Sunday, 12 January 2014

What comes...

What can be done to reduce my anxiety levels this new year? I need to know what are realistic options for me to stay and work in this country. They are so limited, I know but someone out there must be able to give me some guidance. JC can't help at all. He's never had to seek employment in his life having been in the same job 40 years. He has no idea how to help me but he knows that laws in France have so many layers even experts struggle to understand things. I asked for suggestions from a network of EXPATS in France but received no response at all.

I think I'm going to have to find some money from somewhere and hire an immigration and work lawyer who is bilingual. I found one based in Paris on the internet. Expensive? probably but I only need to know what I can and can't do. I'm not a complicated case. What are my options and how can I achieve my goal of becoming French, working to support myself and stay inside the law.

I know the cards are stacked against me but I've made it this far. In a little over 3 years I'll know if I can stay in France; if I can stay employed that long, that's the rub. It's not easy for anyone older than 50 to get a job anywhere and in a country with 11% unemployment and so many rules that create obstacles to businesses it's not surprising there are so many out of work here. My employer is bankrupt and recently had to accept a bailout from the government just to pay staff and keep open. I could never have predicted such obstacles before I left NZ.
There are many days I become demoralised and depressed but I still need to take some action even if it's going for a walk to get some gentle exercise. Last week I decided to walk to a neighbouring village and back. I'd driven past it but that's very different from walking it. You see so many more interesting details when you walk. What began as an idea for 30 minutes fresh air turned into an hour and a half of walking, exploring and stopping to take a few photos. I really don't like exercise for exercise's sake, it's boring and uncomfortable which is why I gravitated towards dance in the past and now to taking photos when I walk. It gives me an instant payback. Though it's the middle of winter right now  I figure I can find the odd day when it's fine.

This country is downright interesting to me in a way my own isn't. Much of this can be put down to the past cohabiting with modern times. I've included some example in these photos. I live in an urbanised environment but everywhere I can find rural experiences and history on my doorstep and they affect me in a positive way. My soul is quiet and peaceful in this country. I can't say the same for my head and heart. They are churned up with the fragility of my situation. Yes I know the saying that we have to accept what we can't change. Trouble is, I was brought up in the generation that said hard work and focus will get you what you want. It's not true but I'm certainly programmed to it. Maybe this new year will bring some positive change. At the least I'd like it to be no worse.

President Hollande is in the foreign media for having an alleged affair; being chauffeured around Paris on a scooter with his bodyguard bringing hot croissants for Hollande and his actress lover for breakfast. His girlfriend has been admitted to hospital since the news was announced. I suppose she's mightily upset. The French don't care. This affair is not on the news or in the papers to any great degree. The French consider what he does in his private life is private.

This is a man failing in his job (according to media reports), putting his efforts into allegedly cheating on his partner while millions are unemployed, systems fail, necessary reforms never happen and the country heads to even more credit rating falls and possible bankruptcy. Will it hurt him or will he be seen as yet another virile French politician? Probably there will be little change to his popularity ratings which are at rock bottom in France. It may damage his 'international image' though, but time will tell.


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