• Marina Chaffanjon

ABOUT THE HARDSHIPS OF BECOMING A PARISIAN

Updated: Jan 28



Rainy Paris

Many people dream about Paris, but not everyone knows what it takes to become a Parisian....

We all have heard that it is difficult to survive and integrate in New York. We say that if you can make it there, you can make it everywhere. Paris, for many people who have NOT lived in the city, stays a romantic European capital, full of culture, history and charm, a city-museum, the capital of fashion where l’art de vivre and the love for cuisine, wine and cafés is above all priorities in life. And this is true.

But not many know about the other side of Paris – the one that you discover only if you live there for a while – grey, arrogant, stressful and dirty, the city where everyone is forever on strike and if they are not, they complain about their quality of live. And for a reason: the cost of living is too high as compared to the average salary.

My husband and I have seen both sides of Paris: we have been in love with it and have faced its cold welcome. We left Dubai to look for new opportunities in Paris that we wanted to conquer with a kick of a leg. Five months later not only have I not found a job yet, but my husband has also lost his.

Have you ever been job-hunting? Have you ever emigrated and done all the papers in a new country? So imagine both at the same time. This is tough, but exciting at the same. I have done it before and thought that I wouldn’t ever put myself in the situation where I would have to start my life from scratch again…. unless I move to a new country with my soul mate. We came to France together, we got married on this soil, we have here our family and friends and I also know the language and culture rather well, which helps to integrate. Frankly speaking, this is not the worst situation. But it is still not easy.

If you think that an employee-employer relationship is similar to that of a couple, then job seeking is comparable to the process of finding your perfect match. I declare them my love (sincerely or not very) and they, after giving me their audience, reject my offer. Again, and again, and again… After that you can’t help asking yourself what is wrong with you and why they don’t love you.

So my husband’s “love” story is different. It was an arranged marriage. Arranged by HRs and headhunters over the phone and skype without him ever seeing or discussing his past and aspirations with the future “companion”. He lied to himself saying that he didn’t mind being dominated by a big powerful “spouse” in a house where he would have his modest well-defined role, not more, not less. He didn’t fit in this box and his “wife” asked for divorce. Actually no, she sent him the papers without leaving him the choice.

So we are now both unemployed in our small Parisian apartment (because you have to be really rich to afford a big one). But we are together and around us are other people who believe in our future and us. Are we ready to give up? Have we done everything possible? No, we haven’t and we will try again and we will fight for it still, but we need a break. We also need to understand whether it is in Paris that we want to stay or we need to open up our horizons and search in other wonderful cities. Maybe we are just too adventurous to live a “conventional” life and we need to go to Africa or Russia?

But all that we will think about later. For now we will take a break in Thailand, far from all our everyday worries. Our quest for the meaning of career life to follow in the Thai journal next week…

But all that we will think about later. For now we will take a break in Thailand, far from all our everyday worries. Our quest for the meaning of career life to follow in the Thai journal next week…


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