Lamar’s story

My name is Lamar, it mean the sparkle of gold. I’m 27 years old, married, from Benzert in Tunisia and i’ve been in France for six month. I’m in training and so far i haven’t had any problems getting my administrative situation regularized.
I got married, at first my husband had decided he wasn’t going back to France. He had decided to stay in Tunisia. That why we didn’t get married. Because, he lived in France, he thought i wanted to marry him to go to France. But me i didn’t think like that, i didn’t really like the idea of coming to France, on the contrary : i love my country, my mother, my father, my brothers. He told me not come to France with him. Then we got married, and said ” I have to go back to France for work”, so i came because he told me to.

Cultural differences

I really like France, for vacations, because it’s a beautiful country. But to live there, i think it lacks something, it lacks some tenderness. Back home, when you see someone, you worry about them if they’re sad, , you cook them a nice meal, you send the neighbour to visit them, but here nobody cares, everyone’s thinking about themself. I miss my neighbours. Every days we check on each other, visiting the sicks, even if they’re not part of our family.

Life here is hard. When i arrived, i cried every days. My husband has french nationality, and i had a “family reunification” visa.
I was with my husband, it was my first trip when i arrived. I didn’t had administrative problems, Thank God; howeverI had a very hard time getting used to life in France.. I wanted to go back to my country but if i decide to do so, i will have to leave my husband because he want to stay there.

The first difficulties

At first, we were living with his family, it was uncomfortable. I was waiting for one thing : find a appartment just for us, to be independant.

Also, my family in Tunisias, didn’t check on me, they didn’t have the time to call me every days, i was lonely. I quickly learned to manage on my own : communicating even if i don’t speak the language, getting around thanks to Internet, finding my way around the city and the bus routes.
My husband takes care of administration and health. I haven’t asked for help from any associations or structures, now i would like to find a place play sports. There’s also the school where i’m learning french

I tried to get a job but with my hijab on , i couldn’t find one. I tried working for Tunisians who work in a pastry in the Vieux-Port, but it was the same thing : they wouldnt accept me because of my hijab. It’s unfair, everyone should be free to choose, some women dye their hair yellow or green, they are free; well me, i like to wear my hijab. It doesn’t change my personality or the way i treat people, i’m a hard worker and welcoming no matter what. It’s something between God and me.

I left school at 17 y.o and wanted to join the army but my family didn’t want me to.
I really like pastry-making, but i don’t want to study in France, it’s too long, three years to do pastry-making and i would have to pass the baccalaureate.
Especially since I’m not going to get a job after this, because mu hijab

Toughening up after hardship

I changed a lot since i arrived, i toughen up.
I use to be kind-hearted, i liked everyone. Now i’m less available and not interested in people.
I encountered a lot of difficulties, when i arrived i was underdoing IVF.
I should have rested but i traveled the day after the operation… to arrive in a country i didn’t know.
I got the result on the day of the sacrifice. We hadn’t bought a sheep.
For me, it was very difficult : the first party after the wedding, away from my family, without making any sacrifice and learning that the IVF didn’t work. Especially when my mother-in-law found out and told me it was responsible, that i was climbing a lot of stairs, i felt guilty while my family told me that my husband was also the cause of my infertility.

In Tunisia i had a kitten, my husband brought it back a week after our wedding so that it stay home with me. I was afraid of the hairs and diseases, i wanted him to stay outside but now i call him “my son”. I paid a lot of money to take care of him. I was very fond of him and never let him alone for long, he was always with me.
I would have loved to take him with me but it takes 4 months and a lot of money to get his papers done. I left him with my brothers , and i will send money for foods. But they said he was missing, i think they gave him away or abandoned him.

An advice

My advice to a woman moving to France : be strong so no one will takes advantage of you. If she has children, avoid working tight away to be able to look after them, because here children leave home at 17 or 18 years old, which is too early and they’re not ready to be independent. I fear for the young people these days, because they don’t really value life the way we used to. There is a lot of alcohol and drugs.
A woman who works and looks after her children at the same time as no time for herself. Its very tiring.
My husband works, and I do the cooking and cleaning, unless i’m sick ou tired

Thinking about the future

In Tunisia, we have a house. Over there, life is simple. You can go for walks, to the moutains, to the sea, even without money.
In five ou six years i hope we go back. I would like to be close to my family. Then, maybe i will work. I will sell cakes in a welcoming bakery, full of love and tenderness, something like that, God willing.
Marseille is a beautiful city, but France is more famous for brands like Dior, Chanel, artificial things that don’t interest me.
It’s ok for holidays but not for living