So, with the intent of being less clammed up,
For those of you who don't know, J is in the police, and in France, that means he can apply for positions in different branches of what we'll generically call law enforcement and peace keeping (though the French police system is complicated and has the "gendarmerie" which is more army rather than gov't, but I digress). Since France still has territories and oversea "departments," police from mainland France are sometimes needed in these countries. Mayotte is one such place. A little geography lesson for those of you saying, "May-what?"
The star is where we'll be come July.
This is the island in question; it is part of the Comoros archipelago.
Anyhow, as you've guessed, this move will be a professional transfer for the duration of two years with the possibility to extend the tenure for one year (if they change the laws, we might be able to stay for two two-year terms). J will have one of four posts: on a boat patrolling for illegal immigrants coming over from the other islands of the Comoros (very sad situation); doing immigration stuff and security work at the airport; working on judicial matters/logging complaints/admin type stuff; or doing guard duty at the prison (ick).
What will I be doing? Hmmm...not sure yet. I might teach English. Or I might spend my days on the beaches, snorkeling, gathering local folklore... We get all sorts of nice bonuses for going, so nice that I may not have to work if we can sell our house here in France. However, if we want to travel around the islands, Africa, and Madagascar while we are there, not to mention going on lots and lots of dives, I might need to work after all because the cost of living is phenomenally high on Mayotte, especially imports (frex: last I checked, tomatoes were at €11/kilo....that's about $13.70 for 1.8 pounds)
One of the kickers about the whole thing is that, as I said at the beginning of this post, we won't have the official paper in hand until May 2, and the supposed date of departure is July 1. From now until then I will be working 6 days a week (school here lets out July 6 or 7), and The Vintner Boss already turned down vacation time in May when I asked because my lovely aussie friend slmcgaw wanted to come visit me. I know moving is different and he might be more amiable (I sincerely doubt it; the Father Vintner Boss is going to be severely pissed that I'm leaving my minimum wage, quasi part-time job with them after they "trained" me [*cough* training? What training? *cough, cough*]), but I need to work as long as possible so that we can have some funds stashed away. Those bonuses are great, but we don't touch the majority until we come *back* to France. So, I will be packing and trying to get things ready--like vaccinating the cats--during my lunch breaks, etc.
Amidst all this, I will have to try to beg off a week to visit the in-laws since we may not see them for a few years. A trip to the States is out of the question. Naturally, I might not be able to get in a lot of critting and writing between now and then. And once I get there...Well, let's just say that Mayotte has only offered unlimited Internet service since last year and they are still using the old sloooooow dial-ups.
That is the by and large of it...Oh, I left off the whys...
Well, the bonuses are definitely enticing, but more than that, J and I both like to travel and experience other cultures. From the age of six or seven I've wanted to live in Africa, and Mayotte is very similar to some African countries seeing as how the majority of the inhabitants have their roots there. When I was almost eight, I realized that Africa was very far away, and I probably wouldn't be getting there any time soon. The rainforests of South America seemed a lot more accessible, so I tried to bribe a neighbor girl into stealing her parents' credits cards. The next step of the plan was to steal an ice cream truck, and we would stock up on ice cream bought with said credit cards and sell it on our way through Mexico and down into the Amazon. That plan fell through (no surprise there, right?), as did my scheme (hatched at 10 years of age) to steal a bus and transform it into a "restaurant on wheels" which would take me down south. (I wonder what ever happened to my lists of necessities like rope, machetes, and bug spray, and the floor plans and menus for the bus.) Aside from one small trip over the Texan border into Juarez when I was a teen, I've come a lot closer to the original dream of living in Africa (spent 5 wks in Kenya in '95).
And now you know a lot more about my criminal mind than you needed to.