I am having a day off, so I have been cleaning the whole morning. Now sitting on the sofa, relaxing with cup of coffee. I will need to find good iced coffee recipes - it's starting to be really hot during daytime here and hot coffee doesn't sound that good anymore. Except early mornings and in the cool office.
Source: LifequeenWe will have finally a fixing guy coming to take some measures for the new bathroom sink as the old one has fissures all over - it's been like that for 6 months or so.. and he will fix the bedroom's wardrobe as the sliding doors are broken... it was broken when I moved here! And it's been 3 years in Avignon. Yeah, this is how the fixings works here. If you want something to happend, do it yourself and pay it or if you want the owner to pay it then you'll wait.
And later this afternoon I will go back to the stables. The place I visited was amazing!
What I mean with amazing is that the people there were so nice, I felt really good talking with everyone.
The place itself was still on the construction phase, the horses have paddocks but still they are making the boxes. There is a small track where to ride, loads of forests and paths to discover and also possibility to take the horses to swim.
And tomorrow back to work. What leads me to the questions some of you asked... Prepare yourself for a long story!
So Anna V asked what it was like trying to find a job in a different country and what kind of work it is what I do here.
Let me tell you, the process of finding job in France was really painful, I never thought it would be that HARD. Before moving to France, I was working at Nokia, for the internal communication team for 6 years (from trainee to communication specialist). At some point, I got enough (about the job,the people and fights between some certain people) and applied for a executive assistant job for one of the CEO's of Nokia.
It was really cool job, but it was only a short term (less than one year) as it was replacement for another person on a sickleave. After that, as I had already created connections to the other departments in the Headquarters so I did continue in the legal department as legal assistant. I had many short term contracts and I wanted to have something permanent, so I was looking for another job in Nokia or elsewhere.
Nokia HQ, I had an office on the round side of the building.
In this point, I knew that the assistant/ secretary job was what I like to do so I started to search for a school where to do a secretary degree. I applied for a Helsinki Chamber of Commerce as they have degrees for professionals. Normally they ask at least 4 years experience in the profession to be accepted in, but I had only 1 year in that point. I proved that I was capable of doing it, so I got in. Then I just needed to find a perfect assistant job to accomplish the studies.
After a while, I found a new job at Nokia Siemens Neworks (joint venture of Nokia Networks and Siemens). I needed to have long term contract for the school, as I needed to accomplish the school tasks at work and I had lessons only twice a month.
So basically, I was working through the school. From 25 people, there was 2 of us who gratuaded from the first shot - I don't know what happened to the others. All the rest where assistants on the job for 10-15 years, so I don't know how comes they didn't get it done. I was scared that I'll screw up everything but it went fine. I got a permanent job at NSN but I made my decision not long after I gratuaded that I will move to France. I was pretty sad to leave all this behind, all the people I've known forever.
My portfolio of the degree
I really thought that I would find a job easily here, which was completely wrong idea. I didn't think that the level of spoken english in southern France is almost zero. For the first time of my life, I had to start from the bottom - my first job was cleaning job. I'm forever grateful to L who hired me even I didn't speak good french. I had nice co-workers, but I was mainly doing nicer jobs with the boss.
Thanks to my mom, I learned how do a good cleaning, so I never had the problem to do the job. I actually liked it as it wasn't bad stuff like restaurants or so. I cleaned really nice luxury homes and holidays villas. Until the day came that we accepted to clean an apartment that was still on construction and really in bad condition. I had working accident, and now I had a tendinitis that comes if I force too much my hand (on the wrist), even opening faucet can be painful. So I was on a long sickleave, doing nothing for 2 months.
So after sickleave and all, I asked L to fire me because first of all, I felt really bad for my boss that he needs to keep me even I can't do the job and the second reason, my doctor told me I can't do any physical job because of the wrist. So I was back to zero. I tried one day working in a restaurant, just to see that it really isn't for me EVER. It was disgusting, and my whole body did ache after that day. I did quit.
I started to search secretary work, it took long but now I have a dream job considering the situation. I work as a bilingual assistant in a tiny french tehnology company, on my business card it says "Office Manager" as I do actually everything. Paper works (phew, it's hard in french!), we speak english with the guys at work (rare to find a english speaking people in here!!), I do accounting, communication and the latest is that I need to design logos, brochures etc for the company. So as we now speak, I am learning to use Illustrator at the work.
I like my job, even for now it's only 24hours/week. So that leaves me 2 days free on the week plus weekends. I am waiting for the day my boss can hire me as full time employee.
Ella asked, do I want to make a career here.
I don't really know what to answer to this. I have been working last 10 years of my life already,so this is my "career". I hope someday to have full time job, earn enough to live the life I want but nothing more. I've never been work centered, meaning I don't want my life to be only work and work. I work so I can afford the lifestyle I like. I work to have free time and do things we enjoy. I love holidays and free time from work. If I would win a big money from the lottery, I wouldn't work anymore. But I don't even play lottery he he.
Work trip to Amsterdam in 2011
This story leads me to the rest of the questions.
Ella asked me (in finnish) that is the life in France hard, can I speak good french, did I speak french before coming here and what language we speak with R.
Yes, Yes,No and French.
So yes it is hard in France - why? Because I am missing my family much, I miss the easy things like speaking finnish, the finnish food, my friends, and having a finnish speaking job. Belive it or not, it is tiring to think,speak and live in french and english all the time.
I think I can speak good french. When I moved here, back then I really was stupid and thought that of course I speak french! But no, I could say my name in french and plus I was too timid to even try to use it. After 6 month of language school at the university and help from R's mom who is a french/english teacher, I got hold on the language.
The situation is now that I can live my life here, I work, speak, write and read in french.
I have friends that speaks only french. I manage doing everything by myself. I am proud of myself!
Some people will catch a foreign accent when I speak, some people not. Some people get surprised when they learn I'm NOT french.
For us, me and Raph, we started from english and gradually changed to french. It was hard for both of us to change to french, as we used english on daily basis for so many years. We've been together for 6 years and from that we have been speaking french only few. Now it's french or sometimes frenglish.
Laura in Seattle asked if we have considered living in Finland for few years.
Um, I did dream about it. A lot.
Because it felt so hard and unfair to me that I need to go through quite many shitty things just because of our relationship. But it wouldn't be fair to R either to start from zero now, as we have it working this good here in France. But then when I think again, I don't want to move away from France - I like it here! Despite all the things I complain about here in my blog, I am living a happy life in France. Why not someday live in Finland again, never know what life brings. Summer cottage in Finland would be nice.
The last question is from Sara Louise, a fellow foreigner living in Provence: What's your favorite restaurant in Avignon?
Now I will be embarrased, but I don't even know that many good restaurants in Avignon.
I like a lot "Le Synopsis" at Rue de Teinturiers as they make the best pizza in town! But as we decided few months ago that we shouldn't eat pizzas and burgers that often, we haven't been there either. Next time I want to try a restaurant in Rochefort du Gard called Legend's Valley. They seem to have pretty good hamburgers, yummy! And nice jam sessions too.
The rest, I don't know really. If you know good places, let me know! We usually eat at home and then go out for drinks, so I like actually places like Pub Z, l’Halogène, Red Sky for the jam session, O'neills Irish pub.. I can mention Ginette et Marcel too as it is cozy place to have tartine or coffee.
Now you know little bit more about me and my life before and after moving to Avignon!
If you have more questions, let me know.
Have a nice week, friends!