“So, what’s next!?”
This is the question so often asked year after year to expats living abroad, especially in a country like France where CDD (temporary) contracts are the norm, where paperwork and logistics can become complicated, and where one must work extremely diligently in order to successfully and legally stay if not from the EU. It’s a normal question.
As a teacher, I sometimes feel as though my year starts in September and finishes at the end of June. Unlike most people, who find themselves pressing the reset button in January, I catch myself looking back and reminiscing about the school year coming to a close, as well as making resolutions and setting goals, expectations, and plans for the upcoming year.
I asked myself this question as I boarded my plane last August. I wasn’t sure at all what to expect, even though I had already done this all before–several times. I left the United States after integrating back into the workforce for 3 months, with less than $1,000 in the bank. I left knowing that it would probably be the last time I saw my grandfather alive. I left questioning the choices I was making and the path I was taking. I left not knowing when I would come back
And during this past year in France:
- I lost all of my paperwork– work visa, passport, credit cards, money, driver’s license, etc. and spent the good first part of the year combatting the French Bureaucracy.
- My grandpa, my biggest cheerleader, died in April.
- I met some of the most amazing people and established some valuable, irreplaceable, lifelong friendships
- I traveled to six new countries (and repeated others!)
- Perhaps most importantly, loved my teaching job. I loved my students, my colleagues, and the challenge of learning how to teach Business English to university students (having only been trained to teach K-12 in the United States.)
- I had one of the best years to date
So with that being said, I have renewed my contract for next year, and will be staying in France until at least next summer. I recently left my old town and moved into a new house in the bigger city (Lille) with some other close friends I have made this year.
Sometimes, I wonder if I really ever mean it when I say, “Just one more year” in regards to living in France. I guess I’ll answer that question next June.
Here’s to a third consecutive year in France, and as always, thanks for reading.