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Millie

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  1. I am so glad to hear that the Pole d'Emploi in Burgundy is better.  I know it's an area of high unemployment, so it's great to hear that some Brits do succeed.  The initial people at the Pole d'Emploi were great, really nice, and shocked when I told them what had occurred on their course.  Maybe the course administrator was just a horrid hag from hell who didn't like the look of me.  However, having read the replies on here, I was sadly not too surprised.  Some years ago my sister tried to work here, teaching English - bearing in mind she has two MAs, one in English Literature, and one in Linguistics and is a qualified teacher with oodles of experience, she thought she might find work.  She was told several times that French people are better at teaching English, and this seemed to be an accepted given. I just somehow figured that time had moved on, and things may have changed. 

    I will find work - the course at the Pole d'Emploi made me realise just how horribly capable I am!  So there was a positive outcome!  My main fear is that having read some of the responses, I worry for my son.  He has always been teased at school about having foreign parents, but I now realise that these teasings may be more than just kids being horrid. 

    I have determined that by Christmas I shall be an employed and fully functioning worker at something or another, even if I have to build my own factory and production line, in order to give myself a job pushing a button!  The only question now is whether or not I want to be accepted as part of a society, that I had previously thought I was accepted into?

  2. Oh, I cannot express how your comments have made me feel better.  Stupid I know, but for the last couple of days, I have really been 'off' France, and yet I know they aren't all like this.  I have some really nice, and supportive, French friends here.  I think it's just that I also have a couple of young friends who have have mixed parentage (Madagascan/French) and even with lots of good academics they have experienced all sort of horridness with finding work.  I then wonder for my poor kid, who's ten with an English mum and Canadian dad, but I realise that already, he is far tougher than lots of his friends, and just says he ignores the nastiness.  Damn it, he was born here, why should he be seen as different. 

    I have an English girlfriend here, who is married to a French man, and she refuses to speak a word of French here, as she says she feels so got at (speaks it at home with her husband, and kids but not 'au public' so to speak - she did speak for five years and then just decided she'd had enough).  I don't think this is quite the way to go, although I can understand her feelings.  In a couple of days I shall be in chieftan tank mode and plough through their objections with the nicest of smiles, whilst deftly countering any asides with my evidently dreadful English accented French!  This is a battle I am going to win!  I really feel this to be my own personal Waterloo.  If I don't find work at something, I shall for ever feel I've failed, and that can't happen.

  3. Thank you so much, for your positive responses.  You know when you sort of sit and think to yourself 'oh, get a grip woman'? - well I did, and I realised I was still cross.  But I just needed to get it out and vent it and see if anybody else agreed.  You did - I realised that life sucks, but you just get on with it - but I know I'm not there all on my own!  Onwards and upwards - with many thanks!
  4. Having posted on here last, with a very favourable and positive result of my initial visit to the Pole d'Emploi, I was referred for a four day 'targeting and finding work course', and was eager to begin this.  I have a, possibly misguided, faith in the rumbling machine of annoymous government systems, and felt that I might be included and encouraged and feel at one with my fellow job seekers.  My life here in France has, after all, been punctuated by a thousand acts of random kindness. 

     

    The first day, was OK, we had various discussions on the 'hidden' job market etc., and I thought all was well.  I've lived here a long time, my understanding of French and vocabulary is fast and fairly vast.  I had to ask what the word 'tamalou' was, to much amusement, but otherwise I understood all and took part in all of the excercises.  I was asked pretty damned quick during a talk on 'rights' if I was claiming the 'chomage', and explained that I wasn't  because although I pay cotisisations on my husbands salary for my son and I, my husband is Canadian and therefore not covered by the system, and I haven't actually had a salary here myself. So am not therefore relieving the French government of a sou. 

     

    I thought I was doing quite well, the advisor was pleasant. But... Day two, we had a different advisor, who, asked if I was a foreigner and then proceeded to make me the butt of every negative remark, joke and sneer with a the zeal of a schoolyard bully.  To my horror after a short while of quiet sniggering the other 14 started to join in. I was called geneé and everybody laughed when it was said, and someone did a football chant of 'France pour la Francaise' which was taken up by another couple of people.  I stuck it out and finished the course, all four wretched days of it.

     

    I chatted to my fellow students in the coffee breaks, and they made it evident that this was 'nothing personal' but that I should not be competing for French jobs, and that I'm simply Not French.  At the end I was given a Bilan, that stated I had integrated and taken part in all the course, but that I 'have an English accent which will hamper communication with others'

     

    I am going back next week to a CV workshop, and will complain about the treatment I received before.  I discussed it with a couple of French friends and they were most embarassed, but said that they weren't too astonished because they'd heard similar stories, though not involving English immigrants.  I am evidently naieve, but I have never before experienced this sort of behavior, mercifully.  It's sort of swayed my thinking. It had never occurred to me that I was disliked 'just' because I'm English.

     

    I am just feeling a bit disheartened, and perhaps a bit got at. I will pick myself up and hurl myself back into this fray.  However, I do think I have a point in being somewhat cross.  I have never spoken a word of English with any French resident (except when requested for language learning) in the ten years I have lived here.  I have tried so hard to integrate at times I feared I would implode.  I shall not let this deter me, but must say I am losing some of my Mary Poppins veneer. 

     

    Have I just encountered a 'one off' horrid person and sheeplike followers?  Now I've stuck my head above the parapet am I likely to have this experience more often?  I am not a whimp, but this really was unnecessary unpleasantness for no good reason. 
  5. I will now!  Just needed to get up the courage really.  It was when nobody fell about clutching their sides with mirth, that I really thought I might be able to do this.  I got my va va voom back.  Sometimes life can take a few dire turnings, and it can take you a bit of self effort to get you back on course, it seems like nothing will ever be right again.  Perhaps La Rentrée will be a new beginning for me too, and not just for sproglet going to CM1!
  6. This is such a great big thank you to everyone who has helped and encouraged me on here!  Without your kind but firms shoves, I wouldn't have gone.  BUT...

     

    The Pole d'Emploi was great.  I had expected all sorts of problems.  But...they were really super, nice, supportive, and utterly wonderful!  Whether or not I get work will be another matter! 

     

    I was up most of last night practically throwing up in a bucket from nerves!  My eyelid kept twitching convulsively, and had someone given me the instruction manual for a nervous collapse, I would have followed the instructions slavishly.  But I floated out of the PE afterwards like Mary Poppins minus her parapluie!

     

    They liked my CV, really helped with their website, and seemed to think I could apply for all sorts of jobs that I'd never have dreamed of applying for!  So I'm going to do just that, and I'm dragging my CV off tomorrow morning to the Interim agencies for part time employment too.  What just blew me away, was that they were so positive.  They were almost, practically, dynamic, and I didn't hear one hint of negativity.  I feel like I've had a facelift, and feel ten years younger, I'm springing where this morning I shuffled. 

     

    Nobody wants to employ me yet, as they haven't had the chance,  but there's a possibility that they might want too, and the future might not be golden, but certainly not as bleak as I had seen it as being.  I don't want to run the world, or a major (or minor) company, but regular paid employment would alleviate one hell of a lot of stress for us, and that that may now be a possibility is magic.

     

    Without your supportive advice and assistance, I probably would have bottled it, so thank you all so much.
  7. Yes, done the Grufallo, and Chen and the Magic Paintbrush - all of them I think!  Magic, I love this linguistic soup that having a kid here has plunged me into!  My son has some 'super' friends, they are kids who have been used to me bussing them off to the swimming pool from an early age and coping (because there weren't too many parents) and being the only woman standing amongst 15 naked boys flicking towels as each other, insisting they got dressed.  A few years on, it's paying dividends!  Tomorrow, got two really good kids for the whole day, parents coming to pick them up who are lovely, and people want to come to our house, because we are all of a mixture.  I love the kids, I even love the parents - I've rarely met a wrong 'un, and NOW I got my date for Pole d'Emploi - 26th of August, will see me sweating with every bit of paper I have in their office!  How great is that?  I'm not sure, but I will let you know.
  8. I hope you have nothing to pay.  However, my brother-in-law sent us a Christmas box, last December from Canada.  Mainly kids toys, and Aviation magazines.  Nothing of high value, and we were charged 70 euros.  I was incandesent with rage. 
  9. No, I quite agree too.  The only time I ever feel useless is an occassional contemplation first thing in the morning, and the odd poetic license!  Thank you for putting me back on form!  I think the mummything has been great in so many areas, before kid, I could read French, but now I can read Room on the Broom in English, plus the whole of the rest of the Julia Donaldson stable,  to my son and do an automatic traduction in French with funny voices to the sleepover mates.  No mean feat, I feel.  I'm not down, am far from out, and if I seemed it, I didn't mean to. I appreciate the mental poke in the right direction.  Well put.
  10. Ladoix, has very kindly sent me a CV and Letter of Motivation, and I'm going to try my best to tailor useless ageing mummy me, into the sleek mean working machine that I'm going to become.  The second I sent the wretched bits to the Pole d'Emploi I felt so much better, I think it was like waiting to do a bungee jump, much better when in mid-air!  I funked it for a whole week, too scared, how sad is that?  It's been like swimming through Scotch Broth for the last bit, and now I'm feeling the goo thining into more of consomme consistency, so that's got to be good.  Where oh where does the confidence and certainty of youth disappear too?  I'm hoping I might find it in a bag at the PE with my name on it.
  11. I have done it!  I was, am, terrified.  However I have registered with the Pole d'Emploi!  I need help with writing my CV, because I feel so....useless.  However, I am sure they might put a positive spin on this.  This period hasn't really been helped, because, I'm just finishing my final exams for the Open University, in French, but that will at least mean that I can put that I have the equivalent of the first bit of the DELF exam.  I shall wait..... and let you know how I get on.  I have been mouthing platitudes to myself - a thousand mile journey begins with the first step - type rubbish, but at least now I have started. 

    It's interesting too, because whilst I've lived in five different countries and cultures before, I've always arrived with a decent job, so an entree into society.  It certainly makes you think what it must be like for others less fortunate.  Heigh ho, now it's just onwards and upwards!  I think!

  12. Russethouse, for me, you are your photo!  I shall think for you that way for ever!  It's super!  No, Sprogster, I'm not really looking for a hand to mouth existence, but of course I am hoping that my husband will find employment - he is the best man in the world, and his Company know it too, they just lost their contract, which had a knockdown effect on him.  However, even if he works (he normally does four weeks in Africa then four weeks back home, it was just this stint in Greece that messed it all up) it won't change my desire to work. I think I might be a good bet for an employer actually.  I have another 15 years before needing to think about retirement, so I'm worth training (I think), just need to make them see the same thing.  I have liked being a mummy, but now I want to do something else too.  Kidlet has British Nationality from me, and he has 'right to reside in Canada' from his dad.  There are 'deals' that can be gained from Canadian universities for French nationals with regard to fees.  So wanting him to get his French passport is not for nothing. 

    Ladoix, you have it spot on.  The Canadians are very welcoming to lots, but not it seems the British.  I am my husband's second wife, and his daughter who was born in Canada, has married a British lad and moved to Toronto.  He was headhunted from London, for the job in Toronto, is a bright lad, and certainly not going to drain their system, and he has experienced hell on toast, there have been times when he has been pretty near to throwing in the towel. 

    I am signing up for the Pole d'Emploi on line this afternoon!  This website has not turned me into Polyanna, but it has given me sensible supportive advice, and I appreciate it.   

  13. Russethouse!  Big shocks all round, my colour is great!  Husband applied it this morning!  I might not look a million dollars, but certainly not too shabby I feel.  I may well yet be able to take the world by storm.  If the photo is of you, you look fantastic.  I regret to say my hair has never been my crowing glory - but I'm sure that I've got other bits to die for - just not sure which bits!

    Sprogster, yes, we have sort of thought about this.  The Canadian economy is doing well.  I'm not too keen on living in Canada - possibly because my mother-in-law is truly ghastly (that being said she thinks I'm horrid too, and one can't be sure who may be right - probably 50/50).  I am not anti Canada - but not for the next three years.  Our sproglett was born here, and I feel that if I have gone through this French adventure thus far, he may as well get his French nationality out of it (granted to kids who are thirteen, if they were born here - and he's coming up for ten in January.)

    Once before, about seven years ago, we thought we may have to move to Canada (my husband resists it - he left there 30 years ago, and no longer identifies himself with them I feel) and I contacted the Canadian govenment who were quite sniffily unpleasant about the idea of me working there, I believe they said at the time "just because you married a Canadian, doesn't mean you get the right to live and work in Canada".  Looked on a Canadian website the other day, that was bemoaning the fact that it was easier for a non-native Canadian to get a workpermit for a Thai or Russian bride, than a native born Canadian to get a work permit for a European wife - bizzare?  I believe the Government are presently working to sort this out. But like the mills of God, this will probably take some time. We are not finished with France yet, it really is our home, our hearts are here.  I don't have any family in other parts, it's just our little threesome, and I feel all our roots are here.  Also, making a decision about maybe moving to Canada when my husband retires, is one thing, but sort of selling up as a knee jerk reaction to the odious mess that's got trapped in the family fan smacks of throwing in the towel and I can't do that.  Therefore it's Pole d'Emploi come September for me, poor loves, I feel the fonctionaires should be informed to give them chance to make their excuses and leave.

  14. Misplacedperson - I like the expletive deletive!  It was just what I thought actually, with knobs on!   Pathetic to say isn't it, but I'd loooove to work in a supermarket if I could.  Since this shenanagins upset our apple cart, it's sort of made me reassess everything, and it's not been before time.  We are eating fantastically!  I am zipping up little meals from practically nothing that masterchef would be proud of .  Our outgoings have sunk to the minimum - but we are still having some great days out, cycling and picnicing (very important not to let kids summer be a sod too) and needing my hair coloured (yes, I am worth it) specially thinking about all these rendevous/interviews (job offers??) I'm going to be getting in September!  Yesterday I went off to ED who have colour on special offer (I've always gone to the hairdressers before) three of the assistants and I found me a hopefully good colour - the difference being, before I would never have asked their opinion, and I had a great time.  The women and I were rolling around with hilarity and they were absolutely bloody great.  It was as I left the shop, that I felt a great big wellspring of belonging - I've been here a long time, but I'd never felt quite so at home before.  Weird eh?  I am in a toes on the edge of a precipice sort of nervy way, looking forward to September, God knows what it may bring, but it's certainly going to bring something!
  15. Cooperlola, I'm just near La Fleche, so that's south I suppose.  I do have a TEFL qualification from about a hundred years ago as it goes.  It's just that as time passes, and you haven't been 'properly' employed just explaining to kids that you do have more than a passing knowledge of who Jules Cesar was, just in a different accent! (this afternoon's task)  etc., you tend to lose your confidence.  Were I in any country I'd be going through this angst of finding work with the 'missing mummy years' CV wise, but somehow in France it seems,  not more scary, but maybe more challenging.  When I wake at 3 a.m. with my eyes large and staring like one of those dreadful Nintendo characters, I'm not sure that challenging is the first word that comes to mind...but!  I don't know many English people in France, and am so pleased to have found this website where everyone seems so encouraging.  All of our French friends are generally very positive.  The only English girl I know here, told me I would basically have to pack my bags and return to the UK.  I found that hard to take, I've been here ten years, my kid doesn't know any other country than France, and I left the UK nearly thirty years ago, for a gap year!  Wouldn't life be great if it came with an instruction book, I'd be zipping down the index right now, looking for the chapter on Troubleshooting!

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