Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Going Local


It's that time of year where some people are worrying about how to pay off their Christmas credit card bills, save for their tax bills, or just pay the regular bills.

Yet in a cozy café in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, there's one American mom who's not happy that she has to start paying her bills. Her free ride is almost over.

Michigan Mom: La Mom, the worst thing has happened! Michigan Dad's three year expat contract is up and we've been offered the option of staying in Paris indefinitely.

La Mom: That's great news. Are you going to stay on? What's the bad news?

Michigan Mom: No, it's not good! Michigan Dad's company wants to put us on a local contract.

La Mom: That's great news, actually. You're almost French now.

Michigan Mom: Did you hear me? We'll have to go l-o-c-a-l. How can we go local after living on an expat contract? It's like eating le pain without the au chocolat.

La Mom: C'mon. It's not the end of the world. You get to live in Paris for as long as you want. Do you realize how many people would love to be in your shoes?

Michigan Mom: I don't care. We're going to have to start paying our own bills. We'll have to pay the rent on our apartment! Plus we lose the hardship allowance, the all-expenses-paid annual family trip back to Michigan, and all of the kid's international school tuition.

La Mom to self: What the ooh la la? "Lose the hardship allowance?" Since when is living in the most beautiful city in the world "hard"? Ok, the Parisians and their dogs can be quite hard to live with at times, but still. It's Paris, not Detroit.

La Mom: Well, you wouldn't have those benefits in the U.S., so what's the difference?

Michigan Mom: It's no fun living in Paris if we have to pay our own bills. I haven't paid a water bill in three years! I spend all that extra money on Vente Privée. How am I going to pay rent on a 300 square meter apartment in the 7th and buy designer labels at discount prices on a local salary? Mon Dieu, we may have to move to the suburbs or the 17th arrondissement!

La Mom: Well, the 17th arrondissement isn't exactly a slum. Look on the bright side - at least you'll have a garden in the 'burbs AND there won't be so much dog crotte on the streets. The kids' shoes will stay crotte-free.

Michigan Mom: Don't make fun of me, La Mom.

Photo credit Ian Britton
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