Thursday, January 02, 2020

Making Money

Money has always played a key part of our decision to move to France. Yeah, we enjoy the culture, the markets, the laidback lifestyle,
We enjoyed a hike through the bucolic landscape in northern Spain on El Camino last June. 
but, frankly Earl wouldn't have been able to retire if we stayed in the States because of the cost of health insurance. In France, we can buy health insurance for about $900 a year for the two of us.
In the U.S., the cost is $1500 per month for a high-deductible plan. That's about a third of our monthly income just for insurance that doesn't cover anything except wellness checkups.
When we moved, I anticipated continuing to teach college online. I taught for two colleges here in Ohio, both online and in person, so I thought I could continue to teach online.
One university has continued to give me classes, but only two classes in 2019.
The other college hasn't returned my emails, even when they were desperately seeking an online professor this fall. It hurts my budget and my pride.
I was the go-to person when I was teaching at this college. I was asked to pick up extra classes when someone died, when someone else had a stroke, and when someone else couldn't handle teaching three college classes at a high school on the far east side of Columbus. The chair of the English department asked me to step in, and each time I did, handling my previous load and the new classes. And that's what really bothers me that the college unceremoniously has ignored me since I left.
But that first year we were living in France, I realized that our budget would not work if I didn't have money coming in.
That's when I turned to VIPKid, teaching Chinese children online. In France, the hours are great, noon to 3 p.m. or 11-2 during the winter with the time change. Here in the States, that translates to 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. in winter, 6-9 in summer. It's grueling. I earn a few thousand dollars each month teaching for VIPKid, so that has helped patch the hole in our budget.
Me teaching Henry who decided to draw faces on  his own fingers. 
In January, I was already scheduled to teach an online class for the university that still speaks to me, along with a class scheduled for March and May, so I was feeling pretty good about it, when I got an email from a dean asking if I would take two classes on Columbus' campus in January.
I promptly responded that I didn't live in Columbus any more so he would need to find someone else.
Then I began to think about it.
We were scheduled to fly back to France on January 18. The classes at this university are 8 weeks long, so I would have to be in town through the end of February, about a month after our planned departure.
And I usually bring home about $2000 per class, so if I took those two classes, I could earn an extra $4000. That $4000 could help pay off wedding bills and pay for renovations in our new house.
I approached Earl with the idea.
We already had our plane tickets to fly back, but I had gotten a great deal on the tickets -- $945 round trip for the two of us, that's $472 each, and I'd already flown in one direction, so I was losing $236 by not returning. Earl would return to France as planned while I stayed.
I told the dean that I would take the two classes and he told me he'd already found someone to take one of the classes.
I can't justify staying for one class, I explained. And a day later, he called and said both in-person classes were mine.
I felt like I'd been on a roller coaster -- staying, going, staying... as I tried to adjust my feelings about all of it.
But now I've signed contracts for all three classes and already prepared the online portions so it looks like I'm staying and teaching.
January and February are fabulous times to be in Ohio (sarcasm). It's nice to get to spend more time with the kids, even though Grace and Jack will be leaving Ohio to begin their journey to France before I get back.
Earl and I have an appointment to renew our visa -- carte de sejour -- on February 25th, so I'll fly back across the Atlantic, leaving Ohio on February 22nd, and arriving in Barcelona having missed half of my birthday on February 23rd.
Every time I make these big decisions, I spend a lot of time second guessing myself. I'm trying to just focus on the positives -- extra money, spending time with the kids and friends, and eventually returning to my new home in France.
Whether in France or the States, something is always missing, so I'm going to try to focus on living in the moment, even if it's a frigid run in the Ohio weather, or a Facetime call with people across the ocean.

If you're American or Canadian and are interested in teaching VIPKid, let me know. I'm happy to share what I know to help you travel the world while earning extra money. VIPKid referral


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Several teacher friends of mine are teaching via VIP Kid. It makes sense that education should work better and more efficiently online, I think. It's sad to me that so many have to so many difficulties retiring. America should treat its older workers better.

Paulita said...

Deb, Yes, education especially works better one on one, but most kids can't afford private lessons. If America could straighten out its healthcare, things would be so much better. Thanks for commenting.

Doodle T said...

Hi Deb - your post is so, so timely for me. I would love more info on VIP Kid. Thanks, Jeanne Doodle T.

Paulita said...

Jeanne, Leave me your email address and I'm happy to answer your questions.

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