to doing.

    Exercise Classes - As I said, I have found it important to mark off time for me to work out and get out.  I have always had to do this, even when I was in the States working an office job. Exercise classes have been an integral way of doing this - I mean, I signed up for it and don’t want to lose the investment.  When I first moved here, though, and struggling with the language (ok, I’ll admit it, I still struggle with the language), I needed to find places that offered English classes. I personally found my answer with Dynamo Cycling (4 locations throughout the city in the RIght Bank) and The Dailey Method (location Victor Hugo).  As I built up my confidence with the classes, both physically and linguistically, I began going to the French classes.  It was like taking a language and exercise class all in one! If you have other studios that you like to go to, let us know!

    Yoga At Home - I know that studios can get expensive.  When I am feeling the budget pinch, I have turned to the online sessions offered through Daily Om.  This website has been a savior for me, both physically and spiritually, helping me focus many of my efforts.  I am personally doing “14 Days of Strength and Stretching” right now to reperfect my yoga poses (rather than just go through the motions) and ensure that I get the most out of them, but there are a huge range of online classes for you to choose from, depending on your focus.  And the bonus? You pay what you feel is appropriate!

    AWG Members - If you are looking for a little more structure in the process, reach out to your fellow AWG members as many of them do this as their profession.  We have listed some of these business under Blogs and Businesses on the website and include links to businesses such as MindBody360 (focused on improving your health).  If you have a health focused business (or any business) that you want us to know about, let us know!

    These are just a few tips to help you make this the best Rentree possible and get the “new year” off to a new start. I know sometimes it can be hard to do this yourself, so if you are looking for a buddy - to go to one of the events, an exercise class, or just explore the city - this month, look me up in the registry and shoot me a line!

    Your AWG VP Communications, Ryan

  • 04 Jul 2018 5:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's a blistering 4th of July and the temperatures aren't going to drop much any time soon. But I made vichyssoise a few days ago, the perfect antidote and so easy that I felt I must share it to my fellow AWG members sweltering in their un-airconditioned apartments. (If you have air conditioning, please invite us all over for coffee, iced, of course.)

    • ·         2 large leeks or 4 slender ones. Slender seems to be what is at the store right now.
    • ·         1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • ·         3 T butter
    • ·         2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed, about 2 cups
    • ·         3 cups chicken broth
    • ·         Salt and pepper to taste
    • Use only the white and palest green parts of the leeks. Leeks can be sandy, but unless you’re buying them from a bio farmer who hasn’t washed them already, it’s usually sufficient to peel away a couple of layers of white and rinse carefully.  Shake them dry, chop into small cubes.
    • Cook the chopped leeks and onion in butter, stirring frequently, for about five minutes. Do not brown. Add the potatoes and chicken broth, bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Season to your liking, then puree the soup in the blender, the food processor, or with an immersion stick.
    • Put it in a refrigerator container, add 1 cup heavy cream, a couple of drops of Tabasco sauce (yes, you can buy Tabasco here), and even a dash of Worcestershire sauce if you like. (This is Craig Claiborne’s suggestion and even though some of his hints have not stood the test of time, I tried this and it was good). Chill the soup thoroughly and enjoy whenever you think it’s too hot to eat a thing.

    Craig also kindly gives the pronunciation as "veeshee-swahz."

  • 16 Jun 2018 3:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Raising Awareness for World Refugee Day, June 20, 2018

    In the FAWCO community, many of us 'migrated' to another country either for work, love, or adventure .... we did so by choice. Displaced persons/Refugees do not share this privileged experience - most faced life-threatening circumstances forcing them to leave their homes and many continue to endure great hardship.

    Hope Beyond Displacement Logo

    Our Target Project, Hope Beyond Displacement, seeks to build better futures through education, vocational and leadership training for refugee women and girls in Amman, Jordan. 

  • 04 Jun 2018 9:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The summer issue of FAWCO's Inspiring Women is out, featuring our own Anna Eklund-Cheong! The theme of this issue is "Women of Words and Language." Anna's specialty is haiku, but this issue also features a novelist, a cookbook writer, a journalist, and more women who use the written or spoken word to influence or interpret the world around them. And all of them are members of FAWCO clubs, as are you.

    Check out the link here: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/fullscreen/60289784/inspiring-women-summer-2018

  • 24 May 2018 11:33 PM | Deleted user

    Hello Members!

    new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that we receive your Specific Consent to use your personal data. Unless you update your profile preferences, AWG will not be able to continue to communicate with you about AWG activities, news, announcements, event reminds & upcoming membership renewals.

    You must update your profile page and consent to our privacy policy, otherwise we cannot continue to communicate with you!

    Below is a step-by-step overview to help you through the process of updating your profile. 7yu8

    1. Log in to the AWG website. Your name appears on the upper top right of the screen.
    Click on your name.

    2. You must click on the "Edit profile" button.

    3.  The next screen will be the fields of data that you can edit.

    4.  Scroll down to the section titled  "A Little About You" to see the blue consent line. (See below)

    5. Click on the little box- (not the blue link to the policy) you will see a green check mark pop in.

    6. IMPORTANT - scroll back up to the top of the page and click the "Save" button.

    If you see a red X on the box, you are not in Edit mode- click the "Edit profile" button.

    If you only link to the “Privacy Policy” when you try to consent, don’t click on the blue line, just click on the little box.
  • 22 Apr 2018 11:13 PM | Deleted user

    Thanks to everyone who came out to our special evening "April in Paris" membership meeting. We had a great time catching up with members, taste testing the blind wine tasting table and raising over 6,000 euros with our "Pampered in Paris" raffle!!

    Congrats to all of our raffle prize winners!!





    New Orleans Brunch for Six—Winner: Diana Levaton

    Donated by Rebecca Defraites


    Galleries Lafayette Gift Card (100 euros)—Winner: Cathy Farnan

    Donated by Petra Graf


    Gift Basket No. 1 – France—Winner: Diana Levaton

    Donated by Mary Saubestre


    One Framed Photograph by Eric Hian-Cheong Photography— Winner:

    Maureen Miller

    Donated by Eric Hian-Cheong Photography


    I Santi Vintage Purse— Winner: Chris Kolyer

    Donated by Mary Louise Rynski


    Chateau Mouton 2012 + Chateau Lamothe Guignard 2013— Winner:

    Elaine Tonkens

    Donated by Chantal Gassain


    “Eiffel Tower and Ms. Liberty” Pen on Paper by artist Kate Saubestre—

    Winner: Amy McCarthy

    Donated by Kate Saubestre


    Magnum of Wine + Bottle of Champagne— Winner: Sandra Gogel

    Donated by AWG Paris


    One Ultimate Facial— Winner: Valerie Metzger

    Donated by Skincare by Kristina


    30-minute Portrait Session with Photographer Krystal Kenney— Winner:

    Valerie Metzger

    Donated by Krystal Kenney Photography


    Two Tickets for Sinfonietta Paris, Music by the Glass— Winner: Debra


    Donated by Sinfonietta Paris


    Gift Basket No. 2 – Mexican— Winner: Mary Louise Rynski

    Donated by Mary Saubestre


    Framed Photograph No. 2 by Eric Hian-Cheong Photography— Winner:

    Monica Meyer

    Donated by Eric Hian-Cheong Photography


    Wine Tasting Lunch for Seven to Nine Participants— Winner: Clydette de


    Donated by Hélène Goble


    Gift Basket No. 3 – USA— Winner: Sara Sautin

    Donated by Mary Saubestre


    Luxury Beauty Products— Winner: Carrie Gabriel

    Donated by Lisa Sussman


    Champagne High Tea for Two at Le Bristol Paris— Winner: Lisa Morgan

    Donated by Le Bristol Paris


    Two-night Stay for Two at Villa La Riante, Breakfast Included – Winner:

    Sandra Gogel

    Donated by Jim and Kristie Worrel


    One Lymphatic Drainage Treatment— Winner: Helen Woodford

    Donated by Skincare by Kristina


    "Le printemps" Pen on Paper by artist Kate Saubestre - Winner: Catherine


    Donated by Kate Saubestre


    Private Tour for up to 10 Participants, “Black History in and Around the

    Luxembourg Garden”— Winner: Petra Graff

    Donated by Dr. Monique Wells, Wells International Foundation


    Le Bon Marche Gift Card (100 euros)— Winner: Clydette de Groot

    Donated by Sara Sautin


    Two-night Stay for Two in a Deluxe King Room, American Breakfast

    Included at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris - Winner: Cindy Slater-


    Donated by Four Seasons Hotel, George V

  • 17 Apr 2018 4:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The American Library in Paris is one of my favorite institutions. It's been around only a few years longer than the American Women's Group in Paris, and like AWG, plays the role of a bridge between the United States and France. It's a resource for its members and the larger community. 

    The American Library has a fascinating history that dates to World War I. Its past members, speakers, and contributors have included Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Colette, Henry Miller (you could find a copy of Tropic of Cancer here when it was outlawed in the U.S.!), Richard Wright, and Mary McCarthy.

    There are programs for every age, book groups for many interests, speakers, and workshops. And it provides a quiet space for browsing English-language newspapers and magazines, the cookbook collection, the art history and fashion sections, or whatever takes your fancy. For me lately, that means the murder mystery section -- the inimitable Agatha Christie and Elizabeth George!

    Luckily for us, we have secured a private tour of the Library. We'll meet and greet the staff and new director Jeffrey Hawkins, see a selection of the library's archives, and tour the recently-renovated building. It's not too late to sign up -- please see the Events calendar on the AWG web site. And afterwards, lunch nearby at La Fontaine de Mars, one of the oldest Parisian bistros, on rue St. Dominique. Please come join me!

  • 01 Apr 2018 2:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I have been remiss in not continuing to publicize this magazine -- Inspiring Women -- which is so relevant to so many of us.

    Inspiring Women is an on line magazine profiling the lives of FAWCO members around the world, who have used their skills, talents, and passions to make a difference in the global community. It was created by our own Elsie Bose, a longtime AWG Paris member and FAWCO Advertising and Sponsorship Manager.

    Click here for the spring issue: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/59850697/inspiring-women-spring-2018. Women in Sport and Fitness is the theme!

    Each issue has a special feature on one of the FAWCO regions, with local recipes, and a focus on one FAWCO club. All of the magazine's advertising is interactive, so if you are interested in what is on offer, just point and click!

    If you would like to suggest a member to be interviewed, contact editor Liz MacNiven at inspiringwomen.editor@fawco.org. To advertise, contact Elsie at advertising@fawco.org.

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