France: Bordeaux – Bretagne

     I’m sat on a comfy sofa in an overwhelming country house in Bretagne, France. It’s early and everyone else is sleeping. Outside it’s raining, but somehow, it feels good.  (No, cycling in heavy rain to work was definitely not my favourite thing in the world).
     We left Bordeaux Saturday morning and few hours later, Bretagne welcomed us with breathtaking views, dream country houses and beautiful weather. We’re in St. Gildas de Rhuys, a quiet, yet charming village by the Atlantic and walking down its streets probably makes me look like I’m on something as I’m in continuous awe, grinning and giggling and dreaming.
8 am yesterday morning, we left to the Sunday market (happening every week in the village) and I didn’t want to leave the place. I got lost in the multitude of people buying fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, cheese, seafood, cakes, crepes, all local produce. Apart from the endless mouth watering food choice, which was the main ‘attraction’ of the market, one could also buy hippie jewelery, clothes, bags and all sorts of little things from cheap watches to the highly annoying loom bands.
Overlooking the market, a very busy coffee shop was hosting curious looks and warm smiles – locals, tourists, half asleep backpackers getting their daily drug dose to wake their eyes to the beauty around them. People on bikes with baskets overflowing of bread, cheese and flowers, super friendly (yet not annoying) local traders, lots of ‘Bonjour!’ and ‘Bonne journèe! ‘, all under the warmth of an ambitious sun trying to make its way through the clouds. After a relaxing week and a half in the Bordeaux region with my first ratatouille, sinful, delicious homemade wine, Dune do Pyla and Mami’s famous ‘soup’ (that actually gets you drunk), we ended the day by the ocean where the water was so calm. I stood there for a while and (beware! Cheesy, lame part coming) I felt truly happy. I forgot for a moment about everything else and just lost myself in the view. I’m living my dream and i’m extremely pleased that I get to see all these interesting places in the company of locals who would share funny childhood stories and tips and secrets about the food, the people or the best places to visit that haven’t been discovered yet by the many tourists. Learning so much about myself, trying to always escape my comfort zone (big girl here – went on adults rides in a water parc), I’m easily building the lifestyle that keeps me happy, with less worries, less drama, more smiling and being more grateful for everything I have.
Slight change of the subject, as a leaving present, my lovely GO family gave me a beautiful leather-bound notebook to write in about my adventures and because I haven’t got as much time to develop the millions of things in my head, the notebook is a massive list with pieces of my heart. In the same principle, my posts will sometimes include some random sentences at the end, stuff that I would like to write more about or just silly things I want to look back to in years time and make fun of my silly self.

The randoms

– Mami is 88 years old and one of the coolest grandmothers I have ever met. Also she dresses impeccably and makes the famous ‘soup’, aka the best cocktail ever. The recipe was a family secret.
– My new family is actually French. They moved to Switzerland a while ago and started their family and business there. Asked what they miss the most about France they replied: “Salted butter, pastry shops and markets”. No wonder they have a restaurant. It’s all about food with French people.
– I’m learning to knit. Friends and family, prepare yourselves!
– Tried learning to swim. Failed.
– Uncle Glen, (thanks for reading my blog) I saw two pretty campervans. None were as cool as the ‘Slug’.
– For those interested (English people in particular as I know house pricing in England is a bit of a joke, especially in the South), with £100k you can easily buy a 3 bed country house, decent garden, by the ocean. 😉
– It’s no myth: French people are very well dressed. Simple, yet very chic.
– I have started doing yoga and I love it. (Thank you, Bina!)
– I’m getting a little bit obsessed with herbal/fruity teas and oats.
– Nowadays, my name is ‘Aina’ or ‘iiiidhdbdbsbdhdgsbv’, as the little ones like to call me.
– I’m rocking the baby carrier. Dancing with a 5 month old has never been easier.

Hope you are as happy as I am!

Bisous!

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#swissdream

Or how I decided to go for what makes me happy. The last 2 months have been a beautiful chaos. There’s too much to say and little words to explain how pleased I am with how things turned out. My mum has finally visited me in England and witnessed receiving my Modern Languages degree, Larisa and I moved out and the biggest change of all is that I’m writing this post on my phone from a beautiful, small village in Switzerland where I decided to move to to be an au pair for a year. Without a doubt, it’s the most sudden, yet second best decision I have ever made. My feet have always screamed to step on new places and my heart is in a continuous party at the thought of it. I was going through a weird, comfortable phase in which I didn’t quite know where I’m heading to. The phase didn’t last long though and after getting tired of looking back in the past, waiting for people to make that extra effort and hoping that good things will just fall from sky, I decided to leave England. The process was (far too) quick, painless and exciting, to say the least. One evening after work, I decided I want to become an au pair for a while. The same evening I made a profile on one of the recruiting websites and the next morning I was reading applications from families in Norway, Austria, Sweden, France and Switzerland. I went for Switzerland (the French side) as I wanted to learn yet another Latin language and I was and still am very hyped at the idea of skiing, hiking, camping and (!!!!!!!!) doing via ferrata in the Alps. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And the family I’m living with are making this experience 10 times better. After reading horrifying au pair stories online, I cannot stop but think again “What a lucky girl I am!”. I know it’s early to say this,  but have you ever met some people and you thought to yourself “Yes, I like these ones. They can definitely stay in my life.”?
   Today is the National day of Switzerland and last night the council organised this big overnight party for the whole community with plenty of food, drinks, music, a massive fire, balloons and fireworks, to top it all off. I was stood there in awe and I was enjoying every single minute of it with a silly happy grin on my face.
    It’s the 4th country I live in, after Romania, England and Portugal and I’m sure that, as with the rest, Switzerland will give me great memories, will help me grow up and will give me the life experience i’m looking for. The real expectation from my Swiss story is to learn, through good and bad, as many skills as possible, be it feeding a 5 month old baby while making sure his toddler sister doesn’t play with the plugs, speaking French, cooking better (have I mentioned the parents own a restaurant?) or doing via ferrata and ski.
    Looking back now, I wouldn’t want to change a thing. (Well, maybe that 3 hour delay on my London-Geneva flight)

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