Austin – Allison Berguin from France

I wanted to feature Allison for multiple reasons. Not in any particular order: She is French (Bastille Day weekend), she lives in my building, she has been an immense help with EuroCircle, she is super nice and interesting – and I still recall thinking she is from Europe when I saw her first time! It is that little touch on French chic…she had it even dressed casually!

Tell us about yourself- who are you and what would be the short story of your life? (where are you from, where did you study, how did you come to Austin, what do you do for work etc so people get to know you)

Who am I? Great question! I am a hybrid of French and American. I was born in Senegal (Africa) but was brought up in both France and the United Arab Emirates for most of my years. After graduating from high school in math and sciences, I opted to go to college in America. Why Texas? I had a big craving for BBQ… I graduated from UT Austin in Economics, and have now been in Austin for 8 years! I have been working in finance and marketing, both of which have been very enriching experiences. While grateful for my opportunities, it is time for a change…what will be the next big career

We know that motorcycles/F1 is very important for you – could you tell us more about it?

While I do enjoy the F1, my biggest passion rests in motorcycles. As the youngest, and most rebellious child, I have always had the urge for the extremes. My brother triggered this passion of mine (he probably is not very thrilled about it). In college, my brother only had a motorcycle as sole means of transportation. I use to ride in the back and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I use to sit on the motorcycle and smile. I then decided to get my license and a bike of my very own (I named her Gia). It all starts there…
My best friend introduced me to MotoGP back in 2010, and I had the privilege of meeting Marco Simoncelli. I was immersed in the sport and fell in love. From the smell of the burnt tires, to the screaming of the engine at high rpm’s, my life felt complete for just a moment.
The point is, I never rode tandem again! Your control is your power.

What is THE thing about Austin that captivates you the most?

THE thing about Austin that captivates me most is the people. I have met some incredible people here. Austin cultivates a melting pot. Although I have lived a minority of my time in America, I do not feel like an outsider. I embrace the Europeans and Americans coming together and teaching each other about their ways. I feel different parts of the world connect in harmony and that makes me happy.

If someone asked you what I should NOT miss while in Austin, what would reply? And what I really SHOULD miss….

Well obviously, you should not miss the EuroCircle events! 😉 The list is long:
What you should NOT miss:
Austin is very outdoorsy: lake side activities such as Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, Boating, Wake Surfing and so forth may be some of the most popular activities.
Austin is a mover and a shaker. Get involved politically: go visit the beautiful Capitol, attend sessions and get involved with organizations representing a cause you want to fight for.
Austin hosts many great restaurants, but most especially, it is the home of food trailers. Food trailers are very affordable and give you great quality for the price. My favorites: Lucky’s Puccia, Bomb Taco’s, Gradj Mahal and East Side Kings.
What you SHOULD miss:
Eating at fast food restaurants – this applies anywhere…

Anything truly memorable that has happened to you since you have lived in Austin

Yep – instead of sipping wine and cheese, I know savor beer and queso. Oh my! Is this my queue to move back? …

What really annoys you about Austin – or maybe nothing does?

PARKING! If you can walk, bike or car pool – do it!

What do you miss most from your country or Europe…in addition to the family and friends?

I mostly miss the proximity of countries. Transportation makes traveling so easy and accessible to all Europeans to go and explore different arts, cultures, landscapes, languages, foods and habitats. The world is vast and I wish I could stay connected.

Do you have a favorite Austin/area restaurant? Why….what is the good and bad about restaurant culture in your opinion in Austin.

My favorite restaurant is Justine’s. I love everything about it. The food represents French cuisine nicely and the portions are not extravagant. The wine selection is nice and affordable. What keeps me going back is the staff and atmosphere. This restaurant built their clientele on mostly word of mouth. This is the strongest marketing tool and you will have something in common with anyone you meet there. It’s like a big family reunion on the far East side of Austin.
However, I miss the art of the culinary. While Austin does have good restaurants, I feel the way the meal is appreciate and served is more like a fast turn over rather than an experience and pleasure. Not everything has to be rushed…unless you’re on a bad date.

Where and how would you live in Austin or elsewhere if money is not an obstacle?

If money were not an obstacle? Well, I would have my good friend Winn Wittman design a house for me in the Westlake area. Westlake is perfectly located: next to the lake, close to the epicenter of downtown Austin and secluded from noise and traffic. Immersed in nature but a step away from artifacts.

What do you think about the cost of living in Europe vs Austin, TX – and the standard of life and life style?

Aside from wine, education and healthcare, the cost of everyday life is much more affordable in Austin. Let’s just say that my best friend lives in a 500sqf apartment in France and pays the same price I do for living in a 1,222sqt. However, people have different priorities and perspectives on what is most important in their life style and well being…it is very subjective.

If you could change something about Austin – what would it be?

Build under ground parking.

Anything else you feel you’d like to share with us about Austin or yourself? Plan to stay here….

Nothing to add, but feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. Hook’em horns and vive la France!

Connect with Allison Berguin at EuroCircle Forums
Connect with Allison Berguin at Facebook