France Version 2.0

24 10 2008

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of my time reading blogs. Most of them belonging to current or past language assistants. For the most part I enjoy starting at the beginning, even if the blog spans several years, which makes reading them feel like a novel. It always makes me reminisce back to when I was an assistant. The planning, the nervousness, the excitement. What do I pack? What should I bring? Where will I live?

Even though Toronto is the city that I call home, I’ve never lived here for a consecutive enough amount of time for it to feel like home. I’ve spent so much of my life moving around, and in the past 8 years I haven’t lived in any one city longer than 2 and a half years.

This time around I’m returning to France on a WHV . The planning and paperwork is winding down, so I’ve already starting thinking of this move as France Version 2.0. I have less excitement, but a lot more anticipation, since I feel like I already know what to expect. Especially since I’ve already made the leap over the hurdle that is the nightmare of trying to find an apartment in Paris (even if my studio is absolutely tiny, even by Parisian standards).

Friends have often asked me why I came back to Canada. I usually grudgingly say, “because I had to. Things just didn’t work out,” without going too much into detail. And I’ve even had a few people tell me that if I would have really wanted to stay in France then I would have found a way to make it work. But I can’t regret the past year in Toronto. Even if my old job didn’t end the way I wanted it to, it was a great career experience and I got to fulfill a major goal, so I shouldn’t complain, no matter how egotistical and psychotic my bosses were.

At the end of the day, not having one of those coveted red passports leaves you with few options. And as spontaneous a person as I am, I would never risk jeopardizing my future travel options, since there are many other countries that I’d love to travel to and potentially live in. And doing anything illegal (i.e.work under the table) remains firmly out of the question.

Yet like a choose your own adventure novel where the story always seems to have the same ending, I keep thinking back to the first time I lived in France, constantly trying to figure out how I could have avoided the kafkaesque administrative disasters that came out of that experience, eager to potentially avoid going through the same bureaucratic debacles again.

Since I feel much wiser from those life lessons, this time around I’m going over with the hopes of living there permanently and even if that dream doesn’t come to fruition, then I’ve got my backup plans B, C and possibly D ready for next year.