It’s the end of the year. Already. A whole year under the sign of covid. It’s strange, I still remember when we thought it was going to last 3 weeks and at the same time I feel like it was 10 years ago. Every time I watch a series about it I get some kind of stress and anxiety flashback from the beginning (I watched The Resident today hence this comment!).
I didn’t plan to start this article like this and I hope I didn’t lose half of my audience in the first lines. Stay I swear we’ll talk about other things. We’ll talk because it’s been a long time. And yet this is where my first online presence was born, my first virtual home if you will. In 2014 I created this blog a few days after I left for Toronto. To document “my year abroad”, so that my family could live this long distance adventure with me. This adventure that was supposed to be temporary became my life and my future as you surely know. Sometimes I even have trouble remembering my life before. Not the people but what I was doing before. I came to Toronto when I was 26 years old. I will be 34 in a few months (2 months still counts as a few months right?), I have spent most of my adult life on Canadian soil. It’s crazy.
Today I wanted to chat because it’s been a long time since I took my keyboard to really talk to you. I have more platforms than before: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and yet I feel like we’re talking less. The content is faster and less personal. I feel like this blog is our own little corner of the internet, like a coffee shop where we have our habits. More personal.
So this year? Well, this year, despite the world shit we have been and still are in, it has been a good year for me. Professionally I stabilized myself, I managed to reach my financial goals (I know that in France money is a bit taboo but here it’s not at all and it’s important to talk about it, that’s how we educate ourselves, knowing is power!) My financial advisor helped me to better understand how to save, we were able to discuss my goals and that made me feel good. I told her: I am becoming a Canadian adult!
I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people, whether it’s with the agency I work for in the US, my freelance clients, or brands for partnerships. It’s a special feeling to say that you’ve succeeded in achieving a goal that you didn’t really set out to do. I’ve said it several times in the last few months on Youtube: I’ve always been more the type to have an idea of a goal rather than a square goal. Because a goal for me has to be adaptable to the opportunities and it’s more important to reach the well-being brought by a step than the goal as it is. Have I lost more people with this lame explanation? Trying to make it clearer: I knew that my goal was to be able to work from everywhere to be able to afford a month in France if I wanted/needed it. But I didn’t know how it would work on paper. Today I have a hybrid professional life: a yearly contract with an agency, freelance missions, content creation for my blog/networks and some partnerships. And it makes me happy.
I also diversified my content: since February I post a video on Youtube
every week, and more and more of you are coming back: it’s a pleasure! The blog has had more technical articles (how to apply for Canadian citizenship, how to rent a car in Canada etc) and less articles like this one on the slightly older blog post format. I’ve started posting more Real lately on Instagram, of my walks around Toronto, and I see you’re enjoying it. I have more ideas for the next few months and I love seeing what can be created. In 2022 I will also continue my 2 series on Instagram: the “Canada Quiz” and the “Did You Know in France”, the first is posted every Tuesday, the second every Thursday. It takes me a lot of time to prepare but to have your feedback is amazing. We learn new things together and I find it fun. I want my little life space on the net to bring you some useful information to bring out to shine in society (well in society … when we can be in society haha).
From a personal point of view this is the year that brought me the most emotions and if you follow me on Instagram and Youtube you couldn’t miss the news: I took my lover to France with me last September. I’m very modest about my private life, it took me a year to introduce you to Mister on the networks, I may be old school but for me meeting my family was important. Not stress in the sense that I knew they were all going to get along wonderfully but rather that if I take you on a plane, I take you across the Atlantic it’s because I love you very much (and here I think of when we were little and we took off the petals saying: I love you a little, a lot, passionately, madly, not at all – here you know what happens in my little head of a person who is very quickly distracted)
So not only was it a beautiful and important step for me, but it was also a very strange feeling, which I’m sure you can understand if you have also started a relationship with a partner in your host country: it was the first time I brought my 2 worlds together in one place.
Let me explain: my Canadian life is one thing, little French city girl, but when I’m in France I go back to my village of 5000 inhabitants in the Ardèche and my 2 lives are totally opposite. I love both and I am comfortable in both. But they don’t usually mix at all. Here I was with my Canadian city-dweller +++ in the middle of my Ardèche and sometimes I had to pinch myself to tell myself: it’s real, he’s really there for real (especially since my friend Coco and I were still in suspense as to whether we would be able to go there or not).
The experience was incredible and I think it’s really the moment of the year where I felt the best. To have all the people I love most in the world around the same table, to see them build relationships, to see them laugh, to see them make the effort to speak each other’s language. I still find it hard to believe sometimes that it really happened and will happen again.
I am also fully aware that I have an amazing family that has opened the doors of their homes and their hearts to my lover as if they have known him forever and that this is not the case in all families. I am also aware that I have an amazing guy who has been learning French for 2 years, who is interested in and wants to have a relationship with my family, wants to discover my country and who has decided that his retirement will be on the French Riviera (why not!)
I think it’s important to talk about this because we don’t talk much about what it feels like to build a future far from home with someone our relatives in our home country don’t know. I am more than happy that this step was a success, already looking forward to going back.
Another important step: I started the process to become a CANADIAN! There is still time, but at least you know everything and if you are also at this stage I have made an article of course.
Finally I also wanted to talk about mental health, we can never say it enough: take care of your mental health. Seeing a lot less people this year was hard for me, it’s still an adjustment today. 7 months of confinement for us in Toronto has definitely taken its toll. 7 months without being able to see anyone, without plans, without knowing what tomorrow will bring. I am well aware that there are worse people than me working in the comfort of my apartment. But if I tell you this, it’s to let you know that if you too have struggled with loneliness this year, or with the lack of perspective and projects: you are not alone! When I came back from my stay in France, I felt empty, with no plans, no future, nothing exciting to look forward to in the future. And it was difficult. I’m always in a good mood, I always see the positive side of things but I was exhausted. I decided to go back to the yoga studio. Winter 2018-2019 when my work life was very difficult I had found this refuge, I went 3-4 times a week and it had helped me free my mind (besides giving me a crazy body hahah). So it’s a cost we won’t lie so I thought about it a lot. Was I ready to pay so much per month to go to the gym? I talked about it with one of my friends who told me: it’s for your mental health, it’s priceless. I thought about it: I could afford it, I spend 0$ for my mental health, the fact that I’m paying I’m going to stick to it, I know that I like this studio, I’ve seen the effects on my body so in addition to helping me mentally it will also help me find my pre-covid body: bingo I signed up.
It will be 2 months at the beginning of the year and I can already see the results: I have strength in my arms, I feel more toned. There is still a long way to go physically but I am not in a hurry. And above all I don’t have this anxious feeling that I had at the beginning of November after our return from France. It brings a little more structure to my days. I see people in the studio after spending the day alone in front of my computer working from home. It’s only 2 mins from my house so even when it’s cold I have no excuse. I really think it was one of the best decisions of the end of the year.
I said “finally” earlier but I want to add something, I know it’s going to sound nian nian and cliché but to have spent this year alongside an amazing partner who supports me in everything I do, who will research to help me find the best camera, who will shoot me, take my pictures, give me feedback on my content. I know that for many it will seem a bit superficial but for me it is essential. This blog and my passion for sharing and creating content have been part of my life since 2014, I have evolved with this blog, as a person, as a professional. This blog, this community, these shares, you, have helped me get the life I have today. Finding a partner who supports all of this, understanding how important it is for me to share with my community, bringing French content to my community in a mostly English-speaking city, seeing him take an interest in my world without being interested in what it can bring him but really to please me, it was really unexpected. I feel so much like myself around him, I didn’t know that was possible. You always hear people say that you have to make sacrifices, or that you have to lower your standards. But you don’t. There is such a thing as someone who does it for you. On paper we had nothing to be together: born in two different countries, met in a third, not the same mother tongue. And yet. I wanted to talk about the celibacy of the immigrant in another article (it’s in my endless list of ideas for articles), give yourself time. Rebuilding a life abroad is long, letting someone into our lives and risking losing our balance is difficult.
That’s it for today. I really wanted to chat with you, if you also feel like chatting you can leave a comment, even just a little word to tell me that you like this format (or not). To tell me about your year. About your projects. About what you want.
I wish you a nice end of the year 2021, we’ll talk again soon.