Going back to Reunion island had been difficult. I’ve left in the middle of the night from the East suburb of Melbourne to approach an airport lost in the dark, next to Geelong. There was not even a light on the highway ! We went through a strong rain next to the city.
My family had been clever and had done the good choice pretending leaving because of the 5 minutes authorized parking; it was so hard that it was better to shorten this painfull goodbye.
The flight had been a bit tiring even if it was as long as a Reunion-Paris. But it was more because of a man drinking many whisky-cocas next to me.
But my first day had been good; we had lunch on l’Ermitage beach and I had a good swim on the salted water. I cooked a cari prawns for the dinner and it was quite nice!
The second day had been more sport but as nice. We walked on Dos d’Ane, not far from home. It was first easy, with a stunning panorama, not suitable if you’re suffering from vertigo! From the Cap noir, you can enjoy the Mafate cirque (a cirque is an old volcano which had collapsed and it looks like a rocky valley). But the second part is the more difficult as you had to climb ladders and to be like a goat! And then, you walk on a crest with on one side, the Mafate cirque and on the other side, the quiet plateau of Dos d’Ane.
The next day was complete with sea and moutain. We enjoyed first the botanical walk on the Mare-Longue forest and had been enchanted by endemic woods; “Joli Coeur”(‘pretty heart’), ‘Rempart wood’ and others ferns.
We had an excellent ‘Vacoas cabbage with smoked ham’ for lunch next to the Cap Méchant, a volcanic rocky peninsula on the sea of the wild South. And a bath on l’Ermitage beach at the end of the day!
I went to visit my ‘Mère Courage’, my aunt. This french expression means a very brave woman. I admire her to be so brave and I love her a lot. I’ve also seen my uncle, a really good guitarist, tired by his lung cancer. We played a bit of music and he asked me to write lyrics for him.
I appreciate my return to my land and I’m still thinking of my family and friends in Australia and New-Zealand.
To have a look at some photos of Dos d’Ane, here is the link :
To have a look at some photos of Mare-Longue and Cap Méchant, here is the link :
Today, we went to the hairdresser. She told us she was looking for someone from November and she’s found noone. She had planned a whole day for four interviews; noone came! I was very surprised by this news. She doesn’t have a bad reputation but some people are just very lazy in here. I fought _and still is fighting_ against this idea that Reunionnese people are considered like leeches from the main land.
Marine Le Pen (far right) arrived this morning in the island. Even if some strikers were there to welcome her at the airport, I’m pretty sure she’s seducing more and more people in here. In the main land, her motto (her father’s) ‘France to French people’ is gathering people from all social background because of the financial crisis. They had to find a reason and it’s easy to make foreign people guilty of it.
But in Reunion island, such a motto ‘Reunion island to Reunionnese people’ could have more sense in a way. Even if reasons are different, her success could really increase. Reunion island doesn’t offer a lot of opportunities to graduate local people; most of the time, they are challenged by people coming from the main land _not really equally, not even with the same skills_ and worst, some job offers don’t even appear to them, they are stuck in other networks. So graduate Reunionnese people had to stay out of the island or leave it for a better future _when they can do it_.
So in my opinion, some of these upset graduate Reunionnese people could cease to the siren song of Marine Le Pen. They could think ‘Yes, I will vote for Marine Le Pen ! She’s right; I want a good job in my island.’ And this is the tragedy of the political story in Reunion island. Neither the left wing, the right wing (which in a way had not deceived yet voters but still linked to Sarkozy, doesn’t appear like the best choice) and communists are favoured by local people.
I was waiting for my turn at the doctor today and I’ve witnessed a dramatic and usual scene. A little boy hit _I’m not exagerating, he was hiting hard and many times_ his grand-mother in charge of watching him while his mother was with the doctor. The only reaction of this old lady was to laugh under his beats.
I was really choked by this scene, even if I already knew about this local violence and my mother, teacher in a kindergarden, told me about other similar cases of violence between children.
About the context, Reunion island knew a rapid technologic growth in a short period but mentalities didn’t evolve as quickly.
My mother lived in a tin house without running water neither power, was from a 10 children family and didn’t know only good times. But she fought in her life to succeed in. From informations I can get, I’ve understood that it was quite usual to have a ‘strong’ and ‘strict’ education in Reunionnese families. But in only two generations, the mollycoddled thrones. Violence is now everywhere because a mollycoddled not satisfied _and his patience is not_ uses very easily violence.
Anyway, I could face these two fires, mollycoddleds and violent parents, very soon as I’m interested in offering english lessons next door!
Finally, this day wasn’t so dark even with a negative answer from the Tourism Authority of Reunion island.
I’ve started this day with a bitter taste of dependance, going to the doctor and seeing my mother paying for me.
Then, I’ve seen a friend, Raveendran. We met when he was part of a Taliipot show, ‘KOR, Maison du Vent’ (House of the Wind) in 2005. I was a trainee in Radio Première (former RFO). I was naively trying to improve communication around the local culture and around cultural news in general.
From there, my friend has a beautiful daughter. He is a master of a martial art not really known, kalarippayattu. English colons were so afraid of this ancestor of kung-fu that they decided to kill almost all members. He is also expert in ayurveda, the indian medecine.
He is indirectly participating for my well-being; I’ve proposed him to build him a website and to help him on his communication. Some intellectual stimulation!
Unemployment is a bad period for whoever.
You’re feeling upset by everything : people who have a job but who are bad at it or who don’t have proper qualifications, waste, being locked, dependance.
The daily life is full of up and down : where is my mistake ? Not enough experiences, qualifications ? Will I be able to cope in a new job ? I’ve been told many good things about networking but how many hands in return ? Then, you’re fighting back. Everything will be ok, I’ll go on. And then, you sink again : you watch your finances cent by cent and pasta with tuna is a Christmas meal (when I was in Paris).
You’re going back to your parents (already a chance!) and you’re a child again because of financial dependance (because the national employment agency told you :”Nothing possible for you. Try another institution.”).
You try to think lower. But the space and time change and you’re back 10 years before; you had to get your driving licence again. In fact, you already got it but it’s not compatible with local cars. This Australian driving licence is only for automatic cars and they are mainly manual ones. Again, you feel financially dependant.
Wow!! I’m breathing again!
Today, I’ve met the chief editor of a local media, Antenne Réunion. I’m starting on monday for a try on the web edition! I’m so happy!!!!!! Finally some light at the end of the tunnel! I must admit I’m a bit afraid because I haven’t written for a long time on a pro context. But it should be fine, I’m so motivated!
I just had to pass my driving licence (I’ve got a date on mid-april) and I could come back to radio!
I have enough energy to write even fictions! I’m more creative when I’m busy.
It was a very good day. So good that I had to talk about it.
It was a true saturday like I haven’t had for a long time. Because a saturday doesn’t have the same taste than the other days of the week, you’ll agree with me. There is a bit of party-theme in this last day of the week. You start to rest, you can afford to have some good time because you know you’ll have another day to rest. I’m not talking about saturday night, only about saturday the day which smells like holidays. Saturday night is glittering but it doesn’t have the splendor and the youth of saturday the day.
We were, my parents and I, at friends near the Brûlé, on the upper part of Saint-Denis (capital city). We ate a good rooster “à la créole”, drank some good wine and talked about latest news like “riots” (some young people recently protested about unemployment and increase of prices on the island). Then we lost ourselves in their garden amongst granadillas, custard marrows (also know as chayotes) and other endemic trees.
Slightly tipsy, I closed my eyes on the way back home, anticipating a potential blindness (I’m keeping on laser surgery to fix my pecky retinas). I let myself to all my other senses : wind on my cheeks and on my hair, smells of fresh greenery and movements of the brusque driving of my father. To the right, to the left, careful, a car on the side of the road. And a last shiver listening to an electric guitar of Supertramp.
I’m opening again my eyelids and vacoas (local tree) shadows are black lace cut by the sunset.
First day, the foot in the stirrup. I mean, my pen !
It was such a pleasure to write articles today ! Except I started with writing about sports and I’ve never been very good at it. But they were happy with it and it gave me some energy. I wrote 4 or 5 articles.
I felt good especially because the editorial room was bubbly. The heartbeat of a town, a country, is there, in an editorial room. I was not completely lost as I already knew some fellow workers.
I’ll know on Wednesday if they keep me. Fingers crossed!
Well, I’ve finished my try with the local media and now, I’m waiting them to contact me to know if they want to keep me. Whatever it could happen, I’ve been happy to be a journalist again for two days and to prove to myself that I was able to do this job. But also that I had to keep writing.
I lived in words. Humblely because I was not reporting. But even this usurpation was a true pleasure. Like a carnal reunion.
However, I had a terrible dream about a HUGE spider under my foot the night before (but it supposed to be a good sign!) and I’ve seen a dead kitten corpse today. But it was a beautiful morning and I could see my beloved mountains. Mornings in Reunion island are unique.
The day had a nice start : compliments from sellers on the market and a tonic aquagym session.
But the rest of the day had been less tasty.
First disappointment : an unreachable position of attachée de presse because I’m not broke enough. This position is only for people who have got allowances from 12 months. And I’m a member of the National Employment Agency only for about a month. It’s a shame because my profile was fitting to the position. The real shame is that I couldn’t even directly contact this company because the agency kept their details.
Second disenchantment : a position of production assistant. Well, they had been honest on the phone and my initial studies were in journalism. They are keeping my resume if they need someone for their communication.
I finally had my French driving licence ! What a relief ! After almost ten year of endless lessons and missed exams because of my incredible mobility, I finally got it !
Well, I already had my Australian driving licence (automatic) and it helped me to be confident for the French one. I wasn’t sure when I’ve finished the test. I didn’t do any terrible mistake but I just didn’t know what to think about it, I didn’t have any clues about the result. My driving instructor was very vague : “It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t a disaster.”
Anyway, I got it !
It always have been there : my holidays destination when I was young. But now, I can see clearly : I am Mauritian. My ID card from Dodos’ s country confirmed this affiliation.
My father is Mauritian. My childhood memories are from the paradise itself; thin white sand beaches, seaweed necklaces, good times with cousins, ice cream vans and its kitsch musics I could hear as a child from kilometers away, my grand-mother and its divine hot chocolate drinks, very tasty and sweet Mauritian accent… I know I had the great chance to have known it and to still live it.
Sure, sometimes, I was frowning when from one side, I was too much Mauritian and from the other, too much Reunionnese. Mauritius island is supposed to be the “sister island” of Reunion island and vice versa. But I already had critics from both sides. Anyway… I’m happy to be from both sides. I’m refreshing these roots as I’m there, before leaving. But I’m thinking about coming back as often as possible in the Indian ocean because I need mountains, bouchons (a typical Reunionnese snack, chinese-like) and secret from Reunion island as I need charming countryside, dense cultur and natural havens in Mauritius. I love my two islands.
From my very last journey in Mauritius, I really appreciated to hear Mauritian creol spoken. Farer than Reunionnese creol because I’m less exposed to it, I understand it less but it’s as chaming as the Reunionnese one. Creols languages are like a parallel reality to me. I’ve been raised in a French-speaking environment and creol languages are like fantasy worlds. They are like black chocolates you’re savouring in the shadow with a proper red wine.
Well, it was not so bad to come back to my hospitality activities. It reminds me my ‘fresh and young age’ of Parisian receptionnist. I had started a song about it…
And it made me so younger than compassionate looks of some customers with the comment ‘Do you need to pay your studies ?’ were oftenly followed of a ‘Oh but you should be 25 or so.’ A compliment which is always a pleasure..
However, people were mostly very nice compared to Parisians. I only had 2 or 3 closed faces without a ‘hi’.
It’s always so-so for my blood circulation to stand for so long time but the contact with customers is always a pleasure to me. When I remind my first employment as a receptionnist for the National Employment Agency at 18 in the Paris suburbs…
In fact, the only unpleasant thing was a strange voyeurism from people I knew and who were spying me. They were passing by 6 or 7 times, looking from the corner of their eye, without saying ‘hi’, with a kind of disdain for my professionnal activity. But sirs, I must admit that I really don’t care about you. I don’t have any problem of being a sellor in a supermarket.
I need several lifes. I was thinking about it last evening during the amazing Ibrahim Maalouf concert.
I was abandonned to music and thoughts. From this internal journey, I questionned myself about my artistic projects; why did I have not done anything about my artistic projects ? Why am I interested only in gripping and non-profitable projects (music, writing, video, cookery _even if this last category is the most profitable of all_) ?
If I wanted to flatter myself, I would say I’m living through passion. Finally, yes, without pretention, it’s true : passion is my engine. I need to vibrate, to make vibrating, emotion.
Those times, I’ve been very busy, I needed money.
Again, I’m leaving. It’s always mixed-feelings moment.
I had good times with friends on the beach at l’Ermitage even if it was very hot and sunny. François, my boyfriend, had been sunburnt. We enjoyed snorkelling a bit and then we had a pique-nique. A lot of families enjoyed as well this saturday on the beach.
I felt a bit strange this afternoon, going to see my uncle’s grave in Le Port. I was born this high-temperatures town. I lived my childhood near the thermal power station. ‘The beginning is the end, the end is the beginning.’
Finally, I succeeded in closing my bag. I’ll stay at least 2 years in Australia. I cleared all I could. I will miss my friends. A new life is waiting for me and it will start with finding an accommodation!