I am leaving you, but will for sure never forget you

New Year

From the first day you changed my life. 

From the very beginning, you made “my reality” collapse. My life plans, my future and the many projects I had in mind … What seemed to be an everlasting truth simply vanished. That was my first lesson.The first of a long list.

Thanks to you, I grew a personality even stronger than the one I already had. I learnt to bounce back and find quick solutions to dilemmas I had never thought about before.

Thanks to you I grew up. I discovered the world and visited places I had not considered going to, such as Serbia or Montenegro.

Thanks to you, I got back my passion for adventures and living new experiences, including this willingness to cross as many items as possible on my “life list”.

Thanks to you I realized what love is about: family love, friendships, kind words, daily attentions and care. It is about areas that are most of the time more meaningful, reliable and rewarding than a romance.

Thanks to you, I met amazing people I now call « friends » and saw long term friendships becoming « family ».

Thanks to you I made one of my biggest dreams come true whilst 3 years ago I thought there was little to no chance for it to happen.

When I thought I had been through a wide range of emotions, if not a roller coaster …came Mid-November. This is when I experienced my first adult sorrow. When I felt at the same time : sadness, impossibility to explain or understand what was happening, and yet I felt hope. Indeed, those tears were full of hope: knowing that eventually love will triumph.

When December came, I stopped and stepped back to reflect on what has just happened in a year… 52 weeks… 365 days. A year that passed by in the blink of an eye.

Little did I know when I was celebrating your arrival, that I was about to enter into an experience that would rock my world, and start the first day of the rest of my life.

2015 .. I am leaving you, but will for sure never forget you.

Never.

Picture is mine

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Je te quitte … mais jamais ne t’oublierai

New Year

Tu as changé le cours de ma vie. Dès les premiers jours.

Tu as fait s’effondrer en quelques secondes des certitudes qui semblaient jusqu’à lors inébranlables. Ce fut ma première leçon.

Tu m’as appris à me forger un caractère encore plus fort qu’il ne l’était déjà. Grâce à toi, j’ai appris à rebondir, à trouver des solutions rapides à des dilemmes auxquels je n’avais pas pensé il y a un an de ça.

Tu m’as fait grandir. J’ai découvert le monde et visité des pays où je n’aurais jamais imaginé me rendre un jour. Ce fut le cas pour la Bosnie et le Monténégro.

Tu m’as donné l’envie et l’opportunité de vivre des expériences insolites, parmi lesquelles figurent ces «  life list moments » que je répertorie au fil des mois.

Tu m’as appris que le mot aimer ne s’applique pas seulement à la sphère romantique, mais aussi à la famille, aux amis, aux paroles, aux gestes d’affections et aux petites attentions du quotidien qui en disent long.

Grâce à toi, j’ai rencontré des personnes fantastiques que je peux appeler aujourd’hui  “amis”, et j’ai vu des amitiés de longue date devenir “famille”.

Tu m’as permis de réaliser un de mes rêves les plus chers sur lequel j’avais fait une croix il a 3 ans de ça.

Et quand je pensais avoir déjà vécu un large éventail d’émotions, s’en vint mi-novembre. Je t’ai alors livré mon premier chagrin d’adulte. Je revois couler le long de mes joues des larmes lourdes, des lames chaudes et salées. Des larmes d’incompréhension et de douleur. Mais aussi des larmes d’espoir où l’on se dit que malgré tout, l’amour triomphera.

Décembre arriva. Je pu enfin contempler le chemin parcouru en 12 mois, …52 semaines … 365 jours. Bref, en une année qui vient de s’écouler en un clin d’œil.

J’ignorais qu’au moment même où je célébrais ton arrivée, embrassant mes proches, je m’apprêtais à entrer dans une année qui allait me donner l’opportunité de commencer le premier jour du reste de ma vie.

2015 … Je te quitte … sur la pointe des pieds et du cœur, mais jamais ne t’oublierai.

Jamais.

Vidéo Sur les pointes par Allain Leprest. 

Picture is mine 

5 signs you are becoming an adult – Christmas time

ohohoh

Whether we like it or not … time passes and the cute baby we used to be, slowly transformed into a nice moody teenager and in the blink of an eye became this interesting creature known as ” An adult”.

I used to say ” I am so looking forward to grow up and be adult so I do not have to do homework and go to school”, but now that I think twice about it, I don’t concur with this no more.

If you are still in doubt as to whether you are an adult  or not – here is a list that may give you indications you are on the right path (YAY). In case this does not apply to you yet… don’t “panic” – it will come faster than what you think. This one is of course a Special Christmas (Let’s be “seasonal”)

  1. You bought an advent calendar but unlike you used to do when you were 7 years old … you really eat one chocolate per day, instead of eating all of them at once. 

That is a huge sign ! You are on the way of being reasonable and playing the game of the advent calendar. It is a BIG achievement.

Note : It is not written at the back of the advent calendar, but I made my own rules… Up to you if you want to follow them. When you are around the 22nd of December, we tend to go back to family, take a bit of holidays before it is actually Christmas day. So in that case, you may not be there to eat the chocolates # 22, # 23, #24. In that case, ONLY IN THAT CASE, it is commonly accepted that you can eat all of them at once. Up to you to decide if you want to eat them alone in the open space of your office, enjoying this guilty pleasure, OR if you are up for a good deed and share them with your colleagues and friends. 

2. You are able to provide an answer to the traditional question : What would you like for Christmas ? 

…Because over the past months you kept a list of things that could be a good idea for a Christmas present – “just in case someone asks you”

3. Spoiler alert – You do not believe in Santa Clause or “Father Christmas” anymore …  but you are the one making sure nobody in your family spoils this lovely legend in front of your youngest cousins, nephews, nieces. (That was such a lovely thought when being kid; and it is still cute to see the youngest one so into this legend)

4.  You may be the lucky one who has been picked by your mum, your Grand-Ma, your boss – to wear the Santa Claus costume and distribute presents  at home or during the company Christmas party this year. Ho Ho Ho

5. You have very good Gift wrapping skills – which makes you be the Official Gift Wrapper for the year … You therefore know all the presents people will be receiving (but as you may be also a great actor, you can totally play it the Actor Studio way : “Oh really you got the Frozen Costume ? What a surprise !!”)

Note :

ALWAYS double check when putting the name tag on the present. True story : During a Christmas I ended up having a boy swim suit and my brother a bikini. Kids are not good at poker face in general. Although I am always thankful for what I get, for this one – I did not know how I shall react, not wanting to hurt anyone or sound like a spoiled kid. 🙂 

10 signs you are becoming “adult”

Rouge Gorge

 

I was puzzled with the title for this post. I picked the one which is probably the closest to what I want to express. You may find yourself in some of the below statements. J

1. You have plants at home and they are still alive 3 months after you bought them.
And on top of it, you take good care of them, including watering them REGULARLY and making sure they get exposed to the sun on a regular basis.

2. You start to cook some “fancy” dish, such as Asparagus/Goat cheese and chilli flakes frittata, home-made risotto, key lime cheesecake…

3. You think that Queen, Elton John, and Billy Joel were/are TRUE artists compared to the disposable pop music we hear on radio today.

4. There is not a day without seeing one of your college friends announcing on Facebook that they are “engaged, getting married or expecting a baby”

5. You prefer going for a drink listening live music bands or chilling in a lounge bar rather than throwing shots of Jägermeister all night long in a club.

6. You became more “reasonable” when it comes to party and drinking, afraid at the horrible hang over and headache expecting you the day after.

7. Your definition of “old” is in “permanent draft”
When you were 8, someone who was 30 was “old”
At 15, someone who was 50 was “old”
At nearly 30, you think that 60 is the new 30 ….

8. There is some healthy and fresh food in your fridge : spinach, kale, ginger (plus other vegs you ignored the existence 2 years ago). You try to have at least once per week a “greens’ juice” …. because yes on top of it, you are the happy owner of a juicer 😉

9. You throw yourself some challenges like : “get  a six-pack before turning 30” ; “do a marathon before I am 40”; “visit all the continents with my better half before considering getting married or pregnant (or both)” It goes without saying this applies to women only 😉  

10. You take yourself less seriously than where you were a teen or in your early 20s. You realize how life is amazing and precious, and make most of the moments you spend.

Picture is mine. I saw this little bird and I was just finding him super cute… Yes, I noticed that as I am growing older I tend to appreciate much more simple life moments and it makes me feel good.

 

About travelling experiences

travel-is-the-only-thing-you-buy-that-makes-you-richer

I was caught by the travel bug “relatively late” but as it kicked in, I can surely say it got me forever.

What I have always loved about travels is this opportunity to really “sink” into the local culture.I have been lucky enough to explore many countries and this gave me the opportunity to think about sustainable travels and culture awareness.

I recall when we were  in Athens last year : 10 am; 35 degrees C – on the Acropolis, admiring the Parthenon. Probably more than 10 different languages were spoken on a hundreds square meters place. Who would have guessed – back in 447 BC that the Parthenon would become one of the most visited site in the world more than 2000 years later?

Anyway … Back to the story…  We were among the crowd of people, ranging from one taking selfies, couple smiling for a souvenir pictures, and the one working on getting a new facebook profile picture. Let’s be clear – I got half a dozen of pictures taken there as well… 🙂

After we were done, a group of youngster asked us to take a picture of them.  As my boyfriend was about to press the button to immortalize the event  – they suddenly deployed their national flag, which was now gently floating in front of one of the most ancient vestige of Greek and Antique culture.

The fun started when this massive lady kicked in, blowing her whistle, asking them to fold the flag and to delete the picture they took. She even asked to see the camera to make sure the picture was deleted. Quite an interesting moment but also a good example of the type of tourism I try to stay away from. 

Even if I like to call myself a “world citizen”, I want to make sure when I come in a new country I exchange about local culture ( and when I can  – about mine). Above all – I want to respect the welcome I am being given, which include not putting on the French cliché show.

The same way when I am invited at someone’s place I would not break in like a hurricane as I step in the place, but rather wait I am told to enter further. Depending on situation I would bring a “little something” as a courtesy and for the pleasure of sharing and making my guest happy… That is the behaviour I try to have when travelling.

As I was on my way to Romania – a new place for me – I was 100% excited, feeling agitated – and asking myself “trivial ” questions : How Bucharest is going to look like? Are people friendly to tourists ? Will I make myself understand given that I speak French, English, Spanish but surely not a work of Romanian…. (Answers will come in my soon to come post on my Romanian adventures !)

Once landed, I crossed the long corridor, heading straight to the exit to finally get the adventure started !

And you – what is feeding your love for travels ?

The picture in this post is not mine… I found it at the following blog

http://www.chrystal-clear.com

An elephant in the room

elephant

Before I start this post, let me quickly explain: “An elephant in the room” is an expression used to refer to a big problem that is easily noticeable but that nobody wants to discuss or even acknowledge. The Oxford English Dictionary credits the New York Times from June 20th, 1959, as the first recorded use of this phrase.

I am a big fan of expression and I think the best way to understand their meaning is to visualize them: can you imagine if you were in such a situation? Sitting with a group of people while an elephant is gently standing in the room, and where everybody decided to ignore it despite how big and noticeable the animal is?  That would sound quite awkward and uncomfortable, or even make you think you are not normal, wouldn’t it?

But have you ever wondered why some people would decide not to mention that bloody elephant?!As different as one can be, after all, having an elephant in the room is maybe not an issue for everybody. Maybe among the group :

1) some of them actually grew up in a circus and seeing an elephant in the room won’t be such an issue;

2) some of them are animal lovers and do not feel much bothered by that;  

3) last hypothesis : you are lucky enough to be in one of the Buckingham palace room – which have ceiling of 5 meters high and a surface of about 80 square meters for some of them, so after all,  the room is big enough to welcome it… why would they bother mentioning it!

On a more serious note : what can sound like a problem for you is maybe not perceived as such by someone else.  The best that can happen if you do not mention ” the elephant in the room” is that you feel annoyed about it and start worrying or being under pressure, if not highly frustrated at some point : that is not sustainable.

Perceptions vary across people. Instead of feeling weird or uncomfortable about that “elephant” , try to subtly bring it to the conversation to get a sense of what others think about it. In most situations, when there is an “elephant in the room”, everyone is impacted but nobody really knows how or when to mention it. Discussing the problem – as tough as it can be- can only help to work towards an improvement of the current situation.

It is all about discussing and clearing ambiguity – any issues can be solved if one takes the time to discuss, analyze it and see how to sort it out. Hence my motto is : “there are no issues, only solutions:”

I tried to be light in this post – No offence to anybody – to explain how speaking helps sorting out tough situations before they worsen.

Finally, if you happen to see an elephant in the room and that you are not in a zoo, or at a Natural Science museum… it is maybe worth you mention it loudly! 😉

On an art/culture note, in September 2006, the British artist Banksy set the phrase in visual form with an exhibit of a painted elephant in a room in the Barely Legal exhibition in Los Angeles. The picture I put in this post comes from the site : http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/sep/18/arts.artsnews