For most people, living in France does not just mean eating croissants and drinking good wine every day. This blog post is a part of our series, An Expat Life, exploring what it is like for an expat to live and work in Paris. Through these profiles of expats who have made their lives here, we will show you the different opportunities that exist in France and the (many) struggles that go along with them.
People from all walks of life find their way to Paris for one reason or another. They piece together various jobs in order to stay in Paris and have a fulfilling life. One of those people is Kristen Gonzales, the latest addition to the Savoir Faire Paris team. We are constantly impressed by the way in which she has carved out her life here and is involved in so many different activities. She is a great example of someone who wants to be in Paris and will do anything to make her life here.
Originally from Colorado, Kristen moved to Paris in October 2011 with the goal of becoming fluent in French. The most difficult part of her decision to move was figuring out how to get a visa. Since she enjoys working with children, Kristen initially decided to come to Paris as an au pair. As is a common refrain among expats working in France, Kristen explained that finding a job in Paris while living in the US “was not an easy task.” Yet she found a family to work for who would sponsor her for a visa and she was off to start her brand new life.
As anyone who has ever moved to a new city knows, it can be really hard to start life over completely, especially in a new country. One of the biggest difficulties for Kristen was adjusting and building a foundation for her new life. This was further complicated by the typical administrative hurdles that the expats living in France are all too familiar with. “The every day life things like opening a bank account and getting a phone,” she said, “were much more stressful than they would be in a familiar land.” With the addition of the initial language barrier and a less-than-friendly host family, her first few months here were “very lonely.”
In the little over a year that she has lived here, Kristen has found the time to pursue her other passions and has really made a life for herself here. Her weeks are full of studying, teaching English, working for Savoir Faire, singing in her church choir and expressing herself artistically whenever possible. But her real passion is beauty and teaching people how to take care of their skin in order to improve their quality of life. She is a trained esthetician, but until recently she has not been able to work. Now that she has gotten her footing here and is working freelance, all she has to say is “it’s about time!” She offers different services to her clients, from waxings and mini beauty treatments to lessons on makeup applications. She considers waxings her specialty, so she is the woman to go to for a bikini or eyebrow waxing!
Kristen, despite the initial difficulties, loves life in Paris. “The things I like about Paris are being added upon daily,” she told me. She has a great group of international friends that she spends time with and loves the easy access to museums, delicious soup and interesting foods like persimmons. She also loves traveling and the ability to explore many different countries. “I feel amazed and so blessed by the challenges I’ve faced being in Paris and am so excited for the year to come.”
If you are interested in learning more about the services that Kristen offers, please contact us!