Sion Dayson, an American in Paris. I’m a writer originally from New York and North Carolina
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
Unlike a lot of expats here, I had never dreamed of living in Paris. I spoke Spanish, longed for warm weather, and didn’t display any Francophile tendencies.
So wouldn’t you know it? I fell in love with the City of Light one cold, rainy November. I was in Europe for a work conference and had a layover in Paris. Three days of exploring and the city worked its magic. I couldn’t shake the place.
I planned a month-long holiday for the following April. Yes, like that famous song “April in Paris” – wasn’t I just setting myself up for love? And it happened: a gorgeous Frenchman, the coup de foudre (‘lightning bolt,’ as the French say). I never believed that sort of thing possible before.
Only one thing: neither of us spoke the other’s language. No more than the basics. It didn’t stop us, though. We spent the rest of my holiday together.
As I was leaving I wanted to tell him I loved him, but it seemed crazy. How could I when we’d only just met? Could barely speak to each other? I cried when we said goodbye at the airport. Five minutes later my cell phone beeped; I was still standing in the security line. Je t’aime, read his message. I love you.
Well that was it. Upon my return to New York I realized it was one of those moments in life when I just had to leap. After giving notice to my job, a few months of intensive French classes, and trying to come to terms with leaving the city I adored, I got back on a plane (in September 2006) and have been here ever since...