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One step back…two steps forward

As of tomorrow, my family will be moving in with my inlaws.  It has been two years since we moved out of their house six months after our arrival in France.  We really don’t have another option at this point with four children to feed.  My inlaws are wonderful and the village that they live in is breathtaking.  Our girls will go to a smaller school which makes me happy.  I think living with my inlaws will help my children in French and more importantly…it will help me learn French.  I will try to go to the university to learn French when the girls start school in the fall.  Boy Blue will stay with my inlaws or a babysitter.  I am not sure of alot right now.  I, however, know it will all work out for the better.

My husband’s company he was working for refuses to pay him overtime nor have they reimbursed him for the drive to Dijon for training some months back.  He was working up 12 hours a day (sometimes more) five days a week.  Then, it was six days a week and in the end seven days a week.  I don’t want to go into it too much because it is not over.  He is going to take action against the company if we don’t get the money within the next few weeks.  The bad thing is that this is the second company to do this to my husband since returning to France.  The first company forked up the overtime money after my husband sent a certified letter demanding the payment of his overtime with the dates and times noted.  I hope that this current company does the same.

It is sad that these companies just work people like crazy trying to take advantage of them.  It happens in America as well.  My first job out of college worked me over 60 hours in one week telling me that I would be given time off later that month as compensation.  Well, it never happened.  So, the next time I was expected to stay over I made sure that it was understood that I was to be paid overtime for it or I was simply going to go home.  I was paid my overtime for that week.  However, I never saw the overtime for the 20 hours I had worked over the time before.

My husband is looking into training programs for jobs that are in high demand and sending out resumes daily.  I would really like to work, too.  But, since my French is still basic not many companies are interested in me even with my background.  I need to have a job that pays well because of the fact that the babies would need to be watched while I am at work and even in France that is not free :) .

I will try to upkeep my blogs while living with my inlaws.  I won’t be able to post as often.  I hope that if nothing else my posts will be more interesting as I am moving out of my English bubble back into the French world.  My inlaws speak English very well.  Lately, we have been talking more in French than ever before.  I hope that after a year I will be bilingual.

I am tired of living in France and not being able to understand everything.  It is hard.  I want to understand.  Period.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.  We are all ok and my children are beside themselves with happiness. They adore their grandparents.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • cara June 25, 2006, 10:29 pm

    well may i be the first to wish you all good luck in your new living situation, job search and language aquisition. i’m always one to look on the bright side…at least you like your in-laws and your kids do too. also the fact they speak english is a bonus for when things get frustrating and you just don’t want to speak another dang word of french.

  • Raenita June 25, 2006, 10:50 pm

    Pumpkin, our family wishes you all the best as you move into your new living quarters! There’s nothing like having grandparents around to help with the kids…that’s a BIG plus!

    I wish you well on your French studies, too. My daughter thought it was a beautiful language while she was over there and loved Paris.

    I’ll be constantly checking your blog for updates!

  • Jessica June 25, 2006, 11:01 pm

    Wow, wishing you the best. I’m sure it will give you time to regroup and re-evaluate your situation and future. It’s nice to be around the extended family, though it can also have its stresses! Getting a good command of French is going to change a lot for you… Please do keep us updated!

  • Bernadette/bReal June 25, 2006, 11:36 pm

    Pumpkin, I wish you and your family the best with this new situation. I sense a lot of great things in this new situation. Yes, perhaps this will be what it takes for you to become truly bilingual and feel more engaged in French life. Your children will undoubtedly benefit as well.

    I do hope that your husband can find an employer that will respect him and pay him fairly. This seems to be a growing trend in employment – undervalued employees fighting for respect. My brother was just laid off from his job. They used all these nasty tactics to try and get him to quit but when that failed, they fired him, citing poor behavior. He’s never had a warning for behavioral issues and it was just their weak way of getting rid of him so that they can hire someone for less and not pay benefits. And my brother worked for a church!

    It is terribly disappointing. People have families and rely on the pay that is due them. Despite this however, I know that given your optimism, determination and love for your family, you will all be fine and good things will come out of this. You are in my thoughts and I look forward to hearing how everything is going. Take care!

  • buzzgirl June 26, 2006, 1:28 am

    I hope this move turns out to be the best thing for you and your family. I’ll miss the regular updates, but will be crossing my fingers that you’ll all be happy and things work out with your husband’s (crappy) employer.

  • Alison June 26, 2006, 2:29 am

    The others have stated my sentiments. All the best to you and your family in this new situation! Keep blogging when you can!

  • Julie June 26, 2006, 2:50 am

    Can’t believe companies do that. I thought there were laws against it. I know that my dad would never do that to his employees. But not everybody has good intentions. I guess they’ll always get somebody desperate enough for the job. But it seems to me that sooner or later they’ll end up getting in big trouble.

    My sister works on the hill in D.C. She’s only a scheduler, so the Congressman she works for avoids her. He hates planning the schedule cause he’s already so busy. LOL I don’t blame him; but my sister ends up working till 10:30 at night because of this. And when she wanted a day off she had to work till 1:00 AM. (We were coming to visit the next day) My other sister told me she called up really upset from work when it was about 10:00 PM. I thought doing something like that was illegal. But they’ll let her get away with it. Jobs on the hill are in high demand. They figure if she quits they’ll have 100 people that can replace her, which is true. So she’s a slave to her job. Many times she’s called all the way here in Wisconsin crying about it. She can’t quit because she just quit her other job that worked her like this. But she’s really happy to be on the hill. I don’t know. I’ll just stick with this itty bitty town in Wisconsin.

    I really love your blog. And I wish you and your family the best of luck!

  • Sophie June 26, 2006, 7:05 am

    Je prends beaucoup de plaisir à lire votre blog. J’espère que votre mari retrouvera du travail. Je vous souhaite bonne chance.

  • carra June 26, 2006, 9:10 am

    Pumpkin I wish you all the best while living with your inlaws. Blog is blog but family is much more important. Ihope everything works out just fine for you and I hope you will be studying this autumn (I hope to be doing the same thing!). I have been abused as a worker that way in Lithuania too many times too mention. The fact is there is more workers than there are employers, unfortunately. Best of luck to all of your family!

  • lapagefrancaise June 26, 2006, 5:18 pm

    Good luck Pumpkin with your move. I understand how you feel about not being able to understand everything in French. After 3.5 years here, I can “communicate” but I don’t feel like I can “express” myself, if that makes sense. And I still don’t understand quite a lot of what is being said. Someone told me about a month ago that it takes five years of being in a country to be completely fluent in the language. I guess I better get cracking on the next 1.5 years :-)
    I hope too that your husband can get into a situation where he is more valued as an employee and that you find a great job as well!

  • kim June 26, 2006, 6:45 pm

    Good luck! Everything does really happen for a reason, as cliche as it sounds, this must be what you all need:)

    Good luck with Vilay’s employer problems, what comes around goes around, and Karma will catch up with them:)

    I’ll be thinking of you and wishing things go smoothly and you get to see very soon why this is happening, good things are coming your way, I can feel it too:)


  • roland June 26, 2006, 9:57 pm

    Chère Madame Citrouille
    you are young! you can learn ” ce putain de français” rapidly!
    Most of the people I have to work for have the same problem….but most of them are old enought to be “papi et mamie” and their brains had lost trillon of neuron…..and they don’t have a french lover to talk to……. and they don’t have kids to kick their ass and ask “pourquoi ci ? et pourquoi ça? ”
    To learn french you have to focus on something really interesting for you and start to read about it. ( For me it was Dirtbike , Mad magazine and ……….I have to confess Playboy to !)
    Learn french songs you like and sing it loud ! Don’t care if your neighbor laugh at you ……it will be your turn to laugh when they have to performe one Madona or Elton john!
    My english is not so bad because I have to use it almost every day. But at the first, when I dived in the big-and-scary english-swimming-pool I drink a lot ,try to breathe a little and crawl my own special way ( c’était pas de la tarte!)
    Plonge avec nous et prend du plaisir sans complexe!…..I don’t know if a Citrouille can’t float? I guess yes!

    Première leçon:
    Pour tout les problèmes que tu rencontres j’ai un proverbe:
    ” Ce qui ne m’abat pas me rend plus fort”
    (if something can’t get me down it make me stonger)

    Have a good swimming time

  • M@ June 27, 2006, 2:40 am

    I’m sorry you are having to give up some of your independence, but it sounds like it is for the best at the moment. Good luck. :)

  • Pauline June 27, 2006, 8:27 am

    Pumpkin – I hope the move goes well, I think you have made a very wise decision to move in with the inlaws, rather than getting yourselves into serious debt. Very wise for you and the children, and you know this will only be a temporary thing until things get better.

    Good luck with the French, I took a really long time to learn French when I first moved here. If I can do it anyone can.It wasn’t easy and I wasn’t talented in this area either. I spoke English at home and at work so progress was slow. The best thing to do is be in a situation where you must speak/hear French, so being with the inlaws may well help.

  • Pumpkin June 27, 2006, 9:56 am

    Thank you all for your words and thoughts. We are getting some things moved today and it is hard to leave this apartment that has been our home for two years. However, we saw the school my two youngest girls will be attending this coming fall…AND, it is wonderful. Really, a beautiful school with more than a child could want. It is always an adjust to live with others but my inlaws are very loving. I will start blogging again in the next week or so. :)

  • Wendy June 28, 2006, 12:04 am

    Hi Pumpkin

    Just wanted to say that I am thinking of you.

    It won’t be easy living in someone elses home but I know you’ll make it work….hang in there.

    This French thing of abusing employees is not uncommon – I have it too and I keep my mouth shut because I need the job. But we complain to each other (me and my colleagues) and that helps to let off steam…its just give give give over here and it is WRONG but with the unemployment situation being so dire the employers have the upper hand.

    Just stay strong and positive – it will work out in the end.

  • Jube June 28, 2006, 9:18 am

    “This French thing of abusing employees is not uncommon”

    Yeah, I’m sure that it’s a French thing, and it does not happen anywhere else in the world. Never.

  • Jube June 28, 2006, 9:35 am

    I am not sure abusing employees is a just a French thing.

  • Jube June 28, 2006, 3:18 pm

    I didn’t know abusing employees was a French thing. Thanks to blogs, I learn something new everyday!

  • Pumpkin July 1, 2006, 12:40 pm

    Jube, I totally agree that it is not a French thing. I saw it in America, too. The difference seems to be that in France the companies don’t get into trouble as much because employees are afraid to come forward. It is like in America about 10-15 years ago. Once more people start fight back then it will be harder for these loser companies to get away with it. The last company I worked for in America was a large bank that had to shell out thousands to current and old employees due to not paying over time. It just takes time. We are fighting back.

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