Who Am I?

Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, 2018

Hi there!

Shall we greet with the traditional French cheek kiss or would you rather attempt one of those awkward North American hugs?

Think about it while I introduce myself properly.

I’m Juliette, aka “Zhu”—this is not random onomatopoeia but my Chinese name, 珠.

I was born in Nantes, France, in 1983—go ahead, do the math, I age more quickly than I update this page. At 16, I travelled solo to China to attend summer classes at university in Beijing and I caught a bad case of wanderlust. I left France a few days after graduating high school and arranging to complete my Chinese studies university degree while abroad. I worked in Hong Kong, then I joined Feng, my Chinese-Canadian then-travel partner now-husband for several backpacking adventures through Latin America and the South Pacific.

We eventually picked Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, as our home base. I was granted permanent resident status in 2005 and I became a Canadian citizen on July 3, 2009. I have dual citizenship, French and Canadian. You can read my full immigration story here.

I worked as a French as a second language teacher from 2005 to 2009, then embarked on a translation career. After several positions in the public sector, I decided to go freelance to embrace different roles—English-to-French and French-to-English translator, as well bilingual copywriter, editor and proofreader.

Our son, Mark Floyd, was born in 2012—not quite fluent in Mandarin and French yet, but he does love some cheese on his Chinese noodles, so that’s a start.

Overall, I consider myself lucky. I absolutely love my job and I know what makes me happy in life.

The only tiny problem is, I can’t just pick one road, one storyline… so I divide life into several chapters.

In Canada, I’m productive. On the road, I’m creative.

When I’m in Canada, I work long hours and translate as many words as needed. In my spare time, I write stories I try to get published—no luck so far, life isn’t that perfect. I’m not quite the perfect North American mother either and even though I’ve been living in Canada for half of my life, I still find cultural differences amusing and occasionally puzzling.

But everything of value I own fits in a backpack, which is just as well because there’s always a point when I just pack up and go travelling. This is not a holiday but a way of life—whether it’s the three of us or just me alone, there are no plans and no hotels booked, only the thrill of jumping into the unknown and wake up in a new city every few days. On the road, I’m still working, but I’m also focusing on photography projects and writing.

I can’t settle down, I can’t travel all the time, so I try to balance both lives—coffee and to-do lists help, and so does a sense of humour.

Obviously, it’s a bit more complicated than I make it sound but that’s the gist of it.

Yeah, well, I am not the easiest person to live with. I know.

Correr es mi destino… isn’t it?

Zhu (珠)

P.S.: You can also find me on LinkedIn, see my photo sets on Flickr or follow me on Twitter.