(5+5) Things About Me

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A couple of months ago, my buddy Graham set an interesting challenge: an “about me” photography hunt.

The goal was to “take 10 photographs that represent you / things about you / your personality / likes / dislikes… I think ya catch my drift. Against each one, you need to write a comment to explain what is says about you.

I loved the idea but I was traveling, so I didn’t have the time. So, here I am, a but late, but with my ten pictures! I will publish five today, five Wednesday (I love suspense…).

Parisian Souvenirs

Parisian Souvenirs

I was born and I grew up in France, in the city of Nantes.I don’t miss France much though, except for my family and friends. I like my life in Canada and I’m proud that I did all the immigration paperwork by myself when I was 22.

I don’t believe in destiny and I like the idea of choosing where I want to live. So far, Canada is for me! Minus the winters, that goes without saying.

My Junior High/ High School In Nantes

My Junior High/ High School In Nantes

This is where I spent my life between 12 and 18 years old! It was a relatively small (about 1,000 students) junior high/ high school. Public school, of course.I wasn’t especially popular but I wasn’t bullied either. I was a good student but a bit rebel — not sure I would be invited if we had a school reunion!

Mostly, I couldn’t wait to finish school and discover the real world which was bound to be, without doubt, much more interesting.

Ottawa, The Business District

Ottawa, The Business District

I now call Ottawa home. I first came there in 2002, lived part-time until 2004 and eventually more or less settled there.A lot of people (mostly from Toronto and Montreal, our two big neighbors!) find the city boring. I don’t.

Sure, Ottawa is relatively small (about one million inhabitants). But it’s affordable, quite steady (the crisis hasn’t affected the city much for example) and both French and English are widely spoken. Plus, it’s pretty!

Self Portrait In A Café, Nantes

Self Portrait In A Café, Nantes

I can hang out in coffee for hours. Note that I don’t actually like coffee.When it comes to drinks, I’m quite picky. I don’t drink alcohol and coffee is… meh. I like Coke Zero, grapefruit juice and Chinese teas in general. Oh, and the occasional Vanilla Latte.

Give me a book or a newspaper, and I can hang out there forever…

All My Chinese Books

All My Chinese Books

I studied Chinese in junior high, high school, and then full-time at university.Everybody always asks me why I choose to study Chinese. The truth is, I don’t know. I had to sign up for a foreign language (compulsory at school in France) and I had no interest in English culture at the time. I figured I could always learn Spanish later on, so I picked Chinese.

I ended up being the only true Westerner in our small class. Most students were Chinese-French and even though they couldn’t write Chinese, they all spoke a dialect (Cantonese, Teochew etc.). It was tough at first but I eventually caught up!

(to be followed…)


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Zhu! A Frenchwoman who doesn’t drink wine and is fluent in Chinese! There can’t be many who fit that description.

    It’s been good knowing you through your blog. 🙂

  2. Ohhhh, you don’t like coffee???!!! Well, I do have to admit that grapefruit juice is great, but coffee is my favorite 🙂

  3. i notice you took your photo of ottawa after>/i> the ice melted. that’s the sneaky thing about canadians. they get only two hours of daylight (if they are lucky) and so they all go outside when it happens and snap pictures. triky, tricky.

  4. I adore your pictures! Those little Eiffel tower statues are really cute. And ditto on the ‘not liking coffee’ bit.

  5. A good post. Now we know more about you…

    It is often said that French are proud of their language, but you somehow learn three foreign languages.

  6. I think it would be grea to be fluent in other languages, but I always get the feeling that I’ve gone past the point and will always be an ignorant Englishman.

    I know it’s not really too late, but it all seems like too much hard work…

  7. Your pics and the stories behind them are fantastic! I love your self portrait in a café and that you know Chinese (but I already knew that about you!). Does this mean you never picked up Spanish?? I could teach you if you want to learn. 🙂

  8. So many souvenirs! Don’t you miss the Parisian cafes and the culture? 🙂 France sounds so exciting! I’ve never been there.

  9. In the photo of you drinking Coke Zero in a coffee shop you are sitting with a very charming young asian man. We have seen him before. We know his name is Feng and we know that he was your traveling companion throughout South America becaue he appeared in a few of your pictures. But that is about all we (at least I) know about him. I hope that one of the things you will tell us is more about this gentleman who is clearly an important part of your life.

  10. @Shantanu – I’m sure there are other French who speak Chinese. Now, the wine thing… yeah, I’m the only one 😆

    @Seb – It depends which coffee actually. I dislike American coffee, which is for me brown hot water. But an Expresso in Italy… I can drink that!

    @Seraphine – We are a tricky bunch. Just doN,t tell anyone 😆

    @Lizz – Thank you! I took the picture in Paris this year.

    @Khengsiong – I think it’s a bit of a cliché. Most French know at least two foreign languages from school — it’s compulsory. Now, they are probably not fluent but chances are, they can express themselves.

    @Caroline – Thank you!

    @Adem – Learning language is fun and quick if you need it. I know quite a few people who thought they would never learn, and then suddenly they take a holiday or go travel and they learn fast!

    @Scarlet – Si, hablo espanol tambien. 😉

    @Baoru – Not really… I mean, there are cool cafés in Canada too! Paris is a great place to visit, not so great to live in my opinion.

    @Tulsa Gentleman – Ah, Feng… My travel partner, my… how do you say in English? Oh, husband! 😆 He is the only person I know who likes traveling even more than me. I *had* to keep him! He is Canadian and one of the reason I settled there.

  11. @Bluefish – Mais non! I can’t get used to Montreal, sorry. Now, Toronto is better, I admit it 😉

    @Agnes – Thank you!

  12. OMG! These are fabulous!!! I can’t believe I haven’t seen them yet already! I am sooo sorry for taking so long to get here. I am not having much time to blog at the moment as my life is being totally taken up with work 🙁 The good news is that I am going to New York for a few days from the 24th May. Yippeeeee!!!

    Anyway, back to your beautiful photographs. If ever I come to your part of the world, I am definitely going to give you a call to meet up. Everything I read about you and see in your photos really represents a wonderful and interesting lady. You have such a colourful life and the most adorable smile, and you take the most amazing photographs. Zhu you have always been a true inspiration. I am so glad that our paths have crossed.

    These photographs are no exception. My favourite is the #4 in the cafe. You two are the perfect couple and look so very happy together. I love sitting in a cafe drinking coffee or wine and watching the world go past outside whilst reading a newspaper.

    As always, this is a truly wonderful interpretation of the theme 🙂

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