In the end, I still choose France (for now)

Remember that list of reasons why I live in France that I posted a few months ago? Numbers 2, 5, and 8 are really relevant right now. I’ve only worked two days since December 16, and I still have another week off before the second semester starts. The 3 inches of snow we got last week meant I couldn’t use my car to get to work, but I could very easily hop on a bus. During my vacation, I’m trying to focus on German since I will be going there in June and it’s quite nice to be able to switch on the TV to Deutsche Welle and Arte.

So why am I bringing this up now? Various reasons, I suppose. Christmas and winter always make me homesick since I don’t particularly like either of them in France. I’m going to have to renew my residency card this spring and I’m afraid French bureaucracy will continue to screw up, meaning I will be slightly illegal here and I won’t be able to receive my salary. (I’ll leave my rant about why I hate being an immigrant for another day.) And of course, I will be unemployed once again this fall, which is the biggest problem I have with France at the moment. I am beyond tired of temporary jobs with low pay. I have a Master’s degree and 5 years of teaching experience, yet I still can only get jobs as an “assistant” of sorts and not a real teacher. I just feel like I’m worth more than 13k a year, you know?

Once again I’m weighing the pros and cons of living in France vs. the US. But similar to how I felt last summer, I’m sure it’s just a matter of the grass being greener on the other side. Yet every time I cross over to the other side, I find out it’s astroturf and I’m quickly reminded why I wanted to leave in the first place.

Right now I’m struggling most with the money issue. I thought by now I’d have a real career – maybe even a house if I ever decided to stay in one place long enough. Having a fulfilling job and feeling like I’m actually contributing to society is really important to me. I wanted to be able to donate money to charities that empower women and fight against poverty and start a scholarship fund for students learning foreign languages. But I need to earn money in order to give it away. I don’t think I will ever have that opportunity in France.  Even if/when I become a French citizen, starting a career will be just as hard and the salaries will be just as low. Having a job you like isn’t exactly important in French society, and changing your career even once is rarely done – not to mention few French people donate to charities because they don’t have the money and they assume the government will take care of people anyway.

Career-wise, I really don’t see how I can ever be happy in France. I will always equate living in France with being poor. Unless I can somehow make a living with my website instead of constantly searching for a job in this country. But getting paid in dollars when you live in the eurozone is just depressing. Even in Germany, salaries are higher even though the government is just as socialist and taxes are just as high. So why does France have to keep its people so poor?

More Snow and More Vacation

Rhône-Alpes is supposed to get more snow on Friday. The forecast says neige forte, and they’re predicting around 6 inches for Chambéry.  Good thing I don’t have to go anywhere and David’s work is only a few blocks away so he can walk. I’m already back on (paid) vacation after two days of phonetics exams […]

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Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! Actually, please stop…

Woke up to this: Did not expect that much snow. I could have sworn the forecast just said flurries. I have to give oral exams tomorrow at the university and I have a feeling I’ll need to take the bus. If this van couldn’t get out of its parking spot, my car is doomed. At […]

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The Beginning Translator’s Workbook (French to English)

I bought The Beginning Translator’s Workbook: Or the ABC of French to English Translation a long time ago when I thought I might want to try translating as a career and I finally got around to reading it this past week. It actually offers a lot of good tips for switching between the two languages […]

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Two Thousand Ten / Deux Mille Dix

Happy 2010! (for those who follow the Gregorian calendar) Happy something else equally pointless! (to those who don’t) I am not a fan of New Year’s except for the fact that it’s a non-religious holiday and we don’t have to work. So yay to that!

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Sight-seeing in Chambéry

Having guests stay with you means you can finally be a tourist in your own town. Jessica, an English assistant from 2 years ago, was back in France to visit her boyfriend, and they stayed with us for 2 days before heading back to Annecy and then up to Strasbourg. Even though we’ve lived here […]

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Third Christmas in France

My first Christmas in France was in 2006. I had just arrived in September and met David shortly after, and since I had no plans (no money) to go back to the US for Christmas, I spent it with his family. It was interesting and different but it just didn’t feel right. Especially when they […]

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Looking Ahead to 2010

Winter seems to be over already. Those 3 days of cold and snow were enough. Now it’s rainy and nearly 50 F, which is fine by me since I only like winter in North America. One good thing about not going home for Christmas is not getting stuck at airports or train stations like so […]

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Lost: Motivation

I had intended to work on my website during vacation, but my lack of motivation is astounding. I keep thinking about next semester and what I should be doing to prepare for it even though it doesn’t start until January 18. Then I think about the summer and what I should be doing to prepare […]

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Dreaming of a White Christmas…

Il a neigé sur Chambéry hier ! / It snowed in Chambery yesterday! The parking lot yesterday when the snow started The parking lot this morning Someone didn’t know what to think about the white flakes My poor little car (the roads and sidewalks are not salted or cleared at all) I tried to make […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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