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Let Me In

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I could also say "Let me out." After a while, you are surrounded by four walls that just won't move.

Looking for employment to support an American family outside the U.S. is slightly more difficult than it was for Geraldine Ferraro to raise money for her Vice-Presidential campaign back in 1984. When searching for where to go, the issues are not juggled but handled simultaneously. You need to learn everything you can all at once while taking time along the way to digest it. Immigration forms, culture, regulations and employment. Some countries will really stop you in your tracks.

To give an idea of our internet globe-trotting for jobs, here's a list of most of the countries we gave any thought to: Canada, New Zealand, Finland, France, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan, Ethiopia, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and The Netherlands. Yes, you read that correctly. Ethiopia. There was a job opening in Addis Ababa. They never returned my e-mail. I also looked into the Peace Corps., but they don't allow children along even for the experience. A lot of anthropology professors would debate them on the power of such interaction.

I searched for teaching jobs. Canada requires that you be on their soil as a Permanent Resident or you can't get one. Computer jobs, even those tailor-made for my husband, went to others. And time and time again, in Europe, if you didn't have European Union papers, that was it. A very long job advertisement would scroll, containing perfect tidbits of information for what we would need. After making my way all the way to the end-Don't bother applying if you don't have EU papers, or working papers, or Native speakers with EU papers only.

As for The Netherlands, if you're in your mid-forties, you'd better hurry. The cut-off for a work permit is forty-five in Amsterdam. Belgium makes it workable if you have, well, work. Switzerland has schools all over the place but had no openings. Spain has issues for you to contend with if you have children in their school system, as is the case with Greece. And by the time I got around to Sweden and Norway, I had little energy left to look.

We focused on New Zealand, Finland, and then back to Canada. Competition for getting into New Zealand came in the form of a geological event. Huge numbers of those displaced by the tsunami went there. It led me to say, "I'll move over if you'll move over." After all, mine was a political disaster. It may not equate with the physical devastation from a tsunami, but it's bad enough. The onslaught, however, greatly affected paperwork and fees, something I was barely willing to work along with. I would ask myself, "Are you sure you want to do this?" every so often after catching my breath. Let's face it, this was a big move for a family to make. You have to be sure.

 

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Raechel's poetry, short stories, commentary, articles and interviews have appeared in print and online. Much of her work has, previously, appeared under the name, Rachel Gladstone-Gelman.

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