A City and a Feather

I met Claire Deroubaix in Melbourne many years ago.

She has joined me to share her Australian adventure and the story regarding her love for Melbourne in particular.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to meet people who have a wonderful zest for life. Claire is one of these people. She possesses an energy that makes those around her feel more upbeat. Claire is a joy to be around with an infectious smile. She is someone who loves adventure and trying new things.

Skydiving for the first time!
Photo credit: provided

We have enjoyed some fun times together in Melbourne, when I visited Perth, and then France after she returned after her working holiday visa in Australia.

I would like to thank Claire so very much for taking the time to share with me her affinity for my hometown.

Making a new friend on Rottnest Island
Photo credit: provided

"Thank you, Libby to invite me to pick up my feather and tell my story between France and Australia.

I want to share why this experience is how I learned the most in my life.
After a complicated year in 2014, it was time to turn everything in positive way and realise a dream. I loved my job in a communication agency but the economic situation of the company wrote my destiny.
The most difficult thing was to announce to everyone the departure for the opposite side of the globe ! I knew that I would miss important moments with friends and family. But I wanted achieve this big challenge more than anything.

Travelling is like a bug, I had the chance to travel a bit before- in Europe most of the time. But like a feather, I wanted to fly further and further! A 24h flight was a long way but an exciting trip.

I had no idea of what I would experience there... Every step was like a special mission for me.
The first one: abandon everything in France and fly for 24 hours with one (but full) piece of luggage !

Everything was fast ! Opening a bank account (was soooo easy, contrary to France), asking for a Tax File Number, and finding a room in Sydney for a few days.

To find a Wwoofing opportunity in the middle of nowhere, buying a car to go there; drive, drive, drive and discover the real Australia in this big farm in Terang.
It was warm and welcoming, yet the weather was cold in August ! Everything was huge... The house, the farm... the spiders of course !
This first step was amazing. I often think of this lovely family who took the time to speak with us in spite of our poor English.
Gardening, taking care of baby lambs, babysitting ...
Then one day, without any warning, the grandfather of the farm, a pilot, took us flying over the 12 Apostles with his 2 seater plane !

Some surprises are still in my mind, for example I remember stars there. They are more bright and different in this hemisphere.

Photo credit: provided
I discovered the culture and the big heart of Australian people. Everyone was welcoming, and they were really friendly with French people.
I didn't expect that much, I know we have the best cuisine in the world but I didn't know that my ugly accent was so famous !
Speaking of cooking, it was my principal activity there. I brought with me my passion and some of my recipes.
You can't imagine the reaction of chefs when you make real mayonnaise or Quiche Lorraine.
They kept it in the fridge like the most precious trésor in the world. I felt like a 3 star Michelin chef !

Thank you to all teams in kitchens for giving me chance to improve my skills there and in term become a chef. It was hard, it was crazy, but it was so good.

I hope some of them kept my dishes in the menu. Maybe in Melbourne you can find it!

Working, working...
Photo credits: provided
After a lot of adventures between Sydney and Melbourne, working in vineyard, sleeping in tent even with super cold, super hot or super storm... I know what is it to "survive" without a home, without money... It was the challenge of my life.

It's time to talk about love at first sight: Melbourne.

When I arrived, I immediately felt the kindness of this city. There, my soul was soft, light, and smooth like feather.

The Colour Run!
Photo credit: provided
It's hard to explain but I felt secure there. Walking in Southbank, having coffee in sweet places...

I hesitated at this time- really tired- to sell the car and come back to France.
After knocking on a few doors in Chapel Street, one chef give me opportunity. I took it and in the end, it was my second family there. After few months with them I didn't want to leave.

Photo credit: provided

I was happy even if my life and my jobs were sometimes really hard. Working 6 days a week, for more than 12 hours per day was difficult, but I only remember good moments.

I was crying everyday when I had my ticket to Perth. It was not my choice to leave.

I should say now that it was a good idea to make more money before going back to France after 2 year visa.

But my heart was broken to leave this city, my ville d'amour.

Guess what?

Before leaving, I wanted to keep something from Melbourne for life...
I did something that I didn't expect...

I got my first and only tattoo: a feather, of course".

Claire's permanent souvenir from Melbourne... a feather
Photo credit: provided