I went out last weekend, it was a necessity. One of my best friends & his wife are coming back to America & it was supposed to be a big announcement. It was supposed to be a surprise. The only really surprise was that he was staying for a visit. For the most part, it wasn’t assumed he was coming home for good. What a pleasant surprise, right? He lives & works in France, which means that he & his wife are out here for a couple of months every year.
It must me nice living in a country that gives you that much vacation time on top of a good paycheck.
It is one of the reasons that I don’t think the return is going to last. American jobs don’t shell out the same vacation time French jobs do & the hours are much longer. So there is going to be some re-adjustment there as well.
He got the US job the same way he got the French job. He just put in a transfer at work. It was that easy. Must be a good company, only he took a massive pay cut to move back to the US. He is getting paid ten-thousand-a-year less to work the same job in America, with the same experience, at the same company.
The other part of it is the child thing. They have a little one. He is about a year-old now. That’s also a pretty big problem. His friends cornered him, myself included, when we found out he was moving back for good.
“You do realize that the schools are better in France?”
“You realize that the economy is better there?”
“You realize that the health care is better?”
“You realize that there is a lower crime rate there?”
“You realize that the work day is shorter, you can spend more time with him.”
“You realize that the vacations are longer, you can spend more time with him.”
“You realize less of your French friends smoke, do you want to raise him with lung cancer?”
“I thought you’d be happy to have me back!”
Well, we would, but you have a child & America is no place to raise a child. In this crowd, he couldn’t even use the “how do you know?” argument. Thanks to his relocation to France, most everyone there has been to that country, sometimes for a month or two at a shot. We’re the type of American’s that can give you directions…to the only taqueria in Paris. We have tasted the other side of the Atlantic & understand how bad of an idea relocating to America as a child is.
It’s cheaper, on all of us, to have him back, but we did turn on him, in force, when he told us he was moving back to the good old U.S. of A. The reaction he received would have been different if he did not have a child.
And then he hit us with the next bomb. He’s looking for an apartment in Chicago.
Again, all of his friends, people he has known for decades, swarmed on him. Some of us met him in the first grade & we still attacked him. The general consensus was that he was an idiot.
It was one thing to have a child & move back to America. But it is unbridled idiocy to have a child & move back to Chicago.
It just works out that way.
Meanwhile, I have a masters, he has a BS & flew from France to give us the announcement.
I was counting the time in my head.
Gas, train fare, bus fare, about two hours work to get there. Dinner, two hours of work.. Case of beer, two hours of work. Bus fare, train fare, gas, another two hours of work.
I worked an eight hour day to go to Chicago & see my friends.
This is one of the reasons that I don’t go out. It was also one of the reasons that I told him, honestly, not to move back. He thinks that fifteen-dollars-an-hour is a low rate of pay…& he is drinking with people that think fifteen an hour is great. Fifteen dollars an hour lets us travel to France to see him every once & a while if we travel on the absolutely cheapest means possible.
Fifteen means that we can pay for our cheap apartments, we can pay for our utilities & we can either pay off college or have money saved up to travel because we worked our way through college.
He was in a group of twenty people where the average was two college degrees & the average rate of pay was around $35 dollars an hour…but that was because he was there with a lawyer & his Biochemist wife.
If we removed three people, if we removed the lawyer, the biochemist, & the dual-citizen the average education would still be two degrees. The average rate of pay would be $11 an hour.
I cost me an entire days wages to drink too much & sleep on a friend’s couch. It is the reason no one has seen me since September.
You remove three people from a crowd of around twenty & the education stays the same but the rate of pay drops significantly.
Would you want to move your child back to a country like that?
Would you want to trade two months paid vacation for three weeks paid vacation? Would you want to trade a 30 hour work week for a 40 hour work week & less money when you are raising a child?
He is trading the proximity of one set of grandparents for another & in doing so increasing the poverty that surrounds the child, decreasing the quality of health care, decreasing the quality of education, & ultimately decreasing the quality of life.
Our only hope is that we talked him out of relocating to Chicago.