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Adopt, foster & volunteer with Galia

Association Galia was formed in August 2008 in response to the ever-growing numbers of dogs, cats and kittens being found as strays or abandoned for various reasons. Galia is a small, independent French refuge, a charity, that rehomes around 300 dogs every year. Dogs that may not have otherwise survived. With a “no kill” policy, even the sickest dogs are cared for (often with one of our volunteer foster families) and given every chance to recover. All dogs are microchipped, sterilised, flea treated, wormed, and have the necessary jabs ready to be rehomed. Galia takes in dogs from local pounds (where law states that they must be euthanised if not claimed/ rehomed within 8 day) as well as street dogs in kill centres in Romania, Serbia. Dogs arrive with us for so many different reasons – owners divorcing, moving home, owners going into retirement home or hospital long term, a …

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Out of the pan into the pan-demic

The sun shines through my window overlooking views of the picturesque medieval town of Fontenay-le-Comte. The warm weather of the summer recently passed and is replaced by a crisp autumn sky. I’ve been here one month now and, on my way to fully integrating myself in the ‘vie français’. Let me introduce myself; my name is Liam, I am 28 years old and, like many of us, have taken the somewhat brave decision to leave my native land, family and friends, job security, house, and pub, in favour of new life in the Vendée. After completing my degree and PGCE in music I joined the teaching profession and taught in secondary schools in Buckinghamshire. I ran choirs, rang bells, joined a band, whilst keeping the thought of moving to France in the back of mind for a later date. Fast forward to the 23rd June 2016: 52% of the country …

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Choosing a Kiss. A memoir of racism in the life of a naïve immigrant

Since the murder of George Floyd, I have been painfully aware that blacking out my profile against racism is easy. Finding words to help in the fight, not so much. But give me a minute, I have a life-story to tell. I remember well the first Algerian family that moved into my grandmother’s neighborhood in the city. I must have been around 10 or 11 and could not understand why everybody called them “Turks”. They were not from Turkey. They were Algerian. The blanket term to cover all Middle Eastern and African families that moved in after the EU opened its borders was my earliest confrontation with racism. Born in ’69, I grew up quite sheltered in the Flanders countryside. I was a shy kid, but also curious. While the people … ‘some people’ … around me grumbled and spat about the influx of migrants in our little country, I …

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Expatriate in lock-down France

In recent years, the thought has crossed my mind many times that if anything could keep me from my mother in Belgium, it might be World War III. Never had I considered a virus-related near-global quarantine. But the very first day of lock down in France my worst nightmare as an expat and as an only child, delivered a punch in the face: my mother, who lives independently, took a nasty tumble down the stairs in the middle of the night. It was the third time she would be in hospital this year, and the eighth time since my husband and I moved to Europe from the US after announcing she didn’t want to fly anymore, anywhere, let alone across the ocean. But when I think back in my expat life of twenty-eight years, it is only the third time that I have experienced a roller-coaster of stress as extreme …

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Ode to the miracle of my parents

Cour du Miracle. Translated to English, it means ‘Miracle Court’. The legend has been told since the early 18th Century, a part of Vouvant’s history, if you will. Today, however, I am sharing my very own, personal story of the ‘Miracle Court’, and the café that occupies it: Café Cour du Miracle. I am the eldest child of its new owners, Sue and Dean Richards, and the 20th of October, 2019 marked eight months since Mum and Dad left Perth, Western Australia to start a new chapter in Vouvant, so I feel it is only fitting to reflect on their decision to migrate to France. Our family have called Perth home for the past 26 years, though whether Perth or another city, being lucky enough to have a family as close as ours, home could have been anywhere in the world. We immigrated from England to Australia in 1993 as …

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Journées Régionales de la Visite d’Entreprise – Open Door Days Vendée

For the fourth time since its inception, the public is offered a chance to go behind the scenes of small, medium and large companies spread throughout Pays de la Loire’s departments, including our own beloved Vendée. From October 24th through 26th, sectors such as industry, craft industry, agribusinesses, building, environment, oenology, fashion, transport, services and more open their doors to the public. The open doors are a unique opportunity to allow young and old, families and schoolchildren, job seekers or the  curious, to discover company histories, to get an idea of the techniques used to manufacture products we may or may not be familiar with,  to understand the organization or the production from A – Z. The public is invited to a screening of a film about the history of the company, a presentation of the group’s activities and a visit of all its workshops. The world industry leader of agricultural machines …