One of my passions is public speaking. As an introvert, I used to feel very uncomfortable speaking in impromptu situations like networking events and job interviews. Then I discovered an organisation called Toastmasters. This communication and leadership organisation helped me overcome my fears and made me realise I actually enjoy giving presentations! I then went on to win speech contests both in English and in French. Now I share my experience with others through coaching, mentoring and teaching. I particularly like helping non-native English speakers to succeed with their presentations in English. For some presentation tips and tricks, visit my blog.
When I am not working I love to travel. Being based in Belgium makes it easy to visit lots of places in Europe – even just for the day. I started out as a backpacker and now am learning how to travel with kids. I believe that travel is a life long education that teaches you so much not only about the world, but also about yourself. My travel wish list currently includes Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Antarctica and Madagascar. I blog about my travels here:
I have worked and volunteered as an English as a Second Language teacher many countries from Canada to Russia to Spain. I am passionate about helping learners improve their English. Over the years, I have had a lot of fun teaching people of all levels – from complete beginners to advanced students. I particularly enjoyed teaching in Russia and working with some fantastic teenage students! I am not actively teaching at the moment, but it’s still something I take an interest in and may do again in the future. You can visit my blog which is aimed at ESL students who want to improve their speaking skills.
Ever since I was I teenager, I have always loved jazz music. I like most genres of music – rock, classical, folk – but jazz is something special. I find that there are so many styles of jazz that you can can find music to fit any mood. Some of my favourite artists include: Sarah Vaughn, Clifford Brown, Sophie Milman and Miles Davis. Brussels has a decent jazz scene with several clubs, Jazz Station and of course the Brussels Jazz Marathon, which takes place every year in May.
When I have time, I love to cook. I am probably best at baking, but also enjoy making fresh pasta (from scratch!) and trying new cuisines. My favourite site for recipes is Giallo Zafferano (in Italian). I recently became a proud owner of an Instant Pot and am discovering lots of new pressure cooker recipes to try. I am often assisted by my sous-chef daughter, to whom I hope to pass on my love of cooking. She already has my love of eating good food…
Even though I grew up in Canada, I have always been interested in Europe. At university I studied international relations and majored in European Union studies. I have been living and working in Europe since 2009. I passionately believe that countries are better off as part of the European Union and that the European Union has brought prosperity and peace to its members. I currently work in the European Parliament in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, but all views on this site are my own.