So on the 8th of October I resigned my job here in Paris. This is the story of what happened....
Our lease had expired at the end of July, and we weren't planning to renew it because as I mentioned in my last post, my sisters had returned/were planning to return home to England at the end of the summer. I knew that the flat would be too big and expensive for me to run alone, and conscious of the fact that I'd be more or less homeless after that, I began to revaluate my decision to continue living in Paris. So, while I didn't make any firm decisions immediately, I began to put out feelers and started applying for jobs in Brussels because I thought I could go over there and specialise in Psychiatric Nursing. In the meantime I stayed at a friend's rent-free for the whole of August with my two sisters (they were at their Italian house for the summer). Then moved into my Italian friend Lulu's place, for two months while our friend/her flatmate was in Mexico, since we had to vacate the other flat at the end of August.
Deciding to explore the study-option, I went to Brussels right at the beginning of September to sign up for the specialist course. It was then I received a bombshell where I was told that even though I was registered to work as a nurse in Belgium, I could not study there without having my degree recognised as equivalent to a Belgian one! It is just my luck that Belgium is one of five countries that had decided to opt-out of the EU-wide mutual recognition of academic qualifications. Ridiculous as it may seem, I can work as a nurse, dealing with people's lives everyday, but I don't have the right to study in a classroom!
How I felt...€ to get that piece of paper. I quickly realised it was a dead-end and gave up on that dream, especially since I knew the course I wanted to do would be starting in October. I told myself that Paris would be my home for another couple of months at least, and I decided to re-start the process of house-hunting.
Now it is a well-known fact that flat-hunting in Paris can be hellish! This is because there is a huge shortage of accommodation within the city itself. Then there's the fact that French law tends to favour the tenant who is practically impossible to evict once they're in. So to protect themselves, landlords are often very slective and will ask for "dossiers" from prospective tenants with detailed personal and financial information including everything from your marital status to your blood-group (just kidding with that last one, although it wouldn't surprise me to hear they ask for it too O_O). They will also often want to see that you earn at least 3times the rent or at least that you have a guarantor who does. As a nurse and public servant, my salary was clearly never going to meet the requirement for many of the flats I wanted.
I initially tried to look for more affordable housing, but was having no luck, due mostly to the fact that I only started looking at the beginning of October as I was on holiday and travelling the whole of September. I then became so desperate that I considered living in the "banlieue" (outskirts of Paris), but soon gave up on that idea because I realised I'd be lonely and isolated since I work mostly nights and no longer have either my sisters or T around me. As a last resort, I called my hospital's social worker for help, maybe with allocating me one of the temporary rooms/studio flats available, but there again, French bureaucracy struck! She told me the flat was reserved ONLY for new recruits from the regions outside Ile de France (the region where Paris is located). In spite of the fact that 7rooms were available, that I told her I was a foreigner who would soon be on the streets, and that I only needed temporary accommodation, she remained adamant that I could not be allocated a room.
At this point, I decided to give up and "do the prodigal son". I realised that I'd always be welcome at my parents house and to be honest, nursing jobs are a dime a dozen, so I knew I'd soon sort myself out. However, there's a final twist to the story. A few days after that, I got a phone call for a job in children's psychiatry! I love pedopsychiatry, but there are hardly ever any positions that open up because the teams are often keep the same in order to provide stability for the children. As it is, this is only a one year maternity replacement contract, but I'm glad all the same because it gives me very valuable experience and I once again have some sort of plan for the next year. So we're back to the original plan.... I am off to BRUSSELS in 7days!!!! Isn't it funny how life works? T leaves, and I arrive just after. Oh well, my only consolation is that at least Brussels-Vienna is not any further than Paris-Vienna.