Varanasi 2012, photo by Marine Bardin

My name is Violette but everyone calls me Vio. I am French, I was born and grew up in France, but I haven’t lived there for over twenty years (more than half my life).

Background & evolution

Since I’ve ‘left’ France I have lived one year in Montreal (Canada), five months in Traunstein (Germany), two years in Leeds (England, UK), seven years in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK), and since the end of 2007 I have been living in India, of which about seven in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and four in Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh). I can’t really explain why, but I have never felt very comfortable in my home country. When I was at high school I took part in some exchange programs with the UK and Germany, and even at the age of fifteen I felt better whenever I was abroad speaking a foreign language. I have always loved learning languages, because it literally opens doors and allows you to communicate with a wider range of people. I am a human-lover, a citizen of the Earth above all, and I am never tired of learning.

Leeds (UK) 1999
Leeds (UK) 1999

Whenever people ask me what I do in my life or what my job is I never know what to answer. I am a student, a teacher, a musician, a manager, a project coordinator, a (modest) web designer, a blog writer, a translator, a mother…

My ‘background’, I guess, is Business Management because that’s the first degree I completed. I am really not a business type of person, but by the end of high school I wanted to study languages and my conventional family told me languages were not useful to get a good job and I could do ‘better’ than that. I didn’t know what else to do so I applied for the same business schools as my twin sister did. After I completed my degree I never worked in business, because just looking through business-related job offers in the newspaper was making me feel nauseous. I just didn’t want to feed into the capitalistic world of consumerism which tries to convince people they need stuff, and I have always felt very uncomfortable about applying for jobs using CV and covering letters, going for interviews and having to look and behave formal. I really don’t like to ‘sell myself’ or try and convince people that I’m great – I prefer them to see for themselves. And I also feel very uncomfortable with competition.

So after I finished my Business Management degree at IESEG in France in 1999, I started doing some temporary work in administration. I had spent the last year of my French degree as an exchange student doing an MA in Human Resources Management at Leeds University, and I didn’t want to work in France because the employment market made me feel even more uncomfortable there than in the UK. After a year in Leeds I moved to Edinburgh and started working as a faculty assistant at Napier University. I worked there for four years and it was my longest ever ‘proper’ job. It was easy and comfortable for a while, but of course I wasn’t going to be a secretary all my life and I wanted to study again – something I would like that would lead me onto a good job. I liked the idea of being a researcher at university, so I browsed the University of Edinburgh‘s website for some interesting subjects, and in 2003 I enrolled on a part-time MSc in Developmental Linguistics. Napier University accepted to employ me part-time the first year of my Msc, but they wanted me to go back full-time the following year so I left the job. I had discovered yogic philosophy and Buddhism in the meantime which had made me want to follow Dharma and help for others, so I looked for and found a part-time job as a care worker in a nursing home. Looking after elderly and dying people was very hard at first, but it was definitely more rewarding and enlightening to me than working in an office! I absolutely enjoyed myself and devoured every class at university, but when the time came to find a dissertation subject my mind just went blank. I had realised that I didn’t want to research all my life about a highly-specialised topic none of my friends would understand, and I certainly didn’t want to narrow my field of research to please an institution. My topic of research was Life, myself, I. I dropped out of the MSc but still got a Postgraduate Diploma so it was okay.

Edinburgh (UK) 2006
Edinburgh (UK) 2006

Can you guess what I did instead of writing a dissertation about Developmental Linguistics? Yep, you got it right: I flew to India for the first time! When I got back to Scotland afterwards I worked for about two years as a support worker with children and adults with learning difficulties – mostly autism and Down’s syndrome. And in 2007 I flew back to India for good.

A few bullet points

  • Although I am French, I feel more comfortable writing in English.
  • I have never had a job in France.
  • I learnt piano in France from age 6 to 14.
  • I was a Goth from about 1995 to 2005. My music tastes have evolved a lot since studying Indian classical music, and I can’t stand listening to many bands I used to love!
  • Sopor Aeternus was my absolute favourite band for quite a long time, and while googling them (her, really) to link their website to this ‘About’ page, I discovered Anna-Varney and I actually share the same birthday!!!
  • I don’t drink because I neither like the taste nor the effect of alcohol.
  • I am scared of driving anything with a motor.
  • I started learning violin in Scotland at the age of 27.
  • I am very perfectionist, and I tend to take things literally.
  • I don’t like small talk, I can be very geeky (doesn’t geeky just mean passionate?), and I don’t feel very comfortable looking at people in the eyes when I speak to them. I prefer to look at their mouth and I’ve read it’s a strategy used by people with autism or Asperger Syndrome.
  • I come from a very conventional Westerner family of engineers and doctors, and although my path is rather unusual, it has been quite a struggle for me to allow myself to follow my heart. I often feel easily influenced, and I often hear my mind tell me I should have a more ‘normal’ life, but it just doesn’t seem to work somehow! 🙂
  • I am very tidy.
  • I cry very easily and I love it.
  • Yoga and meditation have made me experience and hence believe in God – God to me is synonymous with Nature, Life, Essence, Source, Energy, Love… Even though I find it difficult to express it in words, I also feel reincarnation is natural.

Favourite quotes

These quotations are the ones that have moved and comforted me the most, and they are always with me.

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of humans as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Helen Keller


“Life is timeless and indestructible. Death is not the opposite of life, it’s only the opposite of birth.”
~Eckhart Tolle


“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of having selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend your years on building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.

You see, the final analysis is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.”

~Om Vashishth*
* I have also read that this was a quote by Mother Teresa – I am not sure and it doesn’t really matter.


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