Pros and Cons

It’s been very tempting these past few days to bail and decide to go back to the U.S. next year. The problem is that going back is not simple and easy. I’d need to tell my boss now (like right now, seriously), to start looking for a job now, and to possibly fly back to the U.S. during my April vacation to interview and visit schools. There would be no back-up plan if I don’t get a job so I’d really need to put my all into it.

So to help me think I thought I’d make a list of pros and cons, even though in the end I think it will be decided by gut feeling. They range from major to tiny.

For going back to the U.S.:
• I want badly to move to the Northeast, mostly Boston. I dream about living in Boston the way I used to dream about living in France.
• I’d be paid better.
• I could start a real career.
• I could have all my stuff with me, get a real apartment, and really settle down.
• I could get a dog sooner.
• I miss my country and my people. I want to make friends easier. I want to be around people who get me. I want to play Time’s Up and know what more than half of the guesses are (not that Time’s Up even exists in the U.S.).
• I could get the HPV vaccine. If I go back to the U.S. when I’m 27, I presumably can’t. (Actually, am considering just shelling out for it and paying out of pocket here in France.)
• I want to settle down, meet someone, and stop wandering. Am I willing to wait till I’m 27 to do that?

For staying another year in France:
• I’ve applied to a couple of conferences and am soon going to start turning my masters report into a paper to submit.
• I want to do an intensive Spanish program this summer so I can teach beginning Spanish if needed. This and the first point mean that my resume will look better next year and I’ll be more hire-able.
• I love my job. I love love love my job. I’m learning things that I can implement next year. I have so much freedom in what I do. Once I start teaching high school there’s no way I’ll have this much freedom.
• I love being with people who are in between two cultures. Sometimes I feel a little isolated among my French friends but I’m sure I’ll feel similarly once I’m back among people who’ve never really lived abroad.
• My feeling is that once I move back this time, I want it to be for good. I want to start building a life somewhere. If I go back now, it’ll feel a little bit like I maybe gave up before I should have. Am I really ready to give up on France?

Well, there it is. I think I know what I’ve decided but I waver so I thought I’d write it all down. Any advice? Anything to add?

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4 thoughts on “Pros and Cons

  1. Emily says:

    You know, I wrote a really long response, but I erased it because it all boils down to this: the life that you could be leading in the US will be there whether you return at 26, 27, or 40. The jobs will be there, the apartments, the dogs, the potential guys – they’re not going anywhere. You have to decide whether you’re really ready to leave France, because once you return to the US, it will be very hard to ever pick up and move back. If you believe that you’ll be satisfied at the end of the year to pack up and leave forever (or until you get a real job offer that would move you there permanently), then you should come home. If you have doubts or unfinished business, then you should seriously consider staying another year so that you don’t end up with regrets.

  2. I think a lot about what it would be like if I were living in the states, without things like secu and caf . . . not interested, lol. Finding friends after college is hard no matter where you are, so while it’d be a bit easier in the states because there’s that common background, it’s not a guarantee (which sounds horrible but I think you know what I mean?). In terms of career and pay, you know what will make you happiest, but it sounds like you’re pretty happy with the job in France, so why not keep doing it as long as you can?

    Like Emily said, everything will still be there whenever you decide to go back, so don’t leave unless you are sure you have done what you want to here. Traveling, food, shopping, little things that you do everyday and won’t be able to in the states.

  3. Laurel says:

    The way I see it, you aren’t 100% committed to either country for the long haul yet. But, it’s not clear to me that you have to decide the long haul right now. Aren’t you still able to renew your contract for another year? It seems to me to make the most sense just to stay there for another year, because this one-year option will prevent you from having to make any serious decisions about the future just yet. A lot can happen in a year. I would take that time to wait it out and get a better sense of what you want to do, once you really have to decide. This is a very Laurel approach, i.e. it involves avoiding at all costs the need to make big scary decisions … so use at your own risk 🙂 But really though, if you love your job and they’re just handing you the option to do it for one more year, no strings attached, I don’t see why you should pass that up. I didn’t get a chance to respond to your previous post, but it also seems like that would be the perfect opportunity to find your own place and really forge out on your own, rather than having to deal with finding a place, packing, moving, furnishing (??) all in the middle of the year. But I basically abhor moving in any capacity (seriously Eileen it is the world’s biggest pain in the butt, I’m impressed that you do it so often and with so few expletives) so I’m biased in that regard.

    Anyhoo. You should give me a call sometime! Wed & Fri mornings are good this week.

  4. You guys are all really awesome and I appreciate your input. I’m feeling a lot better here since the trip to Avignon so I’m gonna stick it out another year, and I may actually wait till this summer to move—although, remember, Laurel, I only have two suitcases’ worth of stuff here and three pieces of furniture. It’s not like moving all my crap in the U.S. But I do think there is an entire city here to discover that I haven’t yet because of living on the edge of town, so as much as I like my roommates, I’m going to try to “forge off.”

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