“We’re doing fine! We’re eating tasty food, taking day trips to the beach, exploring the city, relaxing… The weather is gorgeous, the atmosphere is great, no major issue,” I type in my daily email to Feng, who stayed in Canada. “Sorry, I know it feels like I’m writing a press release for the French tourism industry. But honestly, I like it here. Life is just… easier.”

“Of course, life is easier when you are on holiday!” you may think. But I’m not really on holiday, I’m still working. And I’m not staying in an all-inclusive resort on the French Riviera but at my mum’s place. I’m not really escaping from day-to-day life because my French life involves grocery shopping, cooking, and taking care of Mark (and other relatives).

I’m not saying life is easy in France. But these days, it feels easier than in Canada.

Canada has changed and it hasn’t changed for the better.

It’s not just about the whole pandemic ordeal—unpleasant pretty much everywhere on earth—and the inflation. Well, there’s that, of course. I’m sick and tired of the whole exercise in public health theatre because what we really need at this stage (and needed before) is a decent healthcare system. Usual disclaimer, I’m saying this as someone who strongly believes in vaccination and public health measures that make scientific sense, not political sense. As for the inflation, I have no idea what to do because it’s not my job, but I was hoping people whose job it is could maybe come up with mitigation ideas instead of shifting the blame.

I have zero regrets about moving to Canada twenty years ago and becoming Canadian along the way. I had great opportunities and frankly, I can’t picture an alternative life.

But people change, and countries change as well. And I’m tired of living in a country where the motto is “for fuck’s sake, don’t get sick” because the healthcare system is collapsing. I’m not really happy with the education system either. I’m not a big fan of the current constant blame-shifting trend. I don’t like the fact big corporations with zero accountability seem to be running the country.

And more anecdotally, I find living in Canada has been exhausting lately between supply chain issues, restrictions, and extreme weather events. Both the US and Canada are individualistic societies where nobody has your back. When things run smoothly, it can be an exhilarating experience—be whoever you want to be, do anything you want, the sky is the limit! But good luck when you eventually need something from society—affordable housing, childcare, healthcare services, etc. If there’s no profit to be made, it’s not easily accessible or sometimes just not available.

I can’t move back to Europe with Mark and Feng—that’s not even on a table for many, many reasons.

But I no longer trust Canada. I’ll keep on tweaking my life until it makes sense—or at least, I’ll try.

Meanwhile, you can find me running on the beach, exploring cities and taking pictures.  

Place Pasteur, Mansions of La Baule
Place Pasteur, Mansions of La Baule
"I Love La Baule"
“I Love La Baule”
Esp. François André, La Baule-Escoublac
Esp. François André, La Baule-Escoublac
Esp. François André, La Baule-Escoublac
Esp. François André, La Baule-Escoublac
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Bridge between La Baule and Le Pouliguen
Bridge between La Baule and Le Pouliguen
Rue Général Leclerc, Le Pouliguen
Rue Général Leclerc, Le Pouliguen
Rue Branly, Le Pouliguen
Rue Branly, Le Pouliguen
Place de l'Église, Le Pouliguen
Église Saint-Nicolas, Le Pouliguen
Église Saint-Nicolas, Le Pouliguen
Grande Rue, Le Pouliguen
Grande Rue, Le Pouliguen
Quai Jules Sandeau, Le Pouliguen
Quai Jules Sandeau, Le Pouliguen
Phare du Pouliguen
Phare du Pouliguen
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
Plage Benoît, La Baule
La Fraiseraie, 62 Av. du Général de Gaulle, La Baule-Escoublac
La Fraiseraie, 62 Av. du Général de Gaulle, La Baule-Escoublac
La Fraiseraie, 62 Av. du Général de Gaulle, La Baule-Escoublac
La Fraiseraie, 62 Av. du Général de Gaulle, La Baule-Escoublac
TGV train, La Baule to Nantes
TGV train, La Baule to Nantes
 

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14 Comments

  1. Kate July 24, 2022 at 2:21 am

    I feel the same about my life in Germany compared to my life in Canada. This is despite moving here in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, without knowing the language. And Germany has a reputation for being “difficult”.

    I’ve been following your blog for many years and really enjoy your posts about France. Can’t wait to visit Nantes and those lovely beaches next year (fingers crossed).

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 24, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Kate,

      Nice to meet you! (And I’m flattered you’ve been reading the blog for a while!)

      I’m really curious about your life and your move now 🙂 Are you blogging by any chance? Anywhere I could find you online? I’m always fascinated by other immigrants’ life.

      I can only imagine how tough it must have been to come to Germany during COVID and without knowing the language. I don’t speak it but let’s face it, German is… ahem, it doesn’t look instinctive 😆 I do know several people who made Germany their home in the past few years and they seem to love it.

      Reply
      1. Kate July 25, 2022 at 12:03 pm

        Hello Juliette!

        I don’t have a blog or anything else online. But I was thinking to email you one day because I have a silly dream: to meet up in Nantes in the future so I could tag along with you for a day or so. I’d love to experience the area through someone else’s eyes.

        Reply
        1. Zhu July 25, 2022 at 7:07 pm

          That’s not a silly dream, and I’m flattered again! I must admit that being a tour guide in Nantes is one of *my* silly dreams 😆 So we would be a perfect match!

          Honestly, it’s a lovely place. It improved a lot in the past twenty years and it’s still pretty affordable (for tourism), unlike “famous” places like Nice, Cannes or Paris. So keep in touch, I’ll be honoured to show around you! My email is on the Contact me page 😉

          Reply
  2. Martin Penwald July 24, 2022 at 8:52 am

    Mark looks very serious and adult on the last picture.

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 24, 2022 at 9:00 pm

      I gave him the few novels in English I still have at my mum’s place, he was reading Sue Townsent. She’s hilarious, British writer (passed away a few years ago) and she wrote a lot about Thatcher’s years. Not sure what Mark understood but he was intrigued.

      Reply
      1. Martin Penwald July 25, 2022 at 3:40 am

        If he likes to read, I would suggest Un-Lun-Dun, by China Miéville. It’s a story for young teenagers, more accessible than the rest of his work (very good by the way, but the most part is probably more suited for older teenagers and adults).

        Reply
        1. Zhu July 25, 2022 at 6:57 pm

          Noted, thank you! I’ll look it up 🙂

          Reply
  3. kinky July 25, 2022 at 9:41 am

    reading your blog kinda eyes opener for me, no country is perfect. while you fell sorry about Canadian Health insurance (or alike), the national health insurance in my country had helped many, that you can even consult with psychology if you need one (and it’s free) . ya of course there are many minus-es… but it is wayyy better that last decades,

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 25, 2022 at 6:59 pm

      Is it hard to find a healthcare provider (a family doctor, for instance) in Indonesia when you need it? Canada doesn’t have enough doctors for the population, hence why it’s hard to access healthcare. There are issues with the French healthcare system as well (overworked doctors, underfunded hospitals) but from a patient perspective, it’s not as bad as in Canada.

      Reply
      1. Kiky July 25, 2022 at 9:23 pm

        In my country, every neighborhood has its own health center with minimum infrastructure/ facility of course. If you only have a basic package health insurance (which was launched 6 yrs ago I guess), you have to go there first before the general doctor recommend you to bigger hospital.
        Now that my dad is a retiree, his monthly medicines are obtained via this service meanwhile I can go to private hospital (since my company paid for my health insurance).
        However, I still have to pay for the basic insurance package , still it is a mandatory. It’s around USD 10/person/month (so I have to pay USD 30 for my children as well). It helps people whose income is “basic” or marginal. Cross-subsidy
        When I was a freelancer a year go, I used this service as well.
        Since we have huge population and medical schools available in almost big uni (private uni and public uni) across the nation, a health care staffs are available in big cities but I do doubt in remote area.

        Reply
        1. Zhu July 27, 2022 at 9:18 pm

          Thank you for the explanation, this is very interesting!

          I do think so-called “developed countries” should review how other countries handle basic needs like healthcare. Of course, no country is perfect, but I think Europe and North America tend to be too arrogant sometimes, thinking they know best. I was very impressed by the way Brazil was vaccinating communities like year for instance–big population, hard to reach areas, many poor neighbourhood… yet it paid off.

          Reply
  4. Christiane July 25, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    I always felt like a foreigner in Ottawa even though I have been a Canadian citizen for a few yrs now. Weirdly, I miss U.S. (pre- Trump). Now, it is all fucked up there. I am grateful for the rights I have in Canada. It feels different when there is seemingly pressure to assimilate when there shouldn’t.

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 25, 2022 at 7:09 pm

      Same as you, I used to love going to the US as a tourist… up to Trump :-/

      Reply

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