Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Someone else is living your French life

I'm pretty sure there used to be a blog with this title, but I can't find it anymore. So to the anonymous blogger who came up with the great title, thank you.

I think the original blogger meant the title to reflect the feeling that many expats in France have that their life there isn't what they thought it would be and that someone else is living the amazing, idyllic French life you thought you would have, complete with gorgeous boyfriend and perfect apartment overlooking the Seine, whereas your reality is more along the lines of a 9m2 former maid's room and long, lonely weekends.

I dealt with my own share of frustrations in France, but overall I had a great time. Now that I'm back in the US, everyone in France is living MY French life. It's la rentree, the time when everyone goes back to school and work, so so the fact that "my French life" is most likely over, or at least on a very extended hiatus, is on my mind a lot. I would be so ghttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifrateful for one last run in with my monster class, or another altercation with the agent comptable, or even getting stuck in a transportation greve (strike). I find myself nostalgic for the bureaucratic garbage, the brain dead idiots in Picardie, my yogurt stealing neighbor, teaching, my coworkers, my students, being able to go to Paris whenever I wanted... the list goes on.

I'm insanely jealous of everyone in France. I'm fully aware that it isn't a perfect life, and I know there are plenty of problems one encounters living in France, but that's the life that I want. Everyone in France is living my French life. If you live in France, no matter how miserable you are, I WANT YOUR LIFE. Sadly the chances of anyone willingly exchanging lives with me are very slim, but if you're up for it, we can arrange something! My mom will cook you dinner every night, if that helps sweeten the deal. She's a fantastic cook. She also likes to bake :)

So guys, when the going gets tough, just remind yourself that there's a girl in Michigan who wishes she were dealing with your tough goings. On the other hand, I know that there are probably people who are, in fact, miserable enough that they wish they had my life. At least I have a good health care policy, a roof over my head, and food on my table every day. Sadly a lot of people can't say that.

On one level, my point is that we should all try to be more content with what we have because there's always someone worse off (and wouldn't it suck to be the person at the bottom of that list who really is the worst off?), and there's always someone who is jealous of you and wants your life.

On another level, I really am saying that someone else is living my French life and I would like it back, please. Hand it over.


Zhu said...

I tend to be jealous of people living my dream backpacking trips so I can relate. If I could give you my French passport and ship you there safely for a while, I would. :-(

I believe in karma. Yours is pretty good and yes, despite the tough challenges you had the last few years, I believe you have a bright future - in France, cela va sans dire.

Amber said...

I'll think of you today as I live my French life. When i'm in a traffic jam flipping off a motorcyclist who nearly hits me, or complaining that it's already so damn cold and it's just now September, or when my neighbors go psycho and do something else that reminds me why we should have moved to Mouvaux and not Tourcoing, i'll think of you :)
It's definitely never perfect, but you are right.. It's not so bad!

Ksam said...

Would you even take my life back in 2008, when I was watching the past seven years of my life crumble into tiny little pieces (along with my broken heart)? Not to mention all of those really crappy/isolated years I spent in Bretagne? Are you sure you don't want to have a rethink? LOL

Seriously though, that is exactly what I kept telling myself in the early days, when I had gone from having a normal life in a big house to a shoebox sans douche. At least it was a shoebox sans douche in Paris right?? Telling myself that a lot of people would give anything to be in my shoes helped me keep it all in perspective.

And I too have faith that you will make it back to France some day - there's always the assistantship again! :)

Anonymous said...

Would you take my place with the horrid supervisor just to live in France?

Sorry I'm one of those people who is living your French life and not overly content with it (although I tend to moan a lot about things on the blog when that's only really 25% of what's going on). I do appreciate everything else in France sans this PhD. My friends, the boyfriend I met because I came to France, the chance to travel and absorb other cultures. Sometimes its hard to see the good things.. but they are there.

I'm sure you'll get back over to France even if it's just an extended holiday. France will be waiting for you :)!

Jennie said...

Don't tempt me! I am pretty miserable in France most days and miss Michigan a lot. But I'm sure I'd still be miserable there, as it's most likely not the place where I live, but rather frustration with a lack of a career and steady income. Even in North America, I'd probably have that same problem. :/

au soleil levant said...

Zhu - thanks! Hope you're right...

Amber - lol, sounds like one of my days in the US. Honking at bad drivers, complaining about the excessive heat (that I would definitely trade for too cold!). I don't have crazy white trash neighbors but every single road in town is under construction, does that count? Here's hoping today is less frustrating for you.

Ksam - Isolated in Bretagne sounds better than isolated in Michigan! LOL. I guess my other point is that I would rather have shitty things happen to me somewhere else, rather than here in the US. You are definitely a wonderful example of someone who always tries to make the best of a bad situation and put things in perspective. Thanks

Kim - Isn't it satisfying to really hate someone though? Don't you kind of enjoy hating your supervisor? LOL. Glad you still see the good despite all the bad. And remember, it's almost over! Thanks.

Jennie - yeah, the job market, especially in Michigan, is really terrible. I hope you are able to find something for this year! So many people appreciate the work you do with your language learning tools and English lesson plans on your blog, including me!

Amber said...

Mira -- dedicated my blog post to you today :)

getyourselfconnected said...

I am sorry you miss Paris (and the rest of France I imagine) so much. I think you know how I feel about big metro cities! I maybe could trade you the fall fishing season in Michigan (awesome!!!!!!!) for aome Cambridge/Boston time? I just need to teach you to clone some genes for a couple months. Oh and cook dinner for the the wife and mom inlaw. See nothing is for free!

You really miss those folks in Picardie? (yeah I always read backlinks, another guy I would love to "explain" things to my style)

I hope you are doing ok; sorry again for the missing Paris part. Hey, it is almost NFL season!

au soleil levant said...

Amber - you definitely had a heck of a day! Wrote a response on your blog.

GYSC - Oooh, I could totally learn to clone some genes! Let's trade! I can't promise stellar cooking results, since most of my cooking revolves around pasta, but who doesn't like pasta, right?

I don't miss the idiots in Picardie at all, but I do miss the funny stories I get out of them! I think he could definitely use a little 'splaining, your style.

And yes, football season starting up is a good thing. They don't have that in France.

Leesa said...

Sam-- you're life is pretty good now, though!! Esp. since you moved and since you met your very cute French beau!!
Chapeau to you for getting past all the hard stuff and putting it all behind you...
Ms. Frenchie, I might add!!!

Cheers, Leese

Leesa said...

I am sooo glad to be back 'home' after all that travel.. but honestly, Mira.. I am just really HOPING that you can make it back here and you can stay with us, too... And that you and I can travel together again...
I'm looking forward to that!!

Hugs to you... and lots of ice cream!