Subscribe to the newsletter

* indicates required

Strong emotions and creations

© Réseau-Femmes Colombie Britannique
© Réseau-Femmes Colombie Britannique

The last few days have been so intense that it deserved an article.

 

Forum theatre

 

I must admit that it is a pleasure to be back on stage. I have no professional or even regular experience of the stage. The stage is a powerful metaphor: it embodies life itself. Every day we live a role and there, we live a scene within the big scene. It is also Plato's cave: but are we the shadows or the actors whose shadows are projected?

 

I was intrigued by the form of forum theatre (apparently more common here) and I am very proud to be part of such a project for its social and psychological dimension. Forum theatre is a theatrical form that aims to make society better by highlighting oppressor-oppressed relationships. Individually, seeing these realistic scenes, one can become aware of one's position but above all, have the opportunity to find a way out, to confront one's oppressor and to finally get out of the fear, from this ball in the stomach, from this uncontrollable paralysis. Everyone is empowered to stop these toxic behaviours, to change the way everyone looks at them: oppressor, oppressed and (passive) witness. We have probably all been in this situation one day.

 

"Les Éloquentes" showed six short scenes about sexism, aggressions (and micro-aggressions) and racism. After a first act, actors played again the scene in order to give the opportunity to the audience of coming on stage and offering another proposition. Different members of the audience could come on stage. This role play was done in a safe and respectful manner by the stage manager.

 

I am also happy to have met the other actors, pro and amateur: Sonia Assier, Maxime Barbier from La Boussole, Ingrid Broussillon from Les Griottes Polyglottes, Lucie Couhailler, Marion Gailet, Gabriel Jalbert, David Prière and Slim Rouissi, the excellent playmaker, Emmanuelle Bertrand, the extraordinary stage manager, Nathalie Lopez-Gutierrez (also an actress) and the impressive Maryse Beaujean Weppenaar from Réseau Femmes and all the organisers of this project. I really felt like I was part of a group with values, really thinking about the relevance of attitudes, gestures, the reception of the audience. 

 

The actors, both women and men, put themselves in the position of vulnerability and dominance (not easy either because it is not their nature, but they are courageous to accept to put themselves in these characters to denounce these behaviours).

 

Both performances were very emotional. Getting into my character was both easy and difficult. Easy because I had already gone to the police and encountered their indifference and condescension. Difficult because I don't wear the veil and I'm not Muslim. I was very stressed to embody this character as well as possible, especially as during the second performance, the impressive Nour Elnayeh came to see me. It's her story and I wanted to interpret it as accurately as possible.

 

The audience was extraordinary. They played the game and people came on stage to fight back, to confront the oppressors. I find this very courageous and so strong: this gesture is a step forward for oneself but the social dimension resonates even more strongly. These different proposals for outcomes, formulations and arguments plant seeds of courage and reflection for everyone. Both performances were sold out.

 

Ironically, we went to a bar after the first performance and a man approached our table (of nearly ten people, after all!) to approach one of the people who had participated in writing the project. This tall, bald, pot-bellied man insisted and our whole team joined in. I was ready to jump down his throat. But as our dear playwright reminds us at the beginning of the performance, violence is not the answer. But it's incredible that we had practical work after the workshops!

 

I was discussing with Nathalie Lopez-Gutierrez, the fact that I had already had a superb collaboration with another Natalie (Vella), an Australian I met in Paris. The funny thing is that I met another Natalie, of a different origin than in the country where we live, who is also a film director. And Nathalie Lopez-Gutierrez explains to me that she too has collaborated with another Nathalie. The world of Nathalie is smaller than one might think... 

 

The boomerang feeling

 

When you wait, it's better. People say that about many things. It's not wrong in the end...

 

Conducting a workshop in general is terribly enriching, both for the participants and for the person conducting it. But here, a writing workshop, especially a theatrical one, for La Boussole is a real joy. It's very touching to hear others talk about their experiences, their values. Of course, I always do this in the context of journalism, but here I guide and help build.

 

Speaking of writing, I finally met Daniel Viragh in person, whom I interviewed for The Source. I talk about him later in this article.

 

I also attended Louis-Jean Cormier's concert as part of the Coup de Coeur Francophone. It was so good to finally witness live art again that I cried. Well, I also totally fell in love with Louis-Jean Cormier's music, his deep lyrics and his stellar music. It felt like a show meant for a larger venue and more dancing, as Louis-Jean Cormier himself said. We were all well spaced out because of Covid but it was a great chance to finally see a show in person.

 

I was talking to several people, artists and aspiring artists, about this feeling of creative congestion. The pandemic and especially its collateral damage has led to a withdrawal into oneself, into one's space; it may have been beneficial for introspection but also stifling. I think we had the impression of going in circles like a lion in a cage. What really made me pick up the pen creatively, what made me pick up my guitar and try to sing, what made me pick up my pencil and sketch, was the encounter in the real world with other people. That has always been my driving force. Sartre said, "Hell is other people", but I can't bring myself to do that. 

 

I have often been called an idealist, but this label is not pejorative for me. What would the world be without ideals? What would the world be like without idealists, those madmen who build human cathedrals? Grabbing me by the collar and forcing me to engage in human projects (which I have always loved) was my salvation from the doldrums of my apathy and I highly recommend it.

 

I think we need to physically go _as much as possible with the Covid_ to places that are conducive to quality exchanges with other humans.

 

The pandemic and lockdown has put us in bubbles, small settings, and the return to unity, to community, is pushing some of us into beautiful projects. We are like drops, gradually forming a river of individuals, left alone, flowing down slopes and valleys to find ourselves in the ocean of humanity. Let us hope that we can form positive waves. At least, I would like to think so.

 

Poetry

 

I am finally meeting in person some of the people I interviewed for The Source. I had the chance to have coffee with Daniel Viragh and was extremely touched that he offered me a version of his book of poems, 'The Ballad of the Free' available on Amazon. He is an impressive man, speaking so many languages. This is his first publication in French. I was very touched by all the poems but my favourites are "Juge-moi pas" and "Tout comme je suis, comme tu es".

 

Poetry comes back into my life in different forms, sometimes quite extravagant. I remember one day in the metro in Paris where a poet was declaiming. I looked at him and smiled. He saw it and said hello to me, thanking me in that small crowded metro train. I didn't know where to put myself because I was just trying to blend in, in the walls if possible at that time.

 

Another time, I was in Reunion Island. I was showing some English friends around Reunion Island and we were on the beach at l'Ermitage after a windy helicopter flight. An elderly man was swimming with another person. When he got out of the water and dried off, he came up to us and offered us a copy of his poems.

 

A sunny day in autumn

 

Vancouver's autumn sunshine is exceptional because it is rare, and usually you have to rush outside to get your vitamin D fix. Anything is an excuse to go out; non-urgent errands, a squirrel to follow, checking a hopelessly empty mailbox: find anything to open that door and throw yourself out into the street. Everything is so calm after the storm and so beautiful. With no wind, this day has tasted like spring. The peaks lightly dusted with snow announce the festivity of winter.

 

But despite the rare rays of sunshine, November is THE month of rain in Vancouver. However, some people haven't seen this in at least 15 to 20 years. Alas, more flood victims and more flooding of this atmospheric river are predicted. The lulls are short-lived and the water has not yet had time to recede before the heavy rainfall starts again.

 

It must be said that when it rains in the region at this time of year, it is a deluge. At first I thought it was a bit of a stretch to see some people carrying umbrellas AND hoods. Until the rain soaked my umbrella to the point that it rained under my umbrella! I have since adopted this very Vancouver outfit.

Fall tempest

Between climate change consequences from the Pacific, anti-vaxx indecency and exciting francophone projects, the seasons in Vancouver are never the same. Enjoy the fall episode!

 

Floods in British Columbia

 

After a heat dome and scorching temperatures over 40 degrees celsius, the province is now experiencing extreme floods pushing authorities to declare BC under state of emergency. An ‘atmospheric river’ devastated roads, swallowed houses and lead farmers to rescue calves in their arms, braving strong currents. Although the name of the weather phenomenon that caused this deluge may sound like the name of a cocktail ("Pineapple Express"), this Hawaiian humid current shows that climate change is happening now.

 

The images are shocking, the testimonies chilling. Many people found themselves trapped in or on top of their cars, when these had not been swept away by the waters or the mudslides. Footages of landslides are impressive: the earth is no longer held by the roots of the trees that burned this summer. Not to mention the drying up of a lake about a hundred years ago, the Sumas lake; many farms and especially livestock were developed on these lands but nature is now taking over. 

 

Today, only one death has been reported in a mudslide, but the medium- and long-term situation is dramatic for families without a roof over their heads, in regions where temperatures are already negative. Fortunately, amidst all the chaos, there is also more comforting news: neighbours and even strangers are taking in survivors, offering them shelter, food and support.

 

The thirst-quenching Source

 

In a few weeks, I'll be celebrating writing for the French section of La Source, Vancouver's flagship newspaper for diversity and bilingualism. I write articles and manage the media's social networks on a volunteer basis.

 

Two years have allowed me to meet artists, Francophones or not, remarkable actors of the community, in the service of diversity. I arrived only a few months before the pandemic and the newspaper has allowed me to stay afloat. Many, if not all, of them inspired me.

 

I was very touched to receive a message recently from an artist I had interviewed saying she thought the article was beautiful and that it gave her "wings". I almost didn't finish my journalism studies; I had been frightened by the power of this and I didn't want to offend anyone because we are human and therefore subject to imperfection. Fortunately, a teacher changed my perspective and explained to me the benefits we could bring to society as journalists, the good initiatives we should highlight. I am still very grateful to him for catching me up at that point.

 

As with teaching, I always try to be vigilant about the consequences for people. That's why I decided to go back to school, to train properly so that I could teach properly. I didn't think there was enough goodwill. 

 

I also believe in continuous learning. We learn from everyone, until the end of our lives. It sounds a bit like a Lapalice truth, but how many times have we heard people reluctant to train or re-train? To doubt or judge the trainer? I remember once, in Madagascar, being reframed on my badminton playing by a child of about 7 years old. He was a real pro and I was really happy that he showed me the correct posture. But I know that humility is an obsolete value nowadays and too bad for those who don't appreciate it.

 

Vancouver's Francophone community

 

I finally took the time to meet the various actors of the Francophone community in Vancouver. Between the pressure to obtain a work permit and the beginning of the pandemic, I didn't really have the opportunity to meet many people, including Francophone institutions. 

 

The Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique and La Boussole are key institutions in Vancouver and I was very happy to meet some of their members. Making contact with Francophones abroad can be a double-edged sword. During my various migration experiences (Australia, Madagascar, Seychelles and Malaysia), I have had the opportunity to see certain profiles and attitudes come back, both good and far from my values. 

 

I remember a French man in one of the countries I explored, very egotistical and ethno-centric, so lonely that he wanted to befriend complete strangers. He was very successful, drove nice cars but was neglected by his children and suffered terribly. He disappeared when he saw that my partner and I did not share this love of money and that we lived happily and simply.

 

However, I think he was very happy to be able to express his feelings in his mother tongue. I have always been intrigued by the loss of the mother tongue. It does exist. Apparently, it's as if the mother tongue has retreated into the brain and it takes a lot of effort to find the words. Mistakes can happen, but they fade away once you get back into a language immersion.

 

Forum theatre

 

The forum theatre experience with the project "Les Éloquentes" is very interesting. This method developed by Augusto Boal aims to make injustices visible to everyone, victims, oppressors, apathetic witnesses. It is a real collective and social construction. We all discuss the different outcomes.

 

It is an intense work because we go deep inside ourselves. We can question our previous actions and inactions, the ways in which we have reacted or not reacted to an aggression. During the rehearsals, we play our sketches but also the potential interventions of the audience. I must admit that it was an intense experience for me because I had the impression that I was suddenly given a power that was too great for me, the power to respond, to stop lowering my head and eyes, to say what I really think. But it's also terribly liberating to be able to act as you would have liked to in the given situation.

 

The performances are coming up and I'm looking forward to seeing the audience take this power and think about how to deal with these situations.

 

Fall and the seasons 

 

A trip to Sooke on Vancouver Island gave me the opportunity to see a lot of autumn colours, not just the foliage of the trees. The skies and the sea under the sudden changes of the weather are magical. Autumn is the most exotic season when you come from a warm country in my opinion. I know that winter and snow will be evoked but the nuances are mainly limited to the sky whereas in autumn, the whole environment changes. The bare trees and the loss of daylight are spectacular when you come from the tropics.

 

I took advantage of my visit to Victoria, the largest city on the island, to visit the Issamba Centre. It is the only African cultural centre in the province and I was very happy to see all the flags on the wall and to recognise the Mauritian and Seychellois flags. We have an unofficial Reunion flag but it is mostly a nod to the Reunion community. I am African. I am also French, Caucasian, Indian and probably a thousand other things. I remember this thing about quarters and split identity, 10% of this or that, for me it's blurry and I feel all of that at the same time: French, Reunionese, African, Indian, genetic, cultural, now Asian via my research on the roots of my roots and my companion.

 

I tasted one of the best chowders (typical seafood soup, made with cream or tomato depending on the region) in Victoria but at the cost of a persistent smell of frying on my clothes, as if the oil drops were suspended in the air!

 

Anti-vaxxers at Remembrance Day

 

I had already been shocked by the reactions of people who refuse the vaccine, claiming freedom of choice at every turn, when nurses committed suicide because they thought they had unwittingly passed the virus on to patients. This information is unbearable when put side by side. On this weekend of remembrance, anti-vaxers disrupted a ceremony in Kelowna. Is this really the time? I feel sorry for those poor veterans who fought for that same freedom, to have it trampled underfoot in order to dispense with wearing a mask or refusing a vaccine, which is so difficult to obtain and/or expensive in less fortunate countries.

 

Writing, Ariadne's thread... or Nathalie's

 

I am happy to be part of the Francophone projects: the theatre-forum and now the writing workshops at La Boussole. This organization, which helps the Francophone community, has a very beautiful project involving pen pals, very touching, epistolary exchanges, something so intimate. It's a strange twist of fate because I have always written and sent letters and I still do. Many people probably think it's old-fashioned, that we read this carefully handwritten fold in one go in a world of rampant consumerism. But who cares, I always take the time to tell my story and to confide in this way that I feel is so intimate. Although I love sound, my first love is paper.

 

Writing by hand to someone you love is a special process today: you take the time to think about the words you say, you try to be legible, in short, you take time for the other person. But I know that this is not to everyone's taste, that it takes time, and I am already quite happy to have little electronic messages!

New chapter

I started to write this post in March 2021.

 

Heat dome and other disasters

 

Extreme heat in Canada, in Vancouver, in Lytton, made international headlines and my friends, scattered around the globe, were asking me if I was surviving. I lived in Adelaide, Australia in 2013 and it was the hottest place on Earth at that time. I was not expecting to be on the hottest spot on Earth again in Canada!

 

I was lucky to stay in my basement. Being half-buried is a plus: temperature is quite stable, a bit like a wine cave. The outside blasting light was instantly burning everything but it was tempered thanks to windows looking like horizontal loopholes.

 

What happened in Lytton was devastating. The small town was not only experiencing over 50°C but was also burnt to the ground by wildfires. The number of sudden deaths linked to the extreme heat is constantly growing, close to 700 according to the latest news. Victims are mostly elders. It is truly shocking for me. How could you lived, like anyone else, worked, had children, contributed to the build of society and just die alone because of heat? In Paris, in 2004, I was so shocked that I worked during Summer as carer for elders. It was an intense job, you need to have a strong mind but I do not regret at all the experience. Unfortunately, I have less time now but I would like to bring my contribution later.

 

The other current disaster in British Columbia is the finding of Indigenous children graves. This is a real trauma for the community and for all Canadians. Many churches are covered by words painted in orange (the commemorative colour of these findings) and/or in red but some of them are also burnt. Experts fear that it could lit another fire in the US.

 

The swimming pool

 

I’m not able to see a thing at the pool. It didn’t stop me doing competitions as a kid. But I couldn’t cope with the pressure. I cannot see underwater due to my very bad farsightedness. But I’m sliding in the water, the only place when I feel good.

 

One day, I swam later, around 8.15am. I was able to see a ray of sun in the water in my line and it was so beautiful.

 

I’m going twice on average. I would like to push to three times a week but my schedule doesn’t allow me to do so for now. Then, I forced a bit things and I keep swimming between 6.30am and 7am.

 

Everybody is quite impressed by my swimming time slot. I changed it so it would not affect my work. Then, it became a habit. There is a great quietness in the morning. The privilege to see the first rays of sun, to hear birds waking up.

 

When you regularly go at the same time, you meet some regulars, before becoming yourself a regular (probably). I consider these people like ‘my secret friends’. We never talk but we give way in the line and in a way, we look after each other. At least, this is what is coming to my mind. A silent community, united by the love of water.

 

Cherry bloom trees and the Spring light

 

From my perspective, light appeared at once. I felt the change in March: I had the feeling that the sun rose at once and that everybody went out suddenly.

 

Living in a basement and working in rooms without windows, I’m not used to light and even to the sun. First, it even gave me a headache and I applied sunscreen!

 

On the other hand, I walked in parks and it was glorious! I was fascinated by the 60 different types of mosses in the Japanese garden Nitobe at the University of British Columbia. It is a very calm place, quite close to what I’ve seen in Tokyo. All these mosses were like hundreds of tiny worlds.

 

This interest for mosses is not a complete accident: they grow in harsh condition and on tiny spaces, surviving in capturing microscopic elements, almost intangible. Would I turn into moss myself?! The Reunion Island motto is: ‘I will flourish wherever I will be planted/carried’.

 

Reading

 

I finally fell for it: I bought books. I prefer to go to the library but the opening hours are not matching mine, two weeks are two short and I’m lazy to extend the date. Then, there was a shocking event in the local community recently: a 20s woman was stabbed by a lunatic in front of her child next to a library in North Vancouver. I was going to the one downtown but this is incredible, in front of a library!

 

Then, I’m reading Balzac’s ‘Le ventre de Paris’.

 

I also got books from the Alliance française de Vancouver which was selling off old books for Spring.

 

I’ve got something special with my readings... I read René Barjavel’s ‘Le grand secret’ and it was fitting so much the pandemic situation.

 

I also read the gloomy Franck Bouysse’s ‘Né d’aucune femme’. Fortunately, no similarities with my own life but the author is coming from Corrèze, a French region that I like much because I visited it for years and I have many good memories there.

 

I’m currently finishing David Foenkinos’s ‘La tête de l’emploi’.

 

I’m going again to the public library downtown and I’m delighted to see again books ‘in person’.

I’m thinking back of my childhood in public libraries, a love instilled by my mother.

 

September 2021

 

The planetarium

 

We went to the planetarium and I was very surprised to see an extensive documentary about the eye and its structure (sponsored by Zeiss so obviously about the eye). I was quite uncomfortable to see the different eye sections, bringing back to the many explications of my retinopathy. There was a special echo for me of a proverb I heard before but which was more vibrant now: ‘The retina is also called the mirror of the soul’. What was then my soul? Looking back now, it is making sense: it was a bit tearing, collapsing. The treatment was traumatic but life-salving. At that time of my life, I took years to re-build myself after traumatic events. It is crazy what our bodies are telling about us!

 

After few hours, letting this documentary settling in in my mind, this story about photons traveling across the universe made me reflect. Initially, this documentary called ‘Seeing!’ (quite a propos) follows the creation and path of a photon from one side to another in the universe, until it gets into the brain of a young girl on Earth. First, this documentary is offering a very active role to photons, something that I’ve never considered. Everything is emitting and receiving : people, stones, feelings? Secondly, I liked the humility highlighted in the story, telling that they travelled, these galactic fragments, up to us and it should awake our gratitude. I also thought of trillions (probably way more but my scientific vocabulary is limited) of light and information exchanges done everywhere and at anytime. It is making me think of the symbol of the infinite. Something else that came to my mind was the iris: when the soul is leaving the body, the light at the end of tunnel depicted by so many could ‘simply’ be what is beyond the iris? The iris being the tunnel...

 

October 2021

 

My professional break has more benefits than expected! First, I looked after myself in facing my biggest fears.

 

Writing

 

Writing is clearly my Mount Everest. I’ve never imagined doing it officially. Of course, I’m writing this blog but it is not the same. I’ve started a writing workshop with the Alliance de la francophonie des femmes canadiennes in September and it is amazing! I felt a lot of support from the organizers and sharing with the other participants. These workshops brought me a lot and I’m now in the writing phase, before handing the final document in December.

 

I’m starting again writing this blog, left on hold because I was too busy but it is as if a gear has been set in motion. I was contacted to lead a writing workshop myself! Life is funny...

 

I’m also writing a mini-series of podcasts about intangibility but the project is still young. I’m thinking of something bilingual, maybe with a learning touch as I love to share my love for the French language.

 

The operation

 

I did laser surgery to get rid of my farsightedness. My recovery period was intense. I have documented the biggest step of my life. I’m currently writing about it. I don’t exactly know what will come out of it but I would like to share this experience with others. It is clearly a work about gratitude, a value which became the spine of my life, especially professional life.

 

I’m quite interested by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I have contacted again the French association Valentin Haüy, previously contacted in 2016. They were looking for ‘voice donors’. I heard an ad on the radio. I wanted to volunteer but my many travels were not offering the best conditions for recording audio books. Now that I’m finally more stable, I’m currently recording a test for them.

 

Opportunities

 

I’m part of projects such as ‘Les Éloquentes’, a project of theatre-forum with the local association Réseau-Femmes. I’m discovering the principles of Augusto Boal’s Invisible theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed with filmmaker Nathalie Lopez-Gutierrez.

 

I’m still writing for The Source and it will soon be two years that I’ve started this great adventure with the Vancouver newspaper.

Flashback

A student recently reminded me that I started this blog 10 years ago. 10 years that I’m trying to write regularly... or not.

 

2021 is starting and I’m looking back. Where was I in my life 20 years ago? I was taking my little suitcase to leave home at 17 and land in Paris on my 18’s birthday. It was just few days before 9/11, before the flood of panic. I felt the looks changing, people being either worried or scared by me and some even insulting me. I knew racism before but it came closer. I also learnt again to live in a mild climate, observing my body reacting to the different seasons. Then, I lived many incredible, funny, tough and more than anything, learning experiences and adventures.

 

What was happening 10 years later? I was taking _again_ my little suitcase to move to the other side of the planet (only compared to Paris), in Australia. Once again, it was thrilling. I was very lucky to work in very different sectors and to meet a lot of interesting people. I’m luckily still in touch with some of them. I met my student zero, just like they is a patient zero, the one thanks to whom I started the exciting adventure of teaching.

 

I remember meeting his father. He sold me a video camera and asked me if I was teaching French. Of course, I thought it was just to make conversation or, at best, to secure his sale. It was not. I taught my first French class to this young gentleman, from a Vietnamese origin, in Australia. I discovered the contagious passion of teaching. My first thought was to provide strong grammar basics but I wanted to give him more, more elements on the French culture.

This student zero helped me to initiate a thinking process, leading to actions. How efficiently pass on? I acted 5 years later. I started my training for the DAEFLE diploma. Then, thinking that I needed more training, I started a FLE (Français Langue Étrangère) Master. Funnily, I started my first training without any job or experience in this area. Then, by chance, this training was perfectly fitting a job opportunity, a cooperation program.

 

Then I started my Master at the same time than another experience in a language center. A remote learning Master started in Malaysia and finished in Canada.

 

20 years ago, ‘Amelie from Montmartre’ was released. I fell in love with it and I did not know that I soon had to choose between a preparatory class for literature studies and the Sorbonne University, only mainland French university accepting me. I was also sitting for my A-Level this year. The very first edition of the exam at the same time than the mainland (meaning that some exams were starting in the early evening) and the very last year of a format with all the exams together (now, it is more spreader out).

 

I never thought, 20 years ago, that I would live today in Vancouver, Canada, the furthest point on the planet, from my home Reunion island. I never really projected myself in the future: I tended to live the present and I’m trying to remain into it.

Lire la suite

2020 under the sign of the Sun

The first day of the year was radiant and sunny in Vancouver and I hope it is a sign. I hope it will a radiant decade, if not, at least a year! A clear blue sky is showing up after all these humid grey skies. But I probably have found a solution: a light lamp! It is quite funny, thinking back about it as I did a radio report about it for a local radio in Mons, Belgium in 2007. It sounds true that we usually find answers to our own issues. But even if this thought seems egocentric, it is far from it.

I always wish to bring to others but I learnt a good lesson: without energy, peace and joy with yourself, you might pass on negativity. I tried to be very careful about it when I was teaching. I do remember a teacher about holidays and recharging: ‘It is crucial. If you have no rest, you pass on bad things such as frustration and impatience.’

On the first day of 2020, sitting on a bench in a park, I was observing these line-shaped trees, maybe coniferous trees, gently swaying in the wind. The concept of tree communication came back to me and I remember starting reading Peter Wohllenben’s ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. The foliage of trees were being cut down in order to interlock and some branches, slightly bended, were like hands inviting you to dance. A dancing couple of trees.

Art is everywhere, even in words: nATuRal for example. I like the French word ‘partage’(meaning sharing) when you do find these letters.

 

Seeing what you want to see

 

We do see what we want to see. I miss Australia sometimes and I do see it, here, in Canada. I was even able to see Reunion island in New-Zealand. If you are focused enough, I think you can see what you want to see. As a teenager and even young adult, I was incredibly pessimistic. Going through tough events, my perspective changed and that is why gratitude became my pillar. We forget too easily that we are able to change ourselves.

 

2020 will sound...

 

I mentioned in my last post my will to volunteer, to collaborate on a project for the community, my love for public service. I wanted to volunteer for a French NGO (Valentin Haüys), providing audio books to visually impaired people in the past. Today, I'm thinking of going to read books to elderly people in hospices.

I love sounds and voices. There is so much in a voice. Warm voices, rocky voices, heavy-experienced voices, funny voices, original voices.

I have started writing podcasts but I have a technical issue with my recorder.

 

... like Art?

 

I am naturally going towards painting from the moment I arrived. I painted in good company: with a friend, Tanya and a good glass of wine (only one). It was a nice winter scene but with warm colours. We were listening to Bob Ross’s explanations. He has such a nice and gentle voice. I was thinking that it is such a 80’s signature. Today, the majority of online tutorials are so shouty and the editing is so fast paced, always wanting to go faster and faster, faster towards the end. I am not nostalgic. We have to live with our era but for nothing on Earth I would fit this one. I am embracing this difference, even if I suffer sometimes.

I also learnt knitting with Emily, a Canadian friend who was crucial in my good arrival in Vancouver.

 

Meeting, salt of life

 

I was very lucky to meet Idliko Kovacs. I interviewed her for the bilingual newspaper The Source: you can read the article here. This woman is amazing.

I felt so reinvigorated! I love this job for this reason: meeting people. For me, meetings and discussions are always enriching. They can also be challenging but I like to talk with people having very different views as it can be quite boring in a way to agree on everything and to be satisfied of it. I don’t like conflicts but a proper point of view defended in respect for each other. I am keeping an eye on the next public debates at the Vancouver Public Library…

 

Poverty in Vancouver

 

In Verbatim in The Source, I am mentioning the gap between rich and poor people in Vancouver but I think it is far from what I have seen in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

But it is still shocking that it is so significant in such a rich city. Hard drugs are a real plague. I have not heard yet about junkie attacks but I am not really going out at night anyway… During the day, some people beg downtown, others remain discreet or simply walk on the streets or on the bus.

Talking about bus, I was very surprised by a scene in a bus. A young man with sunglasses and headphones on was almost yelling at the bus driver, telling him he had no change but obviously, his outfit and accessories were clearly saying that he could afford a bus ticket. Then, his nose up, he went at the back of the bus. I was shocked as it had been weeks or even more that bus drivers’ strikes were on the news because of working conditions but also low salaries. How can someone lacks of respect towards public services? How do we reach such a situation?

I don’t want to stigmatize Canada, the situation is not better than in France: firemen, public hospital staff and other public services are attacked. But in general, I don’t understand how irrespectfull humans can be…

 

The value of things

 

I was thinking about the value that we are giving to things. Humans love what is rare and go without any scruples digging in the Earth’s guts for ripping off stones that took millions of years to be formed, for taking lives, those of mining slaves, which had been shaped by so much love, abnegation and work. But what about this rare moment of peace that we can have for ourselves, moment of laughing because of a play on words, moment of love at first sight?

Unfortunately, we realize how precious things are when they are lost, especially in such a capitalist and materialist world like ours. However, they are still reachable, right now…