Welcome to French Bliss Me. I hope you’ll follow along as I share everything from my latest fashion and beauty finds, to anecdotes about our Franco-American life, to inspired musings on a plethora of topics.
When it came time to name this space, I didn’t take the task lightly. I filled pages upon pages of my notebook with potential names, never really finding the one. Then, in classic Antoine-fashion, my clever husband came up with the perfect name after a mere twenty minutes of contemplation. A play off of the popular term “French kiss,” French Bliss Me seemed to fit perfectly. As an American building my life in France, I’ve had so many moments where I’ve adored this life and I’ve felt so blessed to live here. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I must admit that for every moment of sheer bliss, there’s been a moment of sheer frustration, even resentment.
To say that my attitude towards our unconventional life has evolved throughout the years would be an understatement. My initial years were what I’d call the ignorance is bliss stage.
I went from being infatuated with France as a high school student, to falling head over heels for a French man at the ripe age of 19, to getting swept away in my foreign fairytale as I moved to Paris to work and live.
But alas, the ignorance is bliss stage didn’t last.
Somewhere between going to work in France, getting diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, losing my beloved grandfather, getting married, and having a child, I lost my ignorance and my bliss. The realization that moving back home wouldn’t be as easy as I had once imagined started to eat away at my contentment.
Getting a life-altering diagnosis as a 22 year old in a foreign country nearly did me in. Starting a family an ocean way from my own family seemed like more of a nightmare than a fairytale. The rainbows and butterflies were gone. This transatlantic life had broken me down and left me bliss-less.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that happiness isn’t so much about where you are and what you have, but more about who you have by your side. I learned that if you accept that you don’t always have control over your immediate circumstances and if you simply decide to bloom where you are planted, it can be the beginning of a metamorphosis.
Thankfully, however, the story doesn’t end there. Despite the fact that I still dearly miss my family, my friends, and my country, I have rediscovered my bliss. Much to my surprise, it didn’t come in the form of an official letter stating that my husband had landed a job stateside, nor did in come in the form of a huge home in North Carolina, close to my family and friends.
I rediscovered my bliss slowly, one day at a time, with the help of my patient husband and a handful of women living out similar stories. Somewhere in the midst of our playdates and our texts, the days stopped looking so gloomy. Somewhere between our multicultural Thanksgiving dinners, our exchanged recipes, and our cathartic coffee dates, I rediscovered my appetite for life. Somewhere along the way, we started sharing our aspirations, our disappointments, and our hopes. Somewhere along the way, I realized that happiness isn’t so much about where you are and what you have, but more about who you have by your side. I learned that if you accept that you don’t always have control over your immediate circumstances and if you simply decide to bloom where you are planted, it can be the beginning of a metamorphosis.
That’s how I came to realize that my bliss is right here, with my incredible French husband and our two Franco-American children. I came to understand that my bliss is in my kitchen, cooking for my family and friends. My bliss is seeing the world with the man I love. My bliss is accepting that being far away from family doesn’t detract from my love for or loyalty to them. My bliss is growing and learning and loving, no matter where this life takes me. This is my bliss and my bliss is French.