Pivt User Interview Series: Melanie Terrasse
Introducing Pivt User Interview Series! Hear from real Pivt’ers about their experiences moving and traveling.
Where have you lived?
In France, near Paris and Bordeaux. In the US, a bit all over the east coast: Newark, Delaware; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Princeton, New Jersey; New York; and Philadelphia, where I currently live.
Favorite restaurant(s) in your home cities?
In Bordeaux, Lieuditvin has incredible food for an extremely reasonable price, and the setting is really lovely.
In Newark, Homegrown, their artichoke dip and soups are the best.
In Lancaster, Luca, which I think might just be my favorite restaurant overall. I’m obsessed with their burrata and pretty much their entire menu.
Finally, in Philly I really like Interstate Draft House, home of the Fishtown Iced Tea and a really good chorizo mac’n’cheese.
Must do’s in your home city:
Bordeaux is what I consider my original home city. If you go there, go to Lieuditvin for dinner and walk around the waterfront before or afterwards. I also recommend visiting a chateau/driving around wine country, and going to the Pyla Dune.
What was the reason for the move?
We moved from Bordeaux to Newark, DE for my dad’s job. I was 14 and my sister was 12. It wasn’t the easiest transition and it took some time to get used to, but we certainly made it work!
What was the most difficult thing to adjust to? How did you tackle it?
Being the only French girl in an American high school was close to my worst nightmare as an awkward teenager! There was a lot to adjust to: language, cultural differences, teenage cliques, stricter high school rules… I was fortunate enough to be able to transfer to a smaller school my senior year a year after moving to the United States, which did ease the transition. It wasn’t until college, however, that I felt I could finally be myself without being limited by language or cultural gaps.
What are some small gestures you did to make your new city feel like home?
Decorating my apartment in a way that feels cozy and personalized definitely helps. I also just love walking through different parts of the city as part of my regular routine, taking the subway, etc…. It makes me feel like I’m more a part of the place and connected to other residents. Joining clubs or leagues also definitely is a good way to feel more ownership of a place and meet people, in my case through theater classes.
Do you have any moving hacks you can share?
If you are lucky enough to have a big-ish apartment, try not to fill it up with stuff just because! You never know where you’re going to move next. Other than that… If you just moved and you’re near a university, see if you can get on their for free or for sale page, it’s a good way to come across decent furniture items that college students are selling for cheap or giving away.
What do you miss about your old home?
I miss French culture a lot: different interaction styles, the slower pace of life, the weather in the summer. That said, Philadelphia is an amazing city and I love living here while being able to go back to Bordeaux to visit regularly.