This new episode is about the continuation of my trip to Malaysia, my return to Vancouver and the race for good causes.
Let's go back to Malaysia a few weeks earlier...
Jet lag is sometimes good. My eyes were wide open since 4 o'clock in the morning. I was listening to the quietness of the night, lulled by the hum of the fan and the song of the night insects. I know that my favorite part of the day will soon come: the sunrise. It is so beautiful to hear the world awaken, the birds initiate action, the sky slipping the blanket of night, studded with the last faint stars in the firmament. All is quiet and the worlds are transitioning.
I went for a jog in the area and it was beautiful. It was still dark and I heard the first call to prayer. The heady scents of jasmine, frangipani and other flowers filled the air. There is always a first bird that sings, before another responds, and then the other types of birds also engage in morning conversations. I have a feeling that monkeys sometimes join in this animal choir. I love listening to the complex songs of the birds. It seems to me that they are ancestral songs, mythical stories about the fragility and beauty of life, reunion, the beauty of the world and love. In Australia, I remember my family saying to me, "The first few days you are amazed and then as time goes by you wish they would shut up!" We underestimate these tenors...
The artistic bloom
Art is becoming a bigger part of my life. I realized recently (March 31) that a year ago I was on stage for the "De la plume à la Scène" (From the Pen to the Stage) project at La Boussole for this one performance. Today, I am preparing another piece with Magda Ochoa. I can't say too much about it, but after a six-handed adaptation phase, I will have to learn my text to be ready for the end of September. I am very lucky to be able to work to give others the chance to do forum theater and to continue performing myself.
I will also continue the music with my two musician acolytes, Daniel and Massimo. We play Daniel's original pieces and mine that Massimo arranges. We did an open stage and it was the first time I played as a trio on stage. It had been a long time since I had played on stage again as a musician and I was very stressed. I had to say that I showed up a few minutes before we were told it was our turn. We could only do two songs. Daniel's song was okay, but on mine, I was a little bit more nervous and I crashed at one point. Fortunately, Daniel and Massimo had saved my ass and it didn't get along too well.
Our rehearsals make me feel good.
When I arrived, I was as moved by the warmth finally found as I was by the Bahasa Malaysia on the road signs and advertisements. I have not been in contact with this language for very long, just like with Malagasy, but these are languages very close to me, languages of the heart, languages of adoption. I felt more than welcomed in these countries, I felt at home, integrated for real, absorbed as she is. We took Nathalie as she is: Reunionese, French, weird, unique, artistic, funny, human. I can imagine that everyone's experiences are different and that I was probably lucky, but I only speak from my perspective, I admit it.
I am happy to understand most of the basic interactions in Bahasa Malaysia. It's like an echo of my previous life, when I was living in Malaysia in 2019...
I would love to learn Cantonese to better communicate with my family but that's a goal for next year.
I experienced a lot of happiness in Malaysia. I have taken a step back from this happiness and in my opinion, I also owe it to others. Of course, I am the driving force behind all this, but we evolve through contact with others.
I am getting stronger to be able to help others.
A trip to the head cutters and cultural correspondence
We went to the Mari-Mari cultural center and it was a beautiful experience. Nestled in a lush jungle, this cultural center allows you to discover along a path the customs and cultures of the different tribes present in the region of Sabah, on the island of Borneo.
The vegetation clearly reminded me of the Seychelles. The trees are tall, contrary to Reunion Island which is swept by cyclones and where the vegetation had to grow denser to resist the assaults of the powerful winds. The leaves of the trees are also very big. A small stream flowed and made a chime sound.
It was well done, not condescending or colonialist and highlighted local traditions well. It reminded me of the Maori cultural experiences in New Zealand (the best approach I've seen yet). Obviously, there are also cultural similarities all around the Pacific Ocean.
A few things in the huts also once again validated the theories I had read about Malaysian travelers arriving in Madagascar. We have in common not only food but crafts: I saw a bertel (Reunionese name for a woven backpack), vans (Reunionese name for round woven baskets) and rattan objects (called ratan in Bahasa Malaysia). It's beautiful and moving to think that we are all so connected.
We experienced a traditional trampoline, made only of branches and rattan. The small group of foreigners that we were took the trampoline. The small group of strangers that we were took the hand and pressed several times in cadence to have everyone jump in the air after a countdown. When you experience this simple "game", you feel the cohesion of the group. We all go up in the air together to try to catch an object fixed to the ceiling. Symbolically speaking, it is very strong.
It was also very symbolic to hear our guide talk about the blade used to cut the heads of the enemies and to show us one. He explained to us that each hole in the blade meant the number of heads cut off by that same blade; it had eight. I thought that the holes would weaken the blade, but my companion explained to me that on the contrary, the area around it is only strengthened. It reminds me of kintsugi.
Marine maternal bond
Despite the presence of jellyfish, some of them apparently almost deadly, I found the crystal clear water of the sea again. I was so happy to finally swim with the fish. This is my cradle. I have a very carnal relationship with the ocean.
My partner confessed to me that he came with me but was not totally comfortable in this element. For me, being in the water means being safe. To be in the sea is to be in my element, to be the element, to be the sea itself. I was probably a sea animal in a previous life. Of course, the corals are a bit dark sometimes and full of creatures but I can't help it, I have to go and see them, to swim (for hours if possible), to float, to explore the lagoons, to hear sounds from outside absorbed and to hear the fish munching on the corals, to hear the lapping of the waves on the beach, to be tossed by them.
The feeling of salt on my skin brought me back to my childhood, to those Sundays at the beach, to the soft sand under my steps in the water, to those sorbets after a good bath obtained while running behind the ice cream truck with music as hypnotizing as the sirens' song.
End of the holidays...
I am finishing writing this article as the vacations are coming to an end. It was a great reunion after more than three years. I was able to reconnect with nature and my family. Again, I know I am very lucky and I think of those who can't go home for a thousand reasons. I want to send them my love.
... and back to Vancouver
The return was not as brutal as I thought. I returned to people I like, people I love, a job I really enjoy and a nice routine.
I came back with a lot of solar energy in me, ready to share it with everyone.
The BMO Race
I did the BMO Race recently. I used to hate running, especially in temperate climates because the cold air entering my lungs felt like a thousand needles in my lungs.
Then I thought I should try things I didn't like or didn't usually do. So running was at the top of my list. Then I was curious to see what it would be like to be part of a race. I say be part of, not run against, fight against. I wanted to be part of something. I was not disappointed.
I wanted to train for at least two months but between a busy schedule and a vacation where I really relaxed, running was not the priority. So I went in with really minimal training. I was going to run from time to time in the gym, on an elliptical, just to preserve my joints.
The day before the race, I went to get my bib and my t-shirt and I was really surprised that it was already like going to a party. Of course, there is the commercial aspect: they want to sell you the latest equipment, the best cereal bars and other socks promising great things. But beyond that, there are also organizations that show other things: the different marathon destinations, charities...
This race exists since 1972 and attracts thousands of participants. There are three races to choose from: the marathon (42.2 km), the half-marathon (21.1 km) or the 8 km. You can run as an individual or in a team and you can even run for a charity listed on their website.
Before the race, I had some time and joined the crowd that had gone to cheer on the strangers running the half marathon. I thought it was powerful to give courage to people who give of themselves without us knowing each other.
At the starting line, the atmosphere was very good, far from the pure and hard competition.
The image of a man holding a sign with the words "Remember your 'why'" remains with me. Of course, I thought about my "why" and in that moment I said to myself, I am going to run for the people who can't do this race and for the people I love. Those words played over and over in my head.
Ironically enough, during the first few meters, a homeless man, sitting next to his bike and bags, was watching us go by... Just as absurd as the image of orange school buses, those shuttles ready to take us away and this man, itinerant, covered with a comforter, before brochures of new condos and real estate development around him.
So it really got me thinking about my "why", that I want to run for something, that when I live and work, I do it for a cause: others.
I could have run against or for myself and I probably did, running against my time, against numbers but in the end, what's the point? Why run against when you can run for? The fact of making sense, of being focused on my inner messages, of replaying the names of the people I love, and then at a certain point, I came to a moment that I lived in the Seychelles, the "rescue" of my father. I put it in brackets because those are his words, not mine. For me, I just had to do it. I said to myself: think back to that moment when you had to act, keep calm and breathe well, tell yourself that you can do it, without pressure, without forcing, you can swim.
I enjoyed being overtaken, watching people walk, never feeling superior or inferior but part of the whole, like a fish in a school of fish.
At the end, I had the sun in my eyes and not my sunglasses. I wanted to push, I accelerated a little to cross the finish line. I almost broke my face on a small marker separating the 8kms and half-marathon finishes that was not well marked. Then I stopped suddenly, not being able to continue my stride and I really almost threw up. This stop was too brutal for my body and made me realize that I had asked a lot from my body, that it was ok but that I shouldn't push it either.
Then I was given a medal for participating but what I see when I look at it are the messages I had at that moment: run for those who can't and those I love.
I'm starting to write again on April 1st. It could be a joke, but no, I'm back on track with my beloved blog, left fallow for a long time because of a thousand questions that I didn't want to hit my readers with a bamboozle.
Here I am at the Vancouver airport, ready to leave this city, almost three and a half years later. Three years of break in my incessant travels, holder of a terrible carbon footprint with my flights around the world. In my defense, I traveled in order to settle down somewhere, looking for a fertile land to put down roots somewhere. Of course, I've crunched my teeth on new experiences, new discoveries and above all new encounters in far away places. Far away from each other, far away from my home, then I came to wonder what my home was, then my home became people, then finally a small part of myself when depression created a deafening silence in my head and body.
So here I am at a new moment where everything changes, a magnificent and dizzying pivot. After three and a half new experiences, because I had never stayed in the same place for so long since I was a child, it's time for a kind of assessment, a glance in the mirror.
I won't come back on the depression, on the desire to throw myself off a bridge because finally, it was an episode that I recognize, that I accept and that allowed me to grow. I prefer to offer my readers the story of this exciting and extremely rewarding adventure that is my job at La Boussole.
Forum theater at La Boussole
I am thriving in my position as Forum Theatre Project Coordinator. This social intervention theater is a powerful tool to make people think, raise awareness and empower victims of social inequalities. It is a delicate job with a lot of responsibility. I feel that I am serving a cause that is bigger than myself and as a result, I forget about a lot of the obstacles. The ego is not in the driver's seat, the fear of not being good enough, of not being up to the task or of not being able to see on the screen are muted to let my desire, the mobilization of different skills acquired during totally different experiences.
And then I work with a great team, with great speakers, with fantastic volunteers and very committed participants.
Of course, this theatrical exercise stirs and even shocks by the themes it tackles. Social inequalities are still too widespread and above all, too commonplace. But these difficult moments also offer the opportunity for the people affected to raise awareness and to give elements to address a person correctly for example or to change their attitude and become more respectful.
Return to the natural habitat
From the airplane window, when I saw the light, something in me was very moved to find this atmosphere again. I knew that in the next few minutes, my body would find this dense equatorial humidity that some people hate and that I love so much, this raw light, this expected breeze when it is too hot, this burning sun on my skin. I feel like a fish that finds the water, especially the one that buries itself in the bed of dry rivers and waits for the return of the flood. I feel like those tulips and other spring flowers blooming with the first rays of sunshine and mild temperatures.
The trip to the city reminded me of Mauritius with this left-hand drive and this tropical vegetation. The motorcyclists reminded me of Mauritius and Madagascar. All my previous trips are intertwined with time.
Malaysia is far from being just a sunny vacation destination for me; it is a return to so many things. It is a return to one _ of many _ turning points in my life. It was the first time that I didn't plan a trip, that I wanted to let myself be surprised and live a little. It was going to see, without knowing it, an umpteenth version of the roots of the settlement of Reunion, an umpteenth version of my roots.
This morning, at the call of the muezzin, dogs of the district howled in heart. This witness of the cohabitation of the different communities (we are in a predominantly Chinese and Christian community and Ramadan is celebrated by the Muslim community) brings me back to Reunion Island where it is normal to respect the confession of one's neighbors. Of course, whether it is in Reunion or in Malaysia, there are always snags sometimes but on the whole, things are going pretty well.
As much as I appreciate this return to the warmth and "normal" living conditions for the native Reunionese that I am, I have time to appreciate my life and especially my work in Vancouver. Before discovering the meaning of the word "community" (I leave it in English in my French post because its meaning changes in French), I was suffering from the judgment that people were putting on me; Nathalie is "too nice", "you're going to get caught being like that all the time", and probably behind my back, Nathalie is a "sucker". When I came in contact with the concept of a "community center", everything made sense and I finally felt like I belonged. Working for society, for the common good, offering an unconditional welcome; this is finally what I can do and who I am.
I am finally back in the writing process and my next publication will address my adjacent art projects planned for the summer and fall.
Strangers talking to you on the street
We were enjoying a savarin when a lady started talking to us. The conversation was sparked by a "Ah yes, that's good!" This incredible lady took us on a journey telling us that she was an archaeologist specializing in ancient diseases. But that her real unfulfilled dream would have been to be a volcanologist. She even had an app on her phone to track volcanic activity around the world in real time. We were treated to a real lecture from this Vancouver Islander, apparently a regular at this Vancouver tea room. She revealed that she was originally from Europe, had lived in Japan and was a widow.
People talk to us, people talk to me. It's incredible how much they open up. Do they know that I respect their word? That I will never reveal anything that could put them at odds? That they can trust me? Is that why they give themselves up to me so naturally?
I made a pledge to myself when I embarked on my career in journalism. It was crucial to make that pact with myself. I think I had it in me even before the journalistic turn, by the way. And I will never forget a lady I was taking care of in Paris, when I was doing home help.
She was not a very nice person, she even accused me of stealing money from her when she went shopping. I think that her butcher had tricked me, but anyway, I gave her back the difference. I don't really know if it was personal, if she didn't like me, if she didn't like my skin color, if she didn't like people or not anymore, but in the end, it didn't matter because she made me live an important moment and that's the most important.
While I was out shopping, while I was coming back panting from having climbed I don't know how many floors with my load, she asked me to sit down for a moment. And she opened up. She told me about her difficult arrival in Paris for a girl from the provinces. She told me about the difficult stages of her life. I felt a kind of relaxation in her attitude. It wasn't nice, but she had to open up about it.
The next day or two, I learned of her death from my employer. I was and even as I write these words today, I am genuinely moved. Perhaps relieved for her, that she was able to confide in someone about this before she left.
Then there is this lady on the Skytrain platform, who started in the same way, on a trivial subject, the presence of works that cancelled the trains from 11:30 pm. This Filipino lady then offered me to sit next to her to continue the conversation. I then learned that she was working at the hospital and that she had knee pain. She said that she was usually shy, but that after the experience of the confinement (which was light in Vancouver compared to the rest of the country and other countries), she finally found it pleasant to talk to someone like that.
She also asked me if we had met before. It's funny because this question came back to me in many different places and countries: one day in Paris in a supermarket, another one in Reunion Island and another one in Australia. It's funny to often sound like someone you know, no matter where you are, no matter what language you speak.
Conversations on the Skytrain
The other day, Yew Meng and I were in a moderately full Skytrain. We could hear behind our backs, a conversation between two young people who were obviously having their first date. This place was quite singular for this kind of discussion.
We listened to the questions and answers, a little stiff of these new lovebirds. There was something rather mechanical in the exchange, perhaps due to stress and emotion. The questions ranged from a simple interest in a color or bread (no, neither of them was French, though) to much more intimate and hard-hitting questions for a first date: Do you talk easily about your emotions?
Why I work on a podcast
Sound is important to me. When you think about it, the appearance of the telephone created, at least for my generation and the previous ones, a very important link with sound. You could perceive tones, it was a beautiful symphony of silences, noises in the background, prosody.
Today, some people are terrified of answering a phone call and take refuge in chat rooms and other instant messaging systems. This world where only notifications animate the atmosphere, when the phone is not on vibrate, is subject to so many misunderstandings and misinterpretations. It is also because the vocabulary is very poor. I was recently reading George Orwell's "1984" (yes, you can nail me for waiting so long to read it) and the novlanguage is there. I am, however, a supporter of the language evolution camp: it is evolving. But it still loses words, and therefore meaning, in the process.
It's strange in a way because technology is more and more advanced so that we can see and hear each other, but socially, we shut ourselves off more and more, we refuse the image, the voice in favor of cold digital messages. At least, the little words scribbled on paper at school left a more personal trace with handwriting.
The gamelan workshop
Publik Secrets, a collective of artists, organized a gamelan workshop as part of the ExplorAsian festival. We were lucky enough to attend, in Hadden Park, not far from Kitsilano Beach. This instrument has always fascinated me.
The gamelan is native to Bali and Indonesia. Its sound is produced by striking either metal or wooden cylinders. It cannot be played in isolation, it is part of an ensemble. The other instruments in the ensemble are percussion, gongs and other instruments that I cannot talk about, as I am only conducting a discovery workshop.
The artists Robyn Jacob and George Rahi introduced us to the instruments and showed us how to play them before we performed. We learned a simple suite. Something very organic happened to me. These vibrations were very soft and powerful at the same time. The sound was relaxing and hypnotic: I was totally absorbed in the sound and the moment. Of course, there had to be some concentration to not make a mistake, but beyond that, the experience took me a little further than that. As I repeated this simple sequence, I began to make a little swaying of my body: it was like the ebb of waves, like a breeze that animates a leaf. There was a gentle movement in me.
Then we played the suite, doubling the strokes and varying the volume. We alternated whisper and presence, rustle and radiance. I felt what I love about music: the organic side of the instruments. For me, nothing beats playing an organic instrument, whether it's wood or metal, and more than anything, nothing beats seeing these artists playing these instruments in the flesh. Of course, that doesn't stop me from enjoying the heavy bass of a good metal music song.
We stayed in the area, invited to watch the ensemble rehearse. It was timelessly beautiful, it was a musical tale, it was an animated painting with sounds. You can see the sounds if you concentrate well. Colors but also forms. This was a painting with a lot of depth, several planes and incredible actions. Some of the patterns really reminded me of the patterns used on the fabrics of the region (Indonesia, Bali and Malaysia): there was a kind of rotation, similar to the leaves that roll up.
At that moment, I felt like everything was a fabric: music, community, time... Fibers that intertwine.
I started music by ear, playing on a small children's piano. I was lucky enough to have a year of lessons with a very good teacher and learn classical music. He was quite flexible and a good teacher: he proposed me to transcribe the music I liked (so rock) on the piano so that I could play it. Then I met Dominique Amouny, an extraordinary teacher of Carnatic music. He set one of my songs to music. But above all, he introduced me to Indian singing and quarter tones, which I love.
I was very happy that people stopped, listened and absorbed this music. Some took pictures and videos, applauded at the end of the piece. I was happy to see the interest of the public for art, for such a beautiful and different music, to see this thirst for culture and sharing, this listening of the human pulse through music.
The pandemic has finally stimulated my artistic activity: two theatrical performances, one of which included one of my songs and the setting to music of a poem that is not mine. I must admit that I am the first one surprised! And apparently, this is only the beginning...
'De la plume à la scène' (From pen to stage) - a journey in times of pandemic
This project of staging letter exchanges between French-speaking adults in difficult situations and students learning French in a Vancouver school (anonymously) led me to play the role of a Mauritian woman, to play my own music, to set someone else's words to music and to assist in the staging. It was incredibly interesting and I would say that I outdid myself. I didn't expect to do all of this and more importantly to be able to do it!
Magda Ochoa, our director, is like a conductor and we are the strings and the keys that they play to create a symphony. It's beautiful! To me, she is a person who wants to bring out the best in us, the best in order to embody the right emotion.
We had a full house for our only performance on March 31, with 100 spectators, in Studio 16 of the Maison de la Francophonie. I am very happy that this project was supported by La Boussole, an organization that I cherish for its actions in the community.
I remember looking for agreements to put this person's poem on my couch. The challenge was that it was prose, so the vocal line was not obvious. On stage, I must admit that I lost the thread at one point and that it was difficult to hear the other musician. But it's the hazards of the job, of the stage and apparently, it didn't get along too well.
I was happy to finally feel my voice "open". Since I came to Vancouver, I had the impression that I had lost my voice, that it was a little curled up, that it sounded less. But since I've been doing yoga, I feel like it's flowing more easily. It must be that you physically open the chest and that it must help the breathing for example. I notice it with the "Om" that we chant at the beginning and at the end of the session. Sometimes I even feel that I can sense "dimensions" in the chanting. I used to feel this in my own songs when I experimented with more throaty sounds. I think some of my readers won't really imagine me doing throaty sounds but that doesn't mean I sing heavy metal!
I felt a communion with the other actors and the whole crew. For the technical side, hats off to the lighting designer who helped us two days before and who accomplished what we wanted on stage.
I met the person I played on stage and once again, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It is even more disturbing because we are connected, a bit like sisters, by the same root, Mauritius. Once again, I really made sure to try to respect the person I played as much as possible, not to caricature anyone, to use the words of our first role, Nunamata (Macy in real life), volunteer of the year at La Boussole.
I also did an interview for the WebOuest channel which made a documentary about the project. It will be very strange to see me in an interview: usually, I'm the one asking the questions!
I was exhausted for several days after the performance but so happy. It's an intense thing, the stage. The performance and the music on the same stage, it's another dimension.
The call of the stage?
It's funny how things sometimes happen. On the day of the performance of "De la plume à la scène", I was waiting in front of the theater and something quite incredible happened. A restaurant shares the premises of the Maison de la Francophonie, as does Studio 16 where we performed. A family came out of the restaurant, the lady smiled at me and I smiled back. We started a conversation. She noticed my guitar and asked me if I would be interested in being a solo artist for a wedding on Galiano Island! To be continued...
Since that show, the person I played said she was inspired by seeing me sing on stage and would like to develop a choir project. After the pandemic, we are all thirsty for meetings and sharing in the real world. This will be a project about the different linguistic communities of Vancouver (and Canada) and I will practice the difficult art of writing. You have to start somewhere!
I've been contacted about another project in a language other than English and French. It sounds very interesting but I can't give too much away right now!
I also played guitar with a friend in a park, a very Vancouver practice as soon as it stops raining (note that I could have said when the weather is fine but a fine day in Vancouver is a day without rain, even if it's overcast and cold). It was a beautiful moment and we will try to write songs in French together.
Judge for a public speaking contest
I will soon be a volunteer judge for the Canadian Parents for French public speaking contest for the British Columbia and Yukon region. I must admit that I am looking forward to being in contact with French education again, even if it is in an indirect way.
I met a very nice lady at the Festival du Bois at their booth and I was happy to see French children's literature, reminding me of my own (especially when I see Glénat albums, reminding me of my long absorbed readings at the library when my mother took the time to choose her books). I have always loved comics and find them to be a sometimes undervalued and underutilized medium in the educational world. As an adult, I still binge on comics and graphic novels. It's not for nothing that comics are called the ninth art.
Multilingualism, a constant in my life
Although I was raised in one language, French, I was always attracted to other languages at a very young age. Although I understood absolutely nothing, I sang "in yogurt" to the songs I was exposed to at home (in English and Brazilian). Later on, I had the chance (we forget too much in France) to learn other languages at school: English, Spanish and even a little bit of German.
In Paris, I had bilingual friends. Then when I started to travel, my friends' skills also expanded. I began to meet people who could speak languages that were very exotic to me but also had the ability to speak three or more...
It fascinates me and I hope to soon enrich myself by learning other languages. That's why one of my next artistic projects will be about this very theme. We must show this beauty!
The Festival du Bois
I went to the Festival du Bois, a francophone music festival with artists from Quebec. It was a great experience after two years without such an event. I admit that I was lucky because in a time of pandemic, I managed to play in two rooms and make a festival! I know that many people are living in total confinement and I do not forget them.
Who says Quebecer says necessarily poutine, the second love of my companion. I must admit that it was good. There were also more traditional dishes but I was so full of poutine that I couldn't taste the rest: next time!
I was representing The Source newspaper when I was there but of course I went to see my friends from La Boussole at their booth. It was a very rainy and cold Sunday and they were quite brave under that tent. Fortunately, they were able to shelter under the main tent afterwards.
The easing of health restrictions in Vancouver allows for a bit more activity and February was a busy month for me, between yoga challenges and rehearsals (and even new performances of Les Éloquentes).
Year of the Tiger Malaysian style
In early February, we celebrated the Year of the Tiger Malaysian style with a typical dish: yee sang. The first time I discovered this tradition was in Kuala Lumpur. We were at a restaurant and they brought us a round dish (for prosperity) with different piles of vegetables and julienned smoked salmon and other mysterious ingredients.
The tradition is that everyone around the table picks up the ingredients and mixes them with their chopsticks, while making wishes for the new year. Depending on the personalities of the guests, this can quickly turn into a vegetable firework display! But this year, we were in a very small group and it was manageable.
It was a beautiful moment of sharing with family and friends.
For the next play with Magda Ochoa, I will create original music. The first time I had such an opportunity was with Natalie Vella, when I created music for her short film, Nocito. I was an actress and a musician on that project. It was very strange to see myself projected on a big screen in a Parisian cinema and to hear my music played in dolby surround.
We are also doing a collective dramaturgy for this piece, which I find extraordinary! It's a beautiful project that shows more than ever that hardship is a great opportunity for learning and growth. I feel very fortunate to be able to be part of this La Boussole project.
Still in the arts but as a journalist, I met Angela Clarcke from the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver and we discussed the concept of a queen. I also met Sepideh Saba, a watercolourist of Iranian origin who, by chance, lived in Malaysia before moving to Canada! I conducted both interviews in person and it was a real pleasure to move around and have a human connection instead of always seeing each other in 2D. I could have spent hours with these interesting women!
The yoga challenge
I also participated in the winter yoga challenge with Mandana. It was intense: I did yoga every day in February! But it paid off: I feel better in my body, obviously more flexible and energetic.
I'm doing inversions, something I hadn't done much before. The very first time, I still remember, was with Annabelle Leray in Australia. At the beginning of the course, she showed us how to do it and I thought I would never manage it. But through self-persuasion and hard work, I managed to do it by the end of the session. It's all about confidence!
Mandana has really helped me a lot and I will continue with her. She is doing bilingual classes. Her preparation work is very careful and all the sessions are thought out in a progression. She impresses me by observing well and taking the time to give personalized advice to each student. Of course, there are the right words when giving instructions but beyond that, I believe in energies and I think she is full of good vibes.
The end of Covid?
The restrictions are beginning to ease and we can finally envisage slightly larger gatherings. The epidemic is not over, but let's hope that the upturn is not far off. In Vancouver, wearing a mask is no longer compulsory but recommended, especially on public transport. Our families in Asia are once again confined and the latest news from China does not bode well, but for the moment, everyone is enjoying this little respite in Vancouver...
Despite the protests in Ottawa during the "freedom convoys" last month, the country is still playing by the rules. I was amazed to see internationally, the many convoys and the display of the Canadian flag to show their solidarity.
I am puzzled by the question of funding: how can you find funding, even food, to support such a movement when there are people living below the poverty line in the countries concerned but also in other countries? Why can't we find more funding for the fight against world hunger and the protection of the environment? Why do people choose to support "freedom fighters" financially when we could invest in the protection of life in general?
I now present titles from The Source on Radio Canada's Panorama programme every fortnight, when the newspaper comes out. The first time was only my second live! The first was a live broadcast for BFMTV in Australia about the missing Malaysian plane.
Obviously, there was some stage fright, especially as I couldn't see the person I was talking to. On re-listening, although I found myself stiff on the first article and too fast on the second, it wasn't too bad after so long. The link wasn't great and you lose a lot of quality but hey, it was a first.
I tried a special little mudra before I went on air and I think it helps.
The second time wasn't as steep but I got my feet stuck in the mat a bit. The third time should be more relaxed.
Anyway, it gives me more motivation for my podcast project. That's the hardest thing about this kind of project: keeping the same motivation all along. Fortunately for me, I have some invaluable supporters who are there!
The launch of the collection "Autour d'Elles: Récits de vie
The launch of the book is just around the corner (25 March) and will be open to all by registration for a Zoom conference. During the workshops, I heard some fascinating life stories from francophone women in Western Canada and I can't wait to read them all.
This project, a partnership between the Alliance des femmes de la francophonie canadienne and the publishing house Terres d'Accueil is so interesting that it deserves to be continued and perhaps even expanded. The more consultation with newcomers, the better the experience will be.
I was contacted by a journalism student who wants advice on Australia. It's funny that I'm still being contacted about this, as I left the country almost 6 years ago now.
I've received quite a few requests for contacts and advice from journalism students but also sometimes from Reunionese and even other profiles...
Meeting Reunionese in Vancouver
I was FINALLY able to meet some of my colleagues here! I was so happy to hear the Creole accent and talk about places we have in common. These words rolled around in my ears with pleasure and reminded me that I didn't dream the place I came from. I'm not likely to go back for a while, not being able to leave the country for over a year now.
But this meeting with three people from Reunion made me feel really good, an opportunity to travel a bit without taking a plane...