Life after France: Two Months Later (rant ahead)

Bonjour, folks.

As of today, it has been two months since I left France. I’d been living abroad for the past four years, and I finally returned home to Los Angeles to be back with my family. It has been a bit weird since coming back, getting re-adjusted and all, but it’s gotten a lot better over time.

I would be lying if I said that I don’t miss France at all. True, French culture is very different from what I grew up with in the U.S., and I had often struggled to integrate into French society with acquaintances and everyday interactions on the street. But even if I had struggled, I also had so many good memories that over-rode the bad ones. From getting drinks with my friends in town to exploring different regions on the weekend, I really did enjoy my freedom being away from home, away from the familiar and trying new things.

Not to say being back home has been bad. I am glad to be back with family and childhood friends, as well as the comforts of home and consistently-good weather in LA. But I feel stifled, as there really isn’t much to do in town (at least, my city’s suburbs) and I’m limited as to where I can go, because it’d cost money, and I would be relying on my parent’s car to get places (when they aren’t using it, that is). And I have to take care of my mom, who had a cancer scare in May, and is in the process of recovering from her chemo treatments up until this August; that’s the reason why I had to leave France in mid-July, as I’d originally intended to stay until the end of my contract.

Being unemployed isn’t the most-joyous thing, either. My French work contract ended in late August, so technically, I’ve only been unemployed for two weeks, as of today. But since returning home in mid-July, I got on job applications immediately, mass-applying online to all sorts of jobs in the Los Angeles area. And let me tell you: it’s fucking impossible to get a decent job here, even if you’re qualified (I have up to a Master’s degree and experience in various fields, e.g. teaching, content writing, copy-editing, languages, even sales). The city is just too big with too many people, all competing for the same, entry-level jobs that pay barely minimum wage. Doesn’t help that I’m also at a point of making a career change from education to something else, which might be limiting my job search a bit.

I’ll be honest: I am actually depressed. Not in the clinical sense, I don’t think, but at least situational. Probably the worst state I’ve been in since 2013: leaving France without proper closure, taking care of my mom’s health, and being unemployed have really taken a toll on my mental health. Other factors, like inadvertently getting myself into a MLM job in August and having to turn down a teaching opportunity in China because of my mom, have also made me feel really down. I’m usually not an emotional person, but I admit that a day doesn’t pass by without me crying, or at least getting teared up in random situations. Really hate my life now, and I’m resentful towards my family and my circumstances for what could’ve been, and what could be if I had taken the offer to teach in China.

You might be thinking that I’m being incredibly selfish and inconsiderate in my thought process. That I don’t care about my family enough and that I just need to work harder to acquire hard skills to get a job easier. That I need to let go of the past and not stew over my current state of affairs. Trust me. I’ve thought those exact same things. And despite feeling down, I have tried to push forward and applied to many jobs, started taking an online course on bookkeeping and accounting to learn new skills, and otherwise spend time with friends and family, especially with my mom. I’m trying to appreciate what I have currently, despite my unemployment: a loving, supportive family and friends, a home where I don’t have to pay rent, food on the table, a healthy body, and Internet access to type out my woes for the world to see (I’m half-joking).

I guess this feeling of inadequacy stems from the fact that I’ve pretty-much held down consistent jobs since I was 22, even if they were contractual. I knew at some point I couldn’t continue taking contractual jobs, let alone living abroad, but I had repressed that from my thoughts until now. Up until this year, I enjoyed my life overseas to the fullest, taking advantage of my paid vacation days to travel like crazy all over Europe, where I met a lot of cool people and experienced so much of what each country had to offer. For those who say that they had “peaked” in high school and college, I’ll say that I “peaked” while abroad: I was at my happiest, for the most part, as I was on my own, open to trying new experiences, and developed the most in terms of maturity and mindset.

That’s why being back at home, while nice and all, has been stifling. Not only am I no longer able to travel freely, but I also don’t have the expendable income, i.e. have a job, to do so. These past four years away from home have made me too independent. It isn’t completely a bad thing, but it does put me at odds with my parents in terms of what I want to do with my life and what they would like me to do. Like, I’m perfectly happy with getting a civil servant job (if I’m accepted), but ultimately, I just want a job that compensates me fairly and allows me to have a life outside of it. Would still love to travel, even if at this point I’ll have less opportunities to. In essence, I want to work to live, not live to work, as it’s unfortunately the case in our workaholic, capitalistic, materialistic American society.

This post is all over the place, but I had to rant. I had to let out all of the pent-up emotion in my mind that’s honestly been festering since May, even before I left France. I have verbally ranted to my family and friends about my situation, but being human, they can only go so far to empathize. I get it. So writing it out has been more therapeutic for me than otherwise, and even if I am in a crappy state/situation right now (seriously, 2019 has been a shit year, at least this second half), I know things will get better, and I’ll eventually find a job that I enjoy. It’ll take time, but I’ll try to remain optimistic and fight through my self-doubt, insecurities, and situational depression.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day.


— The Finicky Cynic

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7 thoughts on “Life after France: Two Months Later (rant ahead)

  1. Ciara’s Palette

    My heart really does go out to you after going through somewhat similar things. The feeling of inadequacy is so overwhelming and maybe there’s also this feeling of powerless or lack of control? I really hope you find a decent job soon and that it will be the stepping stone to things getting better for you. I was unemployed for two months, which isn’t even that long, but it was so so tough. I felt like a failure, a loser, and a terrible role model as a big sister and even though I hated teaching I wanted to be abroad. And moving back home too? That’s so challenging! I don’t think your feelings make you seem selfish or inconsiderate at all especially when you have the self awareness to also realize all the good things you’re thankful for. So I hope you’re gentle and kind to yourself. I’m looking forward to seeing the future post when you’ll tell us about your new job and how things are getting better. I just hope that’s not too far away. Best wishes to you! 🙂

    1. rebbit7

      You don’t know how much your words mean to me. I’m glad you can relate to the situation, especially since you’ve also had experience teaching abroad and returning home afterwards. You’re right in that there’s no point in beating oneself over missed opportunities or the inability to find a job (now): what’s more important is to move forward, keep trying, and eventually things will work out. There is hope! Thank you. 🙂

  2. SP

    Hey, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I feel I can relate although my case was much less severe than your own. These words might not be helpful now but I always found that no matter how bad things got, it would get better eventually and your emotions will settle down. I hope you keep going on trips, even small ones in your area to places you might not even know about 🙂 Best wishes and hugs from France xo

    1. rebbit7

      Thank you. I really appreciate your comment. While things are uncertain right now with unemployment and all, I know that it isn’t that bad– it could be much worse, as you said! Things will work out, and it’s a matter of keeping on the job search and eventually finding what I really want to do in life. I have had the chance to do some trips around LA, and I hope to travel overseas towards the end of this year. Will have to see!

  3. Pingback: Life Update: I Have a Job! – The Finicky Cynic

  4. I am always ranting about America, a little habit I picked up while living in France haha. But yeah, even though I haven’t lived there for a long time now, that spirit remains. I am always at odds with the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps culture here. The French have it right. How the whole country practically shuts down the month of August so that everyone can have some much needed R&R.
    Transitions from life abroad are always some of the most difficult things. I’m currently in a six-month transition funk myself–something I never expected to take so long. Looking forward to hearing more about how things unfold for you. Courage!

    1. rebbit7

      I’m glad you resonate with my sentiments! Transitions are a pain, but they ultimately toughen you up so that when another life obstacle happens, you can take it head-on. Wishing you the best likewise with your endeavors. Bon courage!

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