First

This August with my sister Victoire, we had the chance to exhibit some of our work in an old “lavoir” (washing place), which is a beautiful and very unique place. My sister (Instagram @vikyjune) is a young photographer. She also makes little notebooks and lovely things. I am very proud of her and also of me because it is my first real “adult” exhibition.

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photos B. Junot

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Since december, I have got my name on a paper, an official paper, saying that I am the lease holder of an appartment. My first real appartment. The place where I am / we are going to live at least one year. I am a person who can feel herself at home pretty quick and almost everywhere but there is a time when moving a lot can become a problem. When it is not a self aware kind of choice.

I loved all these years (more than ten years already!) living with people, sharing a flat with friends, with strangers, sleeping on my brothers/friends couches. Having the possibility to pack my bag and being the next day to a new place, a new city, a new country was the freedom I did choose for many years.

Since september, I am working in Paris and happily pregnant. The time has come to settle down for a while. Surprisingly, I feel relief. Because we have plans, we are becoming parents and I am not by myself and living just for me anymore. Time has come and I finally know what it is like to have a purpose bigger than my own little person. It feels pretty amazing.

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I feel so lucky. A place where I can go anytime! Where I can cook! Where I can put my stuff on the walls and light some candles whenever I want to! Where I can paint and draw! Where I can clean up after my own mess!

People should never underastimate the luck they have to call a place “home”.

Pregnancy tips

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Obvious pregnancy tips

As I am in the middle of my second trimester, I thought I would share some tips. Nothing unexpected or that you have never heard before but I can see it is working for me or at least until now. It is helping me to stay healthy and relax during this special time.

  • Your body is changing and you can get tired very quickly so one advice: take it easy ! Don’t rush, don’t push yourself too hard especially at work. You are now breathing for two, it can be exhausting.  On the other hand, you can sometimes feel a lot of energy within yourself. Take advantage of these days to do yoga or to go swimming. It is good in every way: body, mind, spirit. Being slow does not mean being inactive.
  • Eat clean. Although I tend to eat as clean as I can (I am not perfect), I also never restrain myself. Variety is the key. No meat or fish for me but I am used to do so since I am fifteen. There is not one single rule when it comes to food. Except maybe no alcohol and listening (at least considering it) what your doctor tells you.
  • Follow an easy and simple routine. I never wear a lot of makeup but I am trying to focus on the quality of my skin. Dry skin is never confortable so I use a body cream (odorless) more than usual. After the first semester, your hair won’t need a lot of caring: the hormones make them grow faster and less oily that is why I tend to keep a very minimalist routine.
  • Love yourself. Your baby will thank you and your partner will love you even more. It will help you going through the pregnancy, no doubt. Obviously, you will gain some weight but it is for a good cause, it is better not to care too much as long as you are healthy.

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  • Read as much as possible! Having a brain activity is so important. Essays, fiction, non-fiction, books about pregnancy… Whatever. The point is to stimulate your imagination, your critical thinking, to get informations and a lot more.

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  • I know, I said to take it easy. But being pregnant also means that you have a lot of administrative procedures to do, documents to fill in and appointments to attend. I am very very bad at doing these things but since september I try to do it on time because I am no longer on my own. Yes it is boring and not fun but it is for the best. Getting stuff done is important.

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  • I never thought I would be pregnant while living in Paris, I always thought I would be in the countryside. I need fresh air, trees, long walk in the forest or just being surrounded by silence or the singing of the birds. Observing nature is necessary if I want to stay positive. I know I should go more in parcs or force myself to escape the city even a few hours…

Above all, I believe the key is to listen to yourself and your body. Make some small changes in your everyday life if you feel the need but nothing too dramatic. Try to avoid stressful situations and take care of yourself. And as my doctor said “you’re pregnant, not sick.”

PS: Happy birthday my love.

Living without cellphone

In september 2016, I got my cellphone stolen. It was an old one at the end of its life therefore I was not very very upset (except that I lost everything in it, like pictures or messages and that my credit card got stolen as well, not great.) Just upset and sad, this theft happening to a difficult time of the year. Life was playing with me and telling me something I needed to listen, so I decided not to buy a new cellphone. At least I decided to live one month without one, as a challenge to myself and the ultra-connected world we live in. 

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Matisse drawing a dove, by Henri Cartier-Bresson

This one month soon became 5 months. Here is my status report.

Advantages 

  • Disconnection. Without a cellphone, you are very aware of what is around you. Living in a big city can be tiring but if you focus on the right things and if you enjoy the time without checking your cellphone every 2 minutes, you will see things you would not have noticed otherwise. Being aware is always a good and salutary state of mind.
  • No more (useless) phone calls. As you are not reachable, people won’t call you to tell you stupid stuff or to bother you when you want to be left alone.
  • No more phone calls. At all. If you are not very comfortable when you have to pick up the phone, you won’t have to do it. Never. Same with sms you do not know how/want to answer. I guess it is a selfish reason, but it does not mean you won’t get back to people, just that you will take the time to do it.
  • More reading. As you do not have the chance to read your emails everywhere or to check your social medias, sms, mms in the subway or at the restaurant, you will be tempted to open a book, an actual book, more frequently. The same will happen if you do not have the internet at home. That is a perfect reason to get rid of your cell phone.
  • In a way, it leads to a more involving kind of communication because you will actually & only communicate with people in face to face, not via a machine. And you will make eye contact with people, strangers, friends or family. Something that does not happen a lot if your are glued to your screen.
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Portrait de Gertrude et Ursula Falke, 1906

Disadvantages

  • Disturbing for your entourage. The main problem will come from your entourage: they will tell you to get a phone ASAP because not being reachable is not acceptable, specially when you are a girl, in a city, late at night. It is not safe, you know ? And when your friends want to plan something, it is true that being reachable only via the internet a few hours per day is not convenient.
  • Professionnaly ? Not responsible. You won’t be able to respond to your boss or collegues calls. You will miss any job opportunities, because they won’t bother emailing you twice if you don’t pick up when they call you. Too bad.
  • No music. I used to listen music with my cell phone as I do not have a mp3 player anymore. In my case, living without music was the hardest part. Although sometimes, surrounding yourself with silence can be quite enjoyable.
  • Life is not made for people without cell phone. You need a number to give almost everywhere you go, for administrative procedures to shops, medical stuff to any kind of registration, or even to make new friends. Not surprisingly, it is a very marginal and offbeat move to make the choice to live without a cell phone.

 

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Tove Jansson

Conclusion

Of course, it is possible to live without a cell phone. You just have to organise your life differently and be prepared to the fact that in these days, not having a cell phone is a very unordinay if not crazy thing to do. Personnaly, I felt that not having one for a few months was more unhandy and disturbing for my family and friends than for myself. You just get use to it very fast. Let’s see what it feels like to receive calls and sms again !

About racism

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This is a message of peace. Please people, love one another.

Lately I came across with a lot of racist remarks and it is very painful to hear. I could stay silent but I decided not to. Not this time.

As a white female, growing up in an open, tolerant and generous family, I never was directly confronted with racism. My brothers and I always had the friends we wanted to have (male, female, rich, poor, blue, green, brown, yellow…) Racism was something very blurry. When you are a kid, it is a word more than a concept. Ethnicities and origins were celebrated as something positive that make us who we are. I became “aware” of its vague reality around high school but truly was not confronted with it (because well, it was not serious or real to me and I guess I was not paying attention.) Above all, I did not want to believe it.

Until recenlty.

I could think of 4 direct social interactions that happened in my life, in less than a month, that included OPEN racist comments. From different people with different backgrounds. It affected me more than I thought and still does. It probably has to do with my boyfriend not being the super white regular french guy. What the fuck does it mean anyway?? As I am writing this I am getting more and more upset. And sad.

After a month in the countryside, I  have heard some alarming speeches. At first, you think it is not very serious, that people can have their own opinion. But when it starts to include violence or close relatives, you start to think otherwise. It is a serious topic. It leads to more than inappropriate comments. Why do people think like that ? Why do they come to the conclusion that their problems are caused by others, by “strangers” (sometimes less “strangers” than them)? I am not here to give answers, although medias and politics have their responsabilites, and instead of saying that these people are morons -which would be very easy and sometimes very true- I wonder why it is how it is. You can be proud of your culture, your traditions, your mother tongue and still be open-minded and curious, can’t you?

We are different indeed, but it is beautiful and rich. Those differences should not be hidden but celebrated and accepted. Respecting people is the number one rule. At least in public spaces, everyone should show a little more decency and respect since we cannot change people’s opinion on the very subject (= “Racism is a product of the complex interaction in a given society of a race-based worldview with prejudice,stereotyping, and discrimination.”) I used to be naive but adults are adults, I do think it is too late for them to change. I guess we will just have to educate our children to make a better World.

More than ever during this time of crisis, we have to show solidarity, love and never blame “others” for what is happening. Because these “others” we should fight are somewhere else, probably in a gold castle with giant diamonds and a private jet, petting their protected bank accounts with a vicious smile on their faces. With a money complexion. A greyish/greenish skin tone. 

So please people, love one another.

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First evening in Paris.  The straw that broke the camel…

The guy (a waiter) justified himself by saying “it was a joke”. No it was not. Jokes are funny. It was not funny but insulting. After he said what he said, I only made a statement that it was not really nice to say, without being mad or anything. The waiter apologized but only because “he made the lady sad”, not because he said something inappropriate. I would have left the place but my boyfriend told me it was not a big deal, I should not be getting upset. I replied that because he was used to it, it did not make it acceptable. Then he said “I am not used to it, I got maybe 10 bad comments in my entire life, it is not as common as you think”. Well… But STILL. I am not sorry for letting someone know that his behaviour is NOT ok. And yes I would be my boyfriend’s bodyguard if needed . “Half his size” bodyguard.