“When I grow up I am going to be a model in Europe,” is something I never said. EVER!
But life has a funny way of playing tricks on you. This is especially true when you do the “As long as I live I will never”-thing. But when I *Moved My Cheese to Europe, I needed to find work quickly. I was traveling alone with no back-up plan, and needed to survive. And thanks to my height and constitution, neither of which were a credit to me, I found work modeling-runway and print.
Now if you’re thinking ‘big bucks’ you are way off. The tax base for expats working in Europe is 55%, leaving you little room to splurge. Fashion models hit Japan for the ‘big bucks,’ while models come to Europe for ‘tear sheets’ for their portfolio to catapult their careers, which was never my intention. I came here to travel, to explore, to meet new people and affording the adventure was an essential part of the journey. The freelance nature of modeling gave me the time I needed to hit the road to new places again.
Living in Paris, like living in any large city, offers you a large variety of delicacies most of which I could not afford. Once and awhile when someone paid for my meal, my tastebuds were cheering, because, yes, French food is as good as they say. But the majority of the time, with my salary grade, I ate canned tuna and baguettes. Over and over again.
When we came back to France as a family, I was faced with options I could finally afford. Croissants, baked perfections, escargot, Brie! And bi-jingo, I was going to share the experience with my family. You could usually track the Hirn Fam somewhere along the Champs de Elysee by their audio track at the table: “Mmmmmmm,” “Woah!” “Yum.”
Did I treasure my memories of being a single female on her own in Paris all those months? Of course. But would I trade it all for no family, no money and 7 cans of canned tuna fish? ARE YOU KIDDING?
Have a great weekend!
*Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson