Nerdy girl gone geek gone @michmski


welcome to my blog/vlog.

I’m an American that got hired to move to Paris to work online.

I like extreme sports, naps, and dancing.

Usually not all at once.

I try to be as regular as possible (although sometimes you just can’t predict certain things — thank goodness — soo ๐Ÿ™‚

Every Monday : Confessions from an American in Paris

Also : music, geek things, extreme jump roping, etc.

The posts from before this auspicious day (September 27, 2010) will forever belong to the archives of the past ๐Ÿ˜‰ and from September 28th forward – I have “gone native”

Enjoy, and leave your comments ๐Ÿ™‚


ps in between I reserve the right to post videos I like ๐Ÿ˜‰

110 responses to “About

  1. Pingback: Respecting the Three C’s of Crowdsourcing « Jason Spector

  2. Hi Michelle, could you contact me at pedro.maiquez(at)izo.es?

    I dont find any way in LinkedIn, Twitter or your blog to get more info about Synthese.



    • Hi Pedro,

      This blog is my own comments not associated with Synthesio, but I appreciate you finding me here! The Synthesio website is http://www.synthesio.com. You can also send our VP of Sales an e-mail at loic(.)moisand(@)synthesio(.)fr (I’m michelle(.)chmielewski(@)synthesio(.)fr) or find us on Twitter: @MiChmski or @Synthesio. If you would like to call, the phone number is +33 1 55 26 43 40.

      Hope to talk to you soon!

  3. Pingback: Ce que « mesurer » les medias sociaux veut dire | CiTiZeN L. aka Laurent Francois

  4. Michelle, really enjoy your videos. Well done. Curious if you’d share with us here how you create them. What video editing tools? Do you use a script or ad lib? Does a friend help with the camera work? How long does it take you to produce 1 minute of final video? … questions like that…

  5. Bonjour Michelle, pourriez vous me contacter au plus vite sur ร  cette adresse : antoine.touzot(at)gmail.com

    Merci beaucoup.

  6. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for your Blog. I’m French, living in Germany and had great time watching your videos and reading your posts today – Cool, funny, true and instructive ! I’m impatient to read your future posts… Kisses

  7. Good job!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Hi Michelle,
    i’m in love, will you mary me ?
    Bonne journรฉe !

  9. Hi!
    I really like your blog, especially the topics about cultural differences ๐Ÿ˜‰ (For my part, I could only notice differences between France and the US the first 6 months I lived in the US and after 6 months my point of view just changed and I was seeing things differently, and not focusing on differences)
    The last video you posted “learn french in one word” is so true! But I realized that when I went to the US, the only word I was saying in french was “putain”, and more particularly when I was driving a car. So now, all of my friends who are not french (those who were in a car, with me driving) can say this word perfectly without an accent!
    I thought (cf clement’s comment under the video) that you were french when I watched your video (on facebook) and then I found your blog and realized you were american!
    En tout cas, Bravo pour tes vidรฉos et ton blog!

    • Hello Emilie, it’s true that the more you live in one place, the less you see the differences, but there are always certain things that strike me or make me appreciate more/less one culture or another. We’re all human, after all, but I love everything that’s totally different, the same, and everything in between. I’m thrilled to find you here, too, and hope you will share your experiences as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thrilled to have found your blog. I’m an east coast Canadian living in the southern United States dreaming of living in Paris…

  11. Michelle,
    Love the vids!, my wife and I (her being French and living in the U.S. for about 4 years now) think you’re beautifully crazy! We make you videos a regular stop for us almost a pick me up if you will, (she misses france quite a bit, I don’t blame her). Thank you.

    • It must be difficult, I can imagine! Thanks for having found me here — tell her “courage” and “profites des bons c๔t้s de la culture am้ricaine et garde les c๔t้s de la culture fran็aise qu’elle adore avec elle” ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s what I do here

  12. Salut Michelle!

    Juste pour dire que j’adore ton blog et tes vidรฉos! Je suis un Franรงais exilรฉ ร  Londres, et parfois la France me manque… beaucoup, surtout pour de nombreux stรฉrรฉotypes que tu sais si bien citer dans tes vidรฉos (et c’est aussi pour รงa que je les adore!!!)

    Pour terminer: continue comme รงa, c’est toujours un plaisir de dรฉcouvrir tes vidรฉos!!!
    Un grand merci!!!!

    Rรฉmi, a French guy lost in London!!!

  13. Hi Michelle!
    Your videos are really funny, and I love the way you talk about cultural differences and your experience in Paris! I just found your youtube channel and watched every single video. =)
    Please keep sharing, and have a good summer!

  14. Putain, I sure will =)

  15. Hi Michelle,

    Are you really American?? I swear you speak with a French accent! Like

  16. Hi Michelle !! just wanna say that I was really in bad mood this afternoon, I saw your video (learn french in one word) and believe it makes me laugh in the open space in my office !! was just excellent I am just back to my natural mood happy (which is my name as well) ..
    I remember how we made fun with my friends when we get to Paris first time in 2001, about french words and “manies” so special and typical ..
    cool video really should make one like “how to identify a french ” ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. lili (lautre, l'habituรฉe)

    just discovered your blog! funny , and I really feel you cause I’m both French and American

    Were you raised in France? you really have a French accent when you speak English, and your French is perfect ! How come you are not French?

    รงa m’intringue
    see ya

  18. Hey, it looks like you hit big on the scene or something, all my friends and their mothers are posting your “putain” video all over. xD So cool! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Hey, I had never thought of that word that way, but you nailed it!
    That said, the extreme rope jumping thing… I mean, don’t want to blow your party or anything, but after I published my Extreme Knitting memoires, “Knitting in a black leather jacket”, I think the concept has been a bit overdone. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Thumbs-upped your video, though, good luck!


  19. Michelle,
    I think you are awesome. Jestech Polska (of anscestry)?? I lived in Wroclaw for a few months….

    Headed (encore, quel nostalgie!) a Paris, veux tu prendre un cafe avec moi!?

    On peut replacer “cafe” avec jump rope, ou ce que tu veux.

    Keep up the great work!


  20. I just watched your youtube video (putain) and I think you’re simply too good for this world.

    Please don’t become too Parisien over time and don’t loose your smile …

    Lots of love from Montreal,

  21. Thank you for responding! mnie tez, nie mowem bardzo po polsku! One can communicate a great deal with 50 or so words though (dibs on “kurwa” video rights! haha). ๐Ÿ™‚ Allez, j’arrive a Paris le 8 Juin, avec ma guitare et pleins d’espoir. Si tu veux bien prendre un cafe, je te promets que je vais briller pour toi, et je serai ravie. benhinton87(@)hotmail.com

  22. I am a new but huge fan of your website. I absolutely adore all of your references to Sound of Music during your videos. Are you not SHOCKED each time you speak of this movie to the French….and see their blank confused stare? (same for Oprah)

  23. … Done, I’ve just published a new post about Paris (the first since I began as a blogger!). As written in this post your blog and videos inspired me, thank you… I have been living in Canada for 1.5 years and before that I lived in … Paris!

  24. Michelle, you are the funniest cutest girl I have ever seen! I also love that you are into extreme sports (watching them at least haha)

  25. Hey Michelle,

    Your videos really hit the nail. I’m a filmmaker from Rhode Island, and I’ve been living in the Ardennes for the past two years teaching english in a small town called Givet. I like your approach to portraying cultural differences. Its a theme I’m hoping to explore in my next film. Let me know if you want to collaborate on something.

  26. I just found your blog and I think it’s amazing! I move to Paris in September for a year for graduate study and am nervous because my spoken french isn’t that good. How did you get so native sounding? How long did it take you to become fluent?

    • Thanks! you must be looking forward to it. I don’t know if I sound native, but living with host families definitely helped me improve my French — when I was 18 I lived here for a year with 3 different host families, and every time after that I’ve always lived with French people ๐Ÿ˜‰

  27. haha, I have just discovered your video about the most important french word in the world :o)
    I am living in Stockholm and guess which word my Swedish colleague has learned from sitting in the same office as me? :o) From that experience, during parties abroad, I usually describe the French langage in one single keyword: putain. (in the same way as you do!) Actually, if you have the chance to read the theater play from Beaumarchais “Le mariage de Figaro”, you will see that Figaro describe English as a very easy langage with only one keyword to know “GodDamn”… same concept there too!
    Anyway, talking about theater and seeing that you like performing art like dancing, maybe you should consider doing some theater, from the video you look like suited for getting on stage.
    Good luck in Paris!

  28. Hi Michelle,

    I’m a dutch guy living in Paris for 5 years now and it’s great to see this beautiful city through the eyes of a stranger. Reminds me of my early years here and I must say I’ve gotten a bit blind of the funny way this city deviates. I hope your eagle eyes will stay fresh and observing for a long time still. please continue with your videos; really great!


  29. Hi Michelle, great videos!!

    have same question as John Fox:
    What video editing tools? Do you use a script or ad lib? Does a friend help with the camera work? How long does it take you to produce 1 minute of final video?
    I am dabbling with videos myself so your advice would be really helpful.
    Keep on going in spreading the good mood ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Margo! sure — I use Final Cut and just film myself, usually with a Sony Nex-5 and a Zoom H2 microphone. It’s scripted enough so I have my ideas in a somewhat logical order but not enough to read anything at all ๐Ÿ˜‰ Make sure to send me some of your videos!

  30. Hi Michelle,

    Keep smiling! Your “positive attitude” is really great. I’ve seen your intervention in the #140conf. You were perfect. Now I know exactly what you want to bring to the world and it’s awesome. I think the world needs more people like you. Continue to smile (it reminds me the song “Smile” of MJ). I love that.

    Greetings from Belgium!

    P.S. : I’m sorry if my English isn’t perfect.

    • Hi Soufiane, your English is great! I definitely wouldn’t say I was perfect at the #140conf, but I’m glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚ And yeah, smile ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Pingback: Observing Michelle « Wordz Sandwich

  32. Hi Michelle, I’ve seen some of your videos on youtube, they’re great! The last one about the English words made me giggle ๐Ÿ™‚ well done!

  33. Hoi, that Cecile girl from four inches above told me she had found my soulmate and that I should watch your videos. They’re ace! But could you tell her to stop trying to find soulmates for me? She might listen to you.

    • ๐Ÿ˜€ I have to say I can’t really tell her to stop if she brought you here, who knows what other surprises she holds? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  34. Stupid sunday night, seting on my computer while my french boyfriend THOUGHT he was cooking something brilliant… (of course it was only Piccard)
    after he said PUTAIN for the 16538ish time, I missed my google search (that should have been for dandaรญsm) and ended up typing PUTAIN as an environmental side effect…
    Hi, I’m a Brazilian girl, finishing her university in France and well, me and my roommate had got a fire alarm instaled in our centenar.., no no, millenar building just about 1 month before finding your videos! (please don’t judge me, I ride a scooter)
    anyways, besides really enjoying your vlog, I also would like to know in wich blog provider you first started! Cuz I write in a brazilian webblog page but commeting is very restrict and most of my french frinds can’t leave me any post (including boyfriend, which is big issue since he is probably the only person who really appreciates whatever I write).
    Well, greetings and hope you do great in you Paris adventure:)
    Renata Peloso

    • Hi Renata ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s definitely the best story I’ve ever heard of someone ending up here ! I use wordpress for my blogs, which is free, and I would recommend ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy (writing?) — send a link!

  35. Michelle,
    I can’t believe you are American. Real American people can tell you are not. I don’t know why you want to tell the entire world you are. That’s funny.

  36. I got confused by your accent on the “French in one word” video. You sounded more French than American. Listened to the other videos.. You ARE American! Yaaay! Sorry about that

  37. I got confused by your accent on the “French in one word” video. You sounded more French than American. Listened to the other videos.. You ARE American! Yaaay! Sorry about that well… now I’m going to jump off a bridge because I’m ashamed lol

  38. So… Oui, j’aime beaucoup vos videos. You are very funny and you know what? I’m going to follow you from now on! Very sorry for that stupid comment, I got mad at some random guy a few days ago. He pretended to be English – and he obviously wasn’t… Today I watched your putain video and… was the last straw… you fooled me with your perfect putain! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And since I could hear a French accent even when you spoke English I got crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰ Question: You took that French accent on purpose, right? I mean… I’m not the only one who could hear – I know that for a fact hehe!

  39. I am zorry buut zeere iz another ezzzential weerd iuu muzt no when iu arre leeving in la France (and zee not France (i.e. Paris!)… it compliments zee other werd very well az a matter of fact!

  40. Hi Michelle,

    i just wanna congratulate you for this great initiative. I’m 28 and i’m french from Paris living in the Philippines (in Cebu City) since 5 years and sometimes i miss France and Paris so much. Since i discovered your blog and videos, i found a way to gain back a positive mind. Every time i feel blue i’ll just watch one of your sarcastic videos.
    Putain, c’est trop fort!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just keep it up! ๐Ÿ˜‰



  41. Hi Michelle… You are simply cool girl ๐Ÿ™‚ If you happen to be in London I think we need to go for a dinner. Actually we can go out anywhere in the world. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just let me know when you have free time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    see you :))))

  42. Hi Michelle.
    I Loved all your videos, specially the one on “Putain”, I now laugh nearly each time I use it ( as a good french), great job!

  43. you av still nott found zee ozer word? ai ai ai… sacre bleu

  44. Dear Michelle,
    I must thank you, I have been following your blog for months, and as a French residing in Mexico, I was somehow tempted to grow anti-American, but you, young lady, are among the best Americans I’ve ever saw, who give a particular taste for this great country to which I consecrated my whole first novel. So, thank you a lot for entertaining us.
    If you ever organize an IRL for your Parisian fans, it will be a pleasure for me to meet you.
    Kisses (and I hope my English isn’t that dreadful),

    Arthur, part-time French, part-time Mexican

    • Hi Arthur! WOW, thanks for your message. I think it’s possible to become anti-anything (including anti-French, living here!) but the important thing is to keep things in perspective. From the first time I came to France as an exchange student, Rotary told us “it’s not better or worse — it’s just different” — and it’s so true. As much as you can dump on any culture for one thing or another, the fact is we’re all human and just have learned different cues for expressing and understanding different situations. I think I’m going to definitely have to have a meet-up for the blog’s anniversary..are you here in September? ๐Ÿ˜€

      We still have to do that wine tasting !!

      Bises M

  45. Well, I will be there from September, 8th, I just need a few time in order to make all the registration for my history studies. Please send me an email at arthurvonboutinstein@gmail.com (my personal email adress, as I couldn’t find your own), so we can keep in touch.

  46. Hey Michelle,
    Great videos. I watched them from a Shangri-la hotel room in Southeast Asia… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Profite bien de l’ete parisien.

  47. At the risk of sounding like a stalker (swear I’m not haha), I read up on you a little because I wondered what kind of background would produce such a character!

    “The Observing Participant” struck me as a title, but when I discovered your background in anthropology I suddenly wasn’t surprised haha. Way to mix passions ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, UPitt – nice! I studied at Penn for a year before moving back to Manila. ๐Ÿ™‚ Left because I realized I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for YET, making a comeback on the world stage though as I’ll be in Sciences Po this fall for an exchange program! So maybe I’ll actually bump into you, that would be lovely haha.

    Keep up the thirst for learning; that’s exactly what I try to do as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bisous!

  48. Hello,

    First off, congrats on your blog, I love it.

    I’m writing because I used a couple samples from one of your videos to make a techno track.
    I’m taking 2 “putains” from the “learn french in one word” video.
    The track will be done soon, the part using your samples can be listened to at http://chuckprudence.com/mp3/s4.mp3 .
    This is not intended for commercial release, it will be posted for free download on my website.

    I am hoping you are ok with me using your work. Otherwise just say so and I will take it down.

    “chuck prudence”

  49. Hi Michelle,

    I suppose I’m just another admirer! Found this blog while I was writing my own mini series on my blog called, “Hey France, I comprends pas”. Because, there are SO many things that I comprends pas about France (ie: screenless windows, full length baby blue Adidas track suits, etc). However I’m also interested in the work you’ve done for Synthesio and now Seesmic. I have a couple questions and I was wondering if you’d be so kind as to send me an email at: stephanienng26(at)gmail(.)com. I would really really appreciate it!

    Also while you’re in SF check out @parisoma we’re a French friendly coworking space and love to have a good time! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Hi Stephanie,

      I walked by Parisoma! It’s actually right next to Seesmic’s SF offices ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll send a “hello” to your email ๐Ÿ˜‰ So glad you found me!

  50. Hi Michelle,

    I’m really enjoying your videos and just watched the “scooter” one.
    I am today a scooter driver but had the same problem too…FEAR!

    Just take a class in a “auto ecole” it really give you self confidence! It’s called the BSR.
    Also, my thing was to start OUTSIDE PARIS (very important), maybe it’s your chance to take a nice trip to Greece or (less sexy) to Paris suburbs!


  51. Hi Michelle,

    I am sure that you get asked this gazillions of times, but any tips for other American girls hoping and wishing to land a job in France?



    • Hi Sheila,

      no worries ๐Ÿ™‚ I would hiiighly recommend (that’s how I got here) doing an internship in France (do a Google search “stage Paris”) and work with a company you’d like to work for full time. Let them know that you’d like to work full time with them, because having a company sponsor you for a Visa is the best and easiest way ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck!


  52. Wow. Not sure how I stumbled across your blog and youtube channels…but am so glad I did. Love your sense of humor and quirky style. Makes me miss Paris so much. And of course leaves me wondering why I don’t have any cool friends like you…

    Cheers from Seattle

  53. I came across your funny videos totally by accident and I’m so glad that I did! I love your style and sense of humour. Btw. do you happen to have polish origins? Your surname is quite suggestive. That would actually explain your appearance as we all know polish women are the prettiest in the world ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, huge thanks for all your work here. Waiting for more! Hugs

    • Ahahaha something tells me you have a liiiiiittle bit of Polish in you ๐Ÿ˜‰ And yeah, my dad was born in Sweden, but it was as my grandparents were fleeing Poland in the 40s

      Glad you found me here ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Hi Michelle,

    A French friend of mine living in the USA (and married to a good ol’ boy from Tennessee, bless his heart) sent me a link to “putain” which resulted in my wife sticking her head round my office door to see if I was OK. “Thought you were having a seizure”…which I was, in a way. As a culturally deeply confused person (born Scotland, high-school England, teenage summers in France, college in North Carolina (Go Heels!), work (TV) all over the world) I LOVE your take on things, especially on the French. You ought to do one on “Dรฉsolรฉ M’sieu,” the motto of French officialdom at every level.

    I live in England but among other things I am a partner in a media consultancy in Montparnasse and I’m very often in Paris. You must have a lot of fun with the French. I often get puzzled looks when speaking to strangers, followed by “Vous รชtes peut-รชtre Belge, Monsieur?” “Non.” “Suisse?” “Non.” “Canadien?””Non.” “QUOI ALORS???” “Ecossais.”. “Ah non, c’est pas possible…” They love it when you give their language the old college try, but when they can’t tell you’re a foreigner it upsets them, ever noticed that?

    Please keep it up. You’re going to be a big star one of these days.


  55. Just read your ‘Grand Startup Recap of LeWeb 2011’ , then your blog, watched some of your video’s and only then……decided YOU were whom I wanted to contact. Obviously, from the lack of data on their site, the Le Web organizers are a clandestine group of effete coders, cloistered in the 13รจme because of an addiction to Chinese cuisine, will only drink Romanee Conti Vos Romanee, are Illuminati proletariat’s at heart, yet want no one to know this fact – hence I / we cannot contact them directly.

    M’aider, s’il vous plaรฎt ! I could really use an address for the LeWeb 2012 organizational committee, and a contact name for the speaker selections.
    My friend/client is an international Futurist – speaks aX the globe (to large Corp’s & other Bsns groups) – hosts a USA wide Inventors Showcase – offers multiple programs @ his 12 year old DaVinci Institute. com – and has authored 2 books on the Future. He just wants to be able to send this material to the committee for their review as to potential inclusion in next years event. Any insight will be MOST appreciated.

    A J Cohen – Founder
    IMBUE Strategy
    Denver, Colorado

  56. Hey Michelle!
    Just wanna say that I really like your videos, your energy, your joy..! haha Seriously, I wish there were more people like you out there. Keep up with the good work!
    Greetz from Brazil ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. Your humour is refreshing! I’m a Canadian living in Paris with hopes of moving to San Francisco within the next few years (double eek) It’s virtually impossible for me to get to the states! Anyway my boyfriend and I love meeting other expats like us (by that I mean, I’m a fully loaded engineering geekette and he a social media star). hopefully our paths will cross one day! i just started a blog but i havent really found my rhythm yet or ‘image’ if you will. here it is! http://abisouslife.blogspot.com anyway.
    love your work . bisous fois dix!

  58. Just found your blog! So, and I know you are probably tired of answering this, but at one point in your video about the 3 english words you need, you said something about being a native french speaker?? so are you american but grew up speaking french? i’d believe you if you just learned it and have such a great accent because i know people who have gotten that good, its just incredible, i wish i could speak with such fluency…

    You rock! And I loved the putain video, it really is what I had been saying all along!

  59. My French teacher once shouted “putain” quite loudly in a Marseille restaurant to prove to us how normal les gros mots were in the region, but when he did the same further north he received a challenging look from the startled diners sat within earshot. Is there a reason for this phenomenon (if it truly exists)?

  60. Michelle!

    I love your videos and admire your voice as a foreigner in Paris.

    I want to hear more about your experience. I am preparing to visit France (language learning, looking up the history of various cities, considering what challenges may come up for me) as I contemplate living in France.

    Will you email me to schedule a time or begin a conversation?

    Thank you and bless your heart!

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    Just randomly stumbled upon your blog in my favorites – had not checked it for a while, et pour cause ! Any chance to see more updates ? Did you just move on to something else ?

    All the best,

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