Ever since the Tour de blogosphere series started earlier this year, Apartment613 has looked at hundreds and hundreds of local blogs. During this time, we have had the privilege of speaking with numerous bloggers from the National Capital Region, some of which have amazing stories.
One of the most interesting people that we have met is Juliette Giannesini, founder of the eclectic site Correr Es Mi Destino, named after a line in the Manu Chao song Clandestino. This excellent blog covers, among other things, how to immigrate to Canada, photography, travel posts, her infant son Mark, and food-related articles.
“It is a mix of culture, photography and travel,” says Giannesini when asked to describe her blogging.
A native of Nantes, France, she travelled to China when she was only 16. This experience led her to develop a serious case of wanderlust, which she fulfilled by journeying to such places as southeast Asia, most of Latin America, Europe and North America.
After criss-crossing the globe, she ended up moving to Canada in 2004. Since arriving in the Great White North nine years ago, she has always called Ottawa home, a town that she has fully embraced.
“I don’t understand why people make fun of (Ottawa),” she says with a laugh. “When you experience it it has everything.”
Given her own immigrant background, as well as becoming a Canadian citizen in 2009, she spends a lot of time helping other potential newcomers to Canada.
“When I started my immigration process … there was not a lot of information available,” says Giannesini, who speaks French, English and Mandarin. “(Immigrating) is like getting married or having a kid. It’s a milestone that you never forget.”
Over the years, she has met many people who want to come to Canada. Recently, she has noticed a trend: an increasing number of people wanting to move to Ottawa.
“I can see it with my own eyes,” she says. “If you go to French speaking (immigration) blogs, they would go to Montreal, with (some) to Quebec City. If you would go to English-speaking forums, the discussion would be about Toronto and Vancouver. But more and more people are asking about Ottawa.”
When asked why she thought the nation’s capital was becoming an increasingly attractive destination for immigrants, she offered several reasons. First, Ottawa is cheaper than cities like Toronto. Second, being a capital city, many newcomers pass by here, which allows them to observe first-hand the quality of life. Finally, the city is a wonderful place for families.
Despite her focus on immigration, her blog was initially a tool for her to learn English. While her first few posts were in French, she quickly switched to the language of Shakespeare, so she could become fluent in the tongue of the Anglo-Saxons.
Her initial forays with writing in English were quite difficult.
“It was so painful because I never took English formally,” recalls Giannesini. “I couldn’t understand any slang whatsoever. For instance, I would get offended when people said, ‘Hey guys, how are you doing?’ I would respond by saying, ‘I’m not a guy, I’m a woman.'”
Her linguistic growing pains, however, were soon a thing of the past, as she went on to work as an English-French translator, and bilingual copywriter, editor and proofreader.
Overall, this is a very impressive blog. It has the feel of a magazine whose audience is made up of people with wanderlust, a love for new experiences, and appreciation of photography. It also contains interesting anecdotes about daily life in Canada, as well as a lot of information for potential immigrants.