english

Surprise

The secret to humor is surprise.

Aristotle

I was 20, returning from a fantastic year in Canada and a three-month trip across the United States with my sister, I was looking forward to seeing everyone again. I arrived with my sister at Geneva airport. Once the customs controls passed, the door opened and I saw on the right a long red carpet and our friends at the other end. Suddenly, I heard the music of la Marseillaise (they told us later that they hadn’t found the Swiss anthem) coming out of a radio cassette placed on the ground. They were all laughing at our surprised faces as we were walking on the red carpet. It was our hour of glory, many people were watching us, thinking that guest stars were arriving in Geneva. At the end of the long carpet, there was a bottle of white wine from the Côtes de l’Orbe.

english

A healthy mind in a healthy body

When I arrived in Canada, to improve my English, I preferred to register for a sport class rather than a language course. In the West Vancouver Community Centre program, I found a canoe-kayak course in swimming pool. Many technical words were unknown to me and today I have forgotten most of them. Anyway, the expression eskimo-roll has never left my memory. This is the act of capsizing the kayak, flicking the hips and using the paddle. I remember the sensation experienced when I was upside down at the bottom of the water and have to manage to go back to the other side. If it was relatively “easy” in the swimming pool, the exercise is certainly more difficult in rough waters. It is the same in life, no? It’s easier to get your head out of the water when the water is quiet than during a tempest.

Kayak

english

Creativity

As soon as one speaks a foreign language, the expressions of the face, the hands, the language of the body change. We are already someone else.

Isabelle Adjani

Not so long ago, I worked in an American School during a summer camp. It was a very interesting ethnic experience. Even if students came from all over the world, the American spirit of this school reminded me of a famous movie for teenager. Thanks to the super motivated teachers (or counselors), the kids were acting, singing, dancing, creating, or just having fun while learning a way of living. 

english

The nicest word in English

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.

Frank Smith

This week I am reflecting about the nicest word in every language. All this is because of Gérard Depardieu, who said that the nicest word in French is âme (soul). I don’t think that soul is the nicest word in English, it sounds like ghost, maybe there is more mystery in it. As in French, you have to breath to pronounce the word, but in French we breath in to pronounce âme, while in English we breath out to pronounce soul. Why was this name given to soul music? Was it to symbolize the soul of each slave finding freedom through music? Well, I still don’t know what is the nicest word of this language. What I like in English is this capacity to synthesize, for example the word homesick, which explains so well how you feel (it is not the case in French with mal du pays = sick of the country). Ok, I must admit, I don’t know which one to choose: Bumblebee is nice, it even makes this insect friendly. The belly button, what a funny way to name this scar we all have. Today I will say that BEAUTIFUL is the nicest, because I hear full of beauty in it… but I am not sure, maybe you could suggest something else.

english

Are you honest with your friends?

I am wondering what is important for you. This week I listen to the songs I have in my heart, the songs that I cannot listen to without singing them. Today is time to talk about honesty. Since my adolescence, this lonely word has been very important to me. It is not easy to find truthfulness, especially now that everybody wants to display the image of perfection on social networks. A long time ago I went to a Billy Joël’s concert in Vancouver, I know I already sang his song Honesty every time I heard it; it is strange how I feel like singing when something sounds really true to me. I still do, because I still wish people would be more honest. Honesty is not always the easiest path to follow, however I feel like Billy, I don’t want pretty face to tell me pretty lies. I don’t like hypocrisy; I can feel it through the words. Maybe I am a dreamer, maybe I am still a teenager in my head, maybe I am a bit candid, anyway as Walt Disney said All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

english

When a letter opens the door to freedom

I was 19 when I wrote my first letter in English. It was for the Ricker’s family in Vancouver, Canada. I had never heard anything about this wonderful town. Mr. and Mrs. Ricker were looking for a good skiing au pair girl for their two children: Jörli (6) and Maëlle (4). I was so exited and afraid they would not choose me. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I was selected! This was the beginning of my true freedom; I flew alone to the west coast. I was so lucky to go there. They took me everywhere. I was part of the team to help Karl to measure Wedgemount Glacier (he was a geologist), I discovered Whistler mountain, Vancouver Island, Okanagan Valley, Bella Coola, Mont Baker and so many wonderful places. When I had my days off, they sent me on exploration in every corner of British Colombia, letting me using their own car, it was just GREAT. This is the year I started to write so much, at that time it was quite expensive to communicate by phone.

Mr Ricker still writes me every year. He sends his Xmas letter before he goes to Lake Louise to prepare the downhill race with his team. I know that a few years ago, he has been recognized at Lake Louise as the “best course worker”. Maybe that’s what he gave me: PASSION.

The little girl I looked after, Maëlle Ricker, won an Olympic gold medal in the snowboard cross at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I was so proud of her! Time goes by, but emotions remain.

Jörli has the same passion for the mountain as his father.

My son went to study English in Canada. He had the chance to stay at Karl’s cabin in Whistler. Time goes by, passion is transmitted.