Thursday, April 26, 2007

The checks in the mail . . .

Dear Mom,

Please don't fret. I've been working really hard in France this month teaching extra English classes so you will have the money that you need to buy the brand new 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV that you've been dreaming of ever since you grew tired of your 2006 model.

Love,

Amy

[Note to Americans Living in France:

The French are on to us!

Yesterday a French engineer informed me during the midst of a political discussion that Americans come to France to work so that they can send money back to their families in the U.S. This, of course, is a problem for the French economy because the money being earned here isn't being spent here.

I found this "fact" shocking as my French husband took a 50% pay cut when he moved from the U.S. back to France, and I literally make the same hourly rate (adjusted for inflation and conversion) teaching English in France that I made in 1984 cleaning my neighbor's condo. Moreover, anytime we've run low on cash, we've transferred money from our U.S. account to our French one (money that was earned in the U.S.) I've also heard other French complain about Brits and Americans (and/or American investment firms) buying apartments in Paris, thereby pricing the locals out of the market. So which is it?!?

Either way, if he or one of his French family members would like my job as an English teacher, they can have it because I'm not earning enough to send money back to the States or purchase an apartment in Paris.]

14 comments:

Fred said...

Why do you think I took a second job as a gardener? So my family-in-law can survive in their "third-world" country called the United States of A.

;)

Polly said...

And of course with the dollar-euro exchange rate, transferring the hard-earned US funds to France becomes an exercise in frustration.

The Late Bloomer said...

At least you were smart enough to save some of those U.S. dollars in an American bank account -- I moved over here with a literal *clean* slate, as in no debt in the States, but also no savings... Well, at least I can say I had a good time in my twenties! If only I had been a bit smarter...

And as you said, with salaries here what they are, I'm certainly not going to be rich anytime soon -- if ever! -- but the quality of life is completely different, and in spite of the runaround in Paris, I still enjoy many things about life in France... So, for the time being anyway, I wouldn't trade it back.

A little extra cash wouldn't hurt though... Ha!

I think whatever these Frenchies are talking about, it must be an extremely small portion or percentage of Americans that would be capable of doing such a thing... If at all! We're certainly not making bundles here and sending 'em back to the U.S. What a crazy idea. My younger brother makes a better living as a salesman in the U.S. than I do as a bilingual assistant and teaching English on the side... But I always try to put everything in perspective; our lifesyles are different too, I guess, so it's understandable.

phillippa said...

Right this second, I'm trying to figure out how to buy your mom's old escalade in the U.S with my euros after you buy her new one. Then I'll transfer more euros to my U.S account so that I can pay a shipping company in USD to have that sleek tank shipped here. Then I'ma gonna' cruise Paris and pollute the air here.

If it rides well, I'll turn it into a cab to earn more euros...and you know....

Anonymous said...

I am soooo excited will you be mailing the check next day delivery? Do you mind if I spend some of the check on food for waggie and me., Love Mom

Samantha said...

Was that engineer insane? How on Earth does he think anyone can make enough money in this country to have enough left over to send back home? I don't know a single expat who didn't take a salary cut when they moved here (assuming they were actually able to FIND a job in France). That is seriously one of the most ridiculous things I've heard a French person say about the US in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, that's ridiculous. I can guarantee you most frenchmen know that salaries are much higher in US and UK. The only good thing for your mom is that the Euro is now worth 1.35 $ and up...

Mlle Smith said...

Tell this engineer that none even the French are very concerned about having French dollars being spent in France.

Entire stores can close during the month of August to accommodate the mass exodus of French workers wishing to take their vacation DURING THE EXACT SAME MONTH. Stores are notorious for turning away potential consumers, because they don't like the size of the euro the consumer wishes to use to pay for their goods. (Are they kidding me?...money is money...TAKE IT!) And freaking stores here have no interest in taking losses by accepting returned goods, if it means that it will result in a loyal future customer. If a store accepts my returned goods without hassle, it's a store I'll remain loyal to and continue to shop with. You'd think that dawned on the business here, but nay, it has not.

The same work here, gets me 30 percent of what I make in NYC. This guy has got to be kidding me, really.

Emily said...

That's just crazy talk. My husband and I moved here for my husband's new job that pays peanuts PLUS I can't work due to my visa so we took a MAJOR pay cut. Money to send back to the states? Ha! We're trying to make sure the rent is paid and food is on the table. But, at least, we get to experience life in France, right? :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are just like the article I read in the New York Times on "OFWs" - Overseas Filipino Workers that work all over the world sending money back to family in the Phillipines to the amount of $300 billion last year! Aren't you part Filipino? Remittance payments are in your blood ;-)
-Gil

Anonymous said...

My French husband took a pay CUT when we moved from Switzerland to France AND IT WAS AN INTERNAL TRANSFER FOR THE SAME DAMN COMPANY, both local contracts (he says it's a far more interesting/challenging job, I say French people are insane).

Sending money to the US, ha, your engineer friend is stupid (he obviously couldn't get a job in the UK or the USA like his smarter compatriots).

I make around 100,000 euros less than I did in New York and to make it even worse, I make less now than I did at my first real job when I was 21 years old with no experience.

Economically, this country is a joke! And the French are so stupidly bull headed they won't accept change. The French have the economy that they deserve. I can't wait to see how everyone votes next Sunday!

Alison said...

Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! That's the best thing I've heard all week! I want some of whatever drugs that engineer is on!

Chris said...

way to go fred!!! LOL!!

Achetes PEUGEOT !!!

Chris said...

Fred.
Dis moi c'est la revanche, non ???