on Alex MacMillan (Namibia), 02/Oct/2012 11:01, 34 days ago
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So, what's happened since we got back?Well, Alex was offered a job at the Japanese Delegation to the OECD in Paris, as their Senior Assistant. This means that he's supporting the diplomats by doing research for them, going to the OECD for meetings and conferences, writing speeches and briefings, and in general enjoying the next step that life has taken him in. It's also meant that we've moved to Paris - a city that we've long wished to move to. We're kinda surprised that we've actually made it here. Looking for a flat was fairly difficult, but we've been lucky - and found a lovely apartment in the 10th district. What's been shocking about coming back to this beautiful city is that, since I lived here seven years ago, the number of homeless people has visibly increased. In the UK, as I worked in a homeless shelter, I was painfully aware each day of what the budget cuts meant for the vulnerable in society, as the shelters were deprived of funds and had to re-organise themselves - leaving only one emergency shelter in the whole of central London, which had to turn many people away each day. Having come back to Paris after a long time away, the contrast is shocking. And what's obvious is that the financial crisis has hit the vulnerable in society the hardest. We're definitely, absolutely, NOT "all in this together." I've therefore been very lucky in terms of getting work in a harsh climate - one day when I got chatting to a colleague of Alex's, I was told about another position they were hiring for: a Junior Assistant, doing similar jobs to Alex, but working with diplomats who work on Education, Transport, and Economy. I was lucky enough to be able to apply and be hired for the position. We were both told that our experience in Namibia, along with our experience in Vienna, meant that we had the advantage over other candidates. Our VSO year therefore was greatly beneficial in our search for subsequent employment - and the job market in Europe is tough at the moment. For my position, I'm told there was a large number of candidates, and competition was stiff. Job-seekers need anything they can to be able to stand out right now, and VSO therefore definitely helped us. So now Alex and I are able to work together again, and settle down in Paris. Next month we're popping back to the UK for a weekend to see the VSO support group who sponsored our placements in Namibia, for whom we wrote this blog (although the benefits of others reading it too has been great!), and to give a presentation of our work in Namibia during one of their curry evenings. We're very excited about it! For those living near Guildford, it's at the end of November - message me if you want to come!So thank you faithful readers, it's been lovely - and what a nice surprise to have such a global audience too (a special shout out to our readers in Somalia, the UAE, Russia and the Phillipines!). So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu.Does settling down mean the end of our wanderings? Whilst our Mums might be praying that it is, who knows - the thing about the travel bug is that, once bitten, you can never really scratch the itch.