108 - Why (did I stay in) Reunion? - Slow

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In aprevious podcast I answered thequestion that so many people ask us nativeEnglish speakers: ‘Why did you cometo Reunion?’ For this week’s episode I’m going to answer a question whichfor me is much more important: ‘Why didyou stay?’

Answeringthis is quite emotional, for I realizethat, after sixteen years on the island, the reasons for staying have shaped my entire life. I would saythere are two groups, the first being a list of quite specific points in noparticular order:

The food,the beaches, snorkelling at Boucan,the outdoor lifestyle, theimpossible blue of a cloudless Reunionese sky and the fact one can spend 10months of the year wearing just a pair of shorts. Not at work, of course. Whatelse? The amazing people who have become my friends and the hardworking colleagues and clients withwhom I’ve had the pleasure to work, and the warm and open population.

The secondgroup of reasons is more general – here’s my top three in ascending order:

Number 3)People born in Reunion grow up with this stunningsurrounding scenery, but I often feel it’s important to point out just howphenomenal, outstanding and singularthe geographical relief of the island really is. Looking out across Mafate fromLe Maido, the volcano from Oratoire St Therese or Cilaos from Le Piton desNeiges are privileged moments which make me feel at one with nature and truly alive. These are feelings that I haverarely had in England or Mainland France.

Number 2)Much like the landscape, some failto realize just how unique it is that a place in the world exists where peopleof all races and religions live together, not onlypeacefully but also with mutual respect. This makes Reunion afantastic place for children to grow up,and the fact that my children, two little ‘Portoises’,have had this opportunity will help to make them tolerant and accepting human beings.

And number1) I guess that big cities where I have lived such as London, Paris andValparaiso (in Chile) seem so impressiveand awesome at first, but thisdoesn’t mean that choosing to live in Reunion is an easy alternative. As theysay, size is not important – big cities soon lose their attraction and the awe turns to boredom. People have asked me if I feel claustrophobic on a smallisland. In reply, I ask ‘how far away isyourhorizon? Can you see past the next building?’ I’ve been either hiking or mountain-running at least oncea month for all these years, and there are still loads of footpathsleft for me to discover…

Which Iguess brings me to my conclusion: living on Reunion is a constant adventure,and isn’t that exactly what we all wishfrom life?

Vocabulary

to answer - répondre
native English speakers - Anglophones
to realize - se rendre compte
to shape - façonner
snorkelling - palmes-masque-tuba 

outdoor - extérieur
hardworking - bosseur
ascending - croissant
stunning - époustouflant
outstanding - remarquable             

at one - en symbiose
landscape - paysage
peacefully - paisiblement
to grow up - grandir
human beings - êtres humains 

impressive - impressionnant
awesome - formidable
awe - admiration
boredom - ennui
hikling - randonner 

footpaths - sentiers
to wish - souhaiter

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