While I’m on the West roads of the US, I’ve planned a few interviews of blogs I like. To begin with, welcome to Amandine and her blog Miami à deux et demi (Two and a half in Miami). She’s also a French expatriate living in the US, but in a different atmosphere than Boston: she lives in Miami, in Florida. Amandine left Paris in March 2011, with her husband Julien and her baby Gabriel, who was born over there. On her blog, she tells stories about her new way of life, what surprised her in the US, how to raise a kid, her weekends in Florida… A must-see!
Is Miami like in TV shows? According to me, there’s 2 Miami. There’s is the Miami you see in Dexter, CSI and rap videos: crazy night life on Ocean Drive, big cars, the beach and its surfers, photo shoots at every corners, luxury condos and huge penthouses, huge yachts and private parties on islands. But there’s also a quieter Miami, nice for the families, with tons of nice trees, and walking trails (yeah, it’s true!)
What are the must-see in Miami? First of all, you need to know that Miami is a build-up area of several cities: Miami Beach, South Miami, Miami, Coconut Grove, Coral Gable, etc ! The touristic life is mainly on Miami Beach, I recommend to see Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and the Art Deco aera, but don’t forget South Pointe Park and the Marina. And of course, the huge white sand beach. Another gorgeous beach is Crandon Beach (South Beach), my favorite one, with coconut trees on Key Biscayne. Go to the tropical Fairchild Garden close to Coconut grove. At Coral Gable, go and visit the Venetian swimming pool, and then go to the Biltmore Hotel to have a cocktail and to look at this mythical hôtel (it’s not that expensive during Happy Hours). You have to see the city from the sea, you can take a boat from Bayside Market, in Downtown. Eventually, go to the Design District and the Art Walk, once a month, and every second weekends of the month on Wynwood District to wander from one shop to another and to look at the street art performances.
Which part of the US would you like to visit? I don’t have any preference: I dream of Louisiana, deserts in Utah, Californian vinyards, Maine beaches, ski resorts, etc.
Which American expression do you like to say, and which sounds very American? I love to say “I mean”. I say it in every possible situation, and I have the feeling that an American flag gets out of my mouth. I also enjoy saying “Are you kidding me?”. It sounds very American too!
What is your favorite American dish? Without any hesitation, I say: a good burger! I’ve never eaten such good and various types since I live in Miami. I’ve also tried to do home-made lemonade, I love it!
Do you understand the rules of base-ball or football? I don’t understand anything but I really like the passion at the beginning of the match. I started watching basketball, because Miami Heat are the NBA Champions this year!
What were the biggest cultural gaps? The big cultural gap was the food. I loved enjoying a good meal and before going there, I totally freaked out. But after a while, I’ve learned to find good food at the grocery store, and to cook in different ways. It’s part of being expatriated. We want to live this experience at 1000% even if we keep some of our French habits, we try to be open-minded to the American culture, that we didn’t know so well..
Which cliches did you have about the US? Were they confirmed since you are here? Americans people love their big cars. I also think that there are too many fast food and commercials on TV. About Florida, I didn’t expect so much racism. There are also so many huge billboards with ads against abortion and for guns. I’m chocked about that, I had this cliche of a puritan America, but I didn’t think I’ll face it in my daily life. It’s not always the case in Miami, it’s more in the suburbs.
What does the blog bring you? At the beginning, I opened the blog for my family and friends as a way to share our experience. I got great comments of visitors, and I liked it, so I wanted to tell more about our lives of young expatriates: our doubts, joys, our baby. I met nice people thanks to the blog, talked to many people. It’s priceless! I think it will be a great souvenir when we’ll back to France. I really recommend to open a blog!
How many time will you stay in the US? We can stay for 3 years with our visas. After that, my husband company offers a new visa for 2 years, and then a Green Card. We haven’t decided yet. We miss France, our families and friends. Expatriation is great, but we are raising our child far away from his family, who doesn’t see him grow up. Moreover, I work in a American company, with American rules, which are pretty hard: I don’t want a life with only 10 days of vacation and 3 holidays for one year. We want a second child, and health care is very expensive…
What is your American dream? I want to enjoy each moment spent here, and to give to my son Gabriel curiosity on the different cultures he meet.
Thanks a lot to Amandine for answering my questions. Photos in the post belong to her.