How a pair from America dream ex-pat life in Paris grew to become an enormous nightmare

KJ and Tony Foster on a street in Paris


April 12, 2023 | 1:15 pm

When you had gone on YouTube a number of months in the past and clicked on a channel referred to as KJ and Tony Transfer To France, you’d have seen a contented American couple visiting the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre and stopping for sockets and expressos on the boulangerie close to their quaint AirB&B walkup on Rue de la Harpe in Paris’ bustling Quartier Latin.

KJ Foster, 58, and her 66-year-old husband, Tony, left their snug life in sunny Boca Raton, Florida, final yr to meet their dream of residing as Parisians by promoting or gifting away nearly all their possessions and forsaking beloved members of the family.

They began filming theirs la vie en rose creativeness and add it to YouTube.

Within the first month their channel grew to become successful and so they rapidly gained 1000’s of followers.

However behind the digicam, the Parisian romance had become a nightmare because of French conceitedness, language difficulties, homesickness, the challenges of residing in walk-up residences and a foul French onion soup.

The Fosters, 58 and 66, have turned their act right into a profitable YouTube channel, inviting followers to observe their journey. However, they inform The Put up, the fact was removed from being la vie en rose.

Now, just some months after touchdown within the Metropolis of Gentle with its charming cafes, huge boulevards and world-renowned delicacies, they reluctantly returned dwelling to start out yet again, transferring right into a rental and shopping for new furnishings, hoping to maneuver once more in Paris, possibly part-time, in a yr or two.

In preparation for the transfer final November, Tony advised The Put up, We bought our 4 automobiles, gave away our furnishings, our 5 big-screen TVs, most of our possessions.

A few yr earlier than they left, they even bought their home, benefiting from Florida’s booming actual property market and figuring out they might at some point reside in Paris.

The Fosters packed their lives into simply three suitcases every and headed to Paris final November.
They grew to become a success on YouTube for exhibiting life in Paris, just like the scenes in Montmartre.
KJ and Tony Foster

The one warning they obtained about their main transfer was from KJ’s octogenarian mom.

My mother mentioned to me, ‘Are you positive you wish to do that, as a result of what if you happen to come again?’ KJ mentioned.

I mentioned, I used to be NOT coming again, aside from visits. However mom all the time is aware of greatest.

KJ and Tony had made the ultimate choice to maneuver to Paris full time once they flew there final Could for the Thursday to Monday weekend, which is a bit excessive, he admits. It wasn’t their first go to. However we had such a good time, we mainly fell in love with Paris, which trumped every part else.

Arriving with some issues in suitcases, neither of them spoke French, which KJ now admits was an enormous mistake, as Parisians have a frosty perspective in direction of non-French audio system.

On their YouTube channel, the Fosters confirmed off the sights of the Metropolis of Gentle, together with having the ability to go to Versailles.
The couple’s YouTube channel grew to become a success once they confirmed off their 431-square-foot Airbnb, whose beamed ceilings had been certainly one of its sights once they agreed to lease it out.
The couple confirmed the view from Rue de la Harpe on the 4th ground, within the Latin Quarter, however in actuality the shortage of an elevator was changing into a burden.

We had the expertise of individuals saying they did not perceive us, however they understood much more than they had been keen to confess, KJ, a local of Sayville, Lengthy Island, advised The Put up. They are saying un peuthat’s, little, once they truly converse English fluently.

One other concern they confronted was Parisian conceitedness. In the event that they weren’t well mannered, Tony famous, I left it as much as them.

A former restaurant chain govt, he later earned a doctorate and labored in habit therapy earlier than retiring.

KJ is a counselor and psychotherapist. Each recovering addicts, he has been sober for 20 years, she for 14.

They met at an AA assembly, they proudly state, and have been married for 13 years.

In response to Tony, it was a confluence of occasions and some glitches alongside the best way that created an ideal storm of six or seven issues all coming collectively that resulted in them abandoning their Paris dream, at the very least for now, and returning dwelling.

Once they agreed to lease their quaint 431-square-foot beamed ceiling, 4u ground, two bed room unit- smaller than we had been used to and each assumed it was in a constructing with an elevator.

However once they arrived, they had been dismayed to find that they needed to climb 4 flights of stairs, 59 steps in all, a number of occasions a day.

The shortage of lifts in Paris has been an issue for the Fosters as effectively, and a characteristic of their YouTube content material, together with this journey to the highest of the Arc de Triomphe.
Climbing these 4 flights of stairs on daily basis, a number of occasions a day, began as a exercise and have become one of many elements that compelled the couple to return to Boca Raton.

Their short-term location was actually across the nook from Notre Dame, with Tony visiting the gothic cathedral as typically as twice a day.

Of their premiere video, they filmed themselves huffing and puffing up the ladder, with Tony candidly telling viewers: It is undoubtedly a exercise.

Nevertheless it was KJ who would endure probably the most. She was a runner when she was youthful and developed a foul knee.

These lengthy stairs grew to become hell for her.

Inside their tiny condo was a fair smaller kitchen, however the Fosters loved the Paris meals scene right down to a cheeky French onion soup.

Going up and down the steps obtained to the purpose, she says, the place the ache waking me up at night time was far more than I used to be used to.

Nevertheless it wasn’t like I needed to return to the US due to my knee. It was a mix of many issues.

Amongst them was the sudden expertise of despair and a extreme case of homesickness, he says, all taking place without delay. I suppose I simply did not anticipate the seriousness of it.

Whereas their YouTube channel KJ And Tony Transfer To Paris wasn’t Emily In Paris, Netflix’s widespread rom-com about an American lady who goes to work for a French social media firm KJ and Tonys channel out of the blue exploded with new viewers.

A profitable video was their discovery of a Parisian culinary phenomenon: the US Sizzling Canine stand.

He had sauerkraut with the canine, and to be oriental a scorching canine has to have sauerkraut, Tony fondly remembers. We made a video of it and simply discovered the place we went like each weekend.

However the curiosity in life in Paris was so nice, says KJ, that it induced her monumental stress and nervousness to supply increasingly more movies.

Once we began this journey, I believed, let’s make some movies. It was very informal, he says. We created the primary video, which was our Paris tour, and it took off, we monetized it, and we began incomes advert income, in lower than a month and we had eight thousand subscribers in lower than a month and with me focusing time and a spotlight within the movies, it grew to become very overwhelming.

The demand for content material about life within the Metropolis of Gentle proved overwhelming for KJ Foster

He feels he obtained addicted once more this time to supply extra movies.

Tony was saying slowly. We do not have to take action a lot, like not put a lot strain on ourselves, and I believe all of that contributed to my despair. It performed an necessary position, completely. It was an habit, it is past actual.

We had been getting constructive suggestions from the movies and other people had been having fun with them, and I felt like, Oh, I should not let individuals down. They’ll really feel disillusioned if I do not publish a video each week.

Tony believes the channel has been profitable due to our personalities and KJs persona as a result of the digicam loves it.

He says it is largely about Paris, and their transfer there caught the general public’s consideration.

Along with her knee drawback, which can result in alternative surgical procedure, her despair, homesickness, and nervousness from feeding the YouTube machine, KJ suffered from extreme meals poisoning, probably from French onion soup.

Again in Florida: The Fosters at the moment are again in Boca Raton, in a rental, after their Paris dream fell aside.

It is arduous to say the place I obtained it from, he says.

However wherever he was, he fell violently sick.

It obtained worse, and that is after I began pondering that I simply needed to go dwelling. I could not consider anything however to go dwelling and be snug. It was actually a darkish age.

KJ and Tony had deliberate to drive to Good, within the south of France, however determined that flying dwelling was a greater guess than being in a automobile all day and never figuring out if and after I would have the ability to entry a bathroom. I insisted Tony go to Good with out me as a result of I used to be in such a adverse way of thinking and I knew it would not be useful for him to return with me.

I truly felt a way of aid figuring out I used to be coming dwelling and Tony can be following quickly, she says.

I felt that Boca is the place we must be in the meanwhile. Subsequent time our journey again to Paris is not essentially going to, oh, rise up and transfer completely. There can be extra of those, I believe backwards and forwards.

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