First bit of advice I'd give you is to have a good long chat with your girlfriend!
I work as an estate agent here and I'm only doing that to bring in the money. I haven't got the callous attitude a lot of my colleagues have which means that a lot of our clients have actually become friends.
However, I often discourage people to buy here if either partner is not entirely comfortable with the idea. I think it is admirable that you have chosen to accompany your girlfriend back to her roots, but this is an enormous step for you, which, even with the most solid of business plans, is not without challenges.
One of the things you could not have foreseen is the economic downturn which makes it difficult for everyone to find jobs.
You didn't say whereabouts you are in the southwest and I don't know your age, but I know that my company is looking for commercial agents (selling properties). Have a look on Agence immobilière spécialisée dans la transaction de maisons de caractère
under the section recruitment to see if that might give you something to try?
In terms of teaching, something I do too; you may be able to get a little bit more money if you do private tuition, or contact the GRETA. I teach through them, both French to non-French speakers and English to French people. Hours are limited, but it pays me roughly 25 euros per hour.
Are you in an area with other ex-pats? Would you be able to start doing some DIY jobs, garden maintenance, house clearance etc?
In short, you sound very sad and in this world where everything is focused on having to earn enough to keep our heads above the water, it can take the shine off starting a new life with your girlfriend which in many ways was meant to be a happier time for you two I guess?!
I wish you good luck and above all, good spirit!
Originally Posted by UnLandais
I've been sneaking around on the forum for a while and thought it was time to post. Sorry if my first post seems like a whinge, I might cheer up later!
I've recently moved to southwest France with my French girlfriend. We lived for a while in Britain but she struggled and couldn't settle in and anyway we were both out of work. So, we took the decision to make a go of it here and we are living temporarily with her parents. I never thought in a million years that I would end up trying to live in another country, or be in this kind of situation, but here I am.
I'm struggling a bit with a few things, especially on how to make a living. My French is reasonably good and I understand most people. Speaking wise, I make grammatical errors and have to ask for the names of certain things, but otherwise I'm getting comfortable. However, I'm realising that speaking good French alone will not get me a job.
I have no social security here and neither does my gf at the moment. We're living off our savings and the kindness of her family. I'm registered with the anpe but just like back home they don't seem to be bothered about helping me to find work. About 95% of the jobs here require experience that I don't have and my qualifications are of the theoretical and useless variety and in all likelihood wouldn't be recognized here anyway. The jobs where I'm not filtered out are usually in meat processing plants and I think I'd spew up with the stench.
I have experience in retail and I sent out lots of speculative applications to supermarkets and shops. I received one reply only to say thanks, but no thanks. Working in a supermarket is the only real job experience I have.
On top of that, I'm a bit out in the sticks and any job would require a car since my gf would also require hers. I have seen the prices of second hand clapped-out motors in the local paper and it's frightening compared to back home. I don't have two thousand euros to spend on an old banger that has been driven most of the way to the moon. Any job would have to justify spending that amount of money on a hunk of junk. In any case, I need to find a job to apply for before I start daydreaming about buying a car. I am doing a bit of casual private English tutoring, but it's nothing more than pocket money and I can't ever see how to make enough money from that.
I'm totally stuck and I just can't see it changing. That's two months gone already. Even my gf who has lots of admin experience as a fonctionnaire and also two degrees can't find work. The idea of us both being in employment and having the means to at least rent a flat seem so far away and unattainable that just now, I don't believe it'll happen.
The only thing the anpe has done is to force me to attend a job fair or be considered to not be seeking employment, which I thought was a bit harsh considering the government doesn't give me a bean. It was to get hired for a new restaurant...which hasn't even been built! There were at least a hundred and fifty people battling for less than twenty jobs, only two of which I could have applied for doing the dishes. I just didn't see the point because it won't even be open for another six months and I'm wondering if I'll even be here.
Despite their kindness it just seems inappropriate to me that we live in my gf's parent's house for such a length of time, especially since we don't contribute to the financial running of the house. I didn't move here for the weather, or the cheese, or the wine. I'm here with my gf because it's her home and if we can't make it work here then it's over.
I keep thinking that I should be doing something, but I just don't have a clue. Any ideas?