It is normal for people to ask each other "How are you? And almost always the answer is 'good!' But what if it's not true?...To be honest, I haven't been doing too well for a while now. To start with last summer. In the summer of 2021 we found out that my mother had breast cancer and for a long time we didn't know if and how it was treatable... A period of uncertainty followed and despite our urge to stay positive, it wasn't always easy... Especially when my mother heard that she had to undergo a full body scan, because they were afraid that my mother had metastases. We had to wait more than a week for the results and that was a very intense period... Not knowing what would happen... The fear you feel is debilitating... In the end the verdict was surgery, radiation and hormone therapy. Very strange but it felt to us like a very positive result and we were very happy...

Her entire treatment took place in the cancer clinic in Nice. We, and especially my mother, have spent many hours there recently...

During Tiny's treatment, my father also collapsed...His blood values were so high that I had to take my father to the emergency room, because they thought he was having a heart attack. After a long night in the emergency room, Wim spent a week in intensive care to get his values stable again... After all the checks and intense monitoring, we were able to take my father home from the hospital in good health.

Fortunately, Tiny has just finished the radiotherapy treatments, Wim has been declared completely fit, and my parents flew straight to the Netherlands to spend a month enjoying my brother, my little nephew Nolan and the rest of the family.

In the meantime, I've been in the mountains in France for almost two months... This is also an ordeal....Every morning I get up at 5 o'clock to prepare breakfast for the guests of a hotel in Les Menuires and, in the afternoon, to support the waiters with lunch for holidaymakers who arrive. Nice work to do! If it weren't for the fact that the French mentality is very different from the Dutch mentality when it comes to organisational structures, manners towards 'lesser' people and communication...

Just to clarify... By French standards, I seem to fall into the category of 'lesser'.... So you can kick against that or something...Why am I 'lesser'? Point 1; I have too little experience in the service, point 2; I'm 'only' the petit dejeuner lady, point 3; I'm a foreigner who doesn't speak French well enough... I don't know, but these are thoughts that then go through my head... Will it be because of that?

Fortunately, my managers are very kind and protective and also many colleagues make my day? But then you have the people in the "middle layer" and they apparently have less with the phenomenon of "respect for each other"...Well that's where I suffer.

Especially at the beginning of my adventure here in the mountains, I thought I wouldn't be able to keep it up. But with a lot of support from my family, friends and various colleagues, with trying to stay positive and with full dedication, I think I will make it through March/April.

I must also say that there are many other things that keep me busy. Like what? Well... how do I go about really settling down here in France, how do I make my business grow, how do I connect with the French, etc.? Because one thing is certain ... the social and working life in France is very different from that in the Netherlands.

Apart from all the ups and downs, I must of course also continue to invest in Vivez le Sud! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that lately ... But after writing this blog, I am confident that I will pick things up again soon!

But if you ask... How are you doing? The answer is... It could be better, but it will be fine!

See you soon dear people.

Bisous Ilse