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why france

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?