Hello everyone! There is this definite feel of holidays all around; that’s great because it translates into being able to travel and meet up with family and friends again !!! For us it means returning to our house in the Dordogne where we haven’t been since the end of last summer. This summer family and friends will be coming to visit, in different shapes and formations, to play tennis, cards or petanque, to read, swim, go for walks or bike tours, to cook and share delicious meals and moments under the wonderful Dordogne sun (or shade, depending). Just like every summer since almost 25 years when, together with a bunch of friends, we bought « Les Cèdres » ! This will do a great deal of good to all of us although everyone hasn’t been through the same kind of ordeal, naturally. As far as we are concerned, we have no reason whatsoever to complain: We own a lovely appartement in Brussels with a terrace and a semi-public parc in front, the supermarket is just around the corner. But now we are so pleased that we are again allowed to play tennis, return to our choir(s) and invite friends ! Speaking of music, we now have a new date for the Mozart Requiem we had to cancel last year; we will be performing it on October 23 in Bruxelles, once at 4pm and again at 7pm. We’d be delighted to see you there; please let me know if you are interested and wish to obtain more information.
This being said, we never stopped working during the confinement period(s). Barbara has worked mainly for the European Parliament, even more than before, due to the new working conditions; remote simultaneous interpretation via internet platforms where delegates, staff, interpreters and technicians are spread all over Europe is very tiring, therefore working hours are reduced and more interpreters needed. Cumbersome and tiring as they are, at least these new methods allow the political and institutional life to continue. As to me, you are doubtless aware of my means of work and communication: Zoom, Skype, Meet, Teams etc ….they are better than nothing, and one gets used to it. My hope is that in September we’ll be able to meet again in person without having to fear catching this nasty piece of virus, let’s cross our fingers and touch wood.
Let me fill you in on the latest developments. The European Money Markets Institute (new website ! www.emmi-benchmarks.eu ) decided to extend my mandate as independent Board member for 4 years; my participation in the Audit and Risk Committee was prolonged for 2 years and I am still a member of the Nomination Committee. I am happy to continue being part of this great team and to try and be a useful member thereof. I have also joined the Board of SIREAS Service International de Recherche, d’Education et d’Aide Sociale (www.sireas.be ), where I’ve been active for several years as an adviser to the Board. The health situation has obviously affected vulnerable persons more than others, and the SIREAS staff went to great lengths to continue their work in the best possible way. I hope to be able to make useful contributions to the enterprise. Micro Start has also suffered from the situation, both customers and staff, naturally. The social economy in remote mode is really not easy and there is a lack of empathy. But again, the teams got mobilised to help and support clients who found it hard to cope (https://microstart.be/fr ). The other organisations where I work as administrator carried on their activities as best they could. Turning to Emergency in Belgium, the number of volunteers has increased, mainly thanks to the commitment of Giulia, our person in charge of volunteers (www.emergencybe.org); we are now getting organised to raise the profile of Emergency by explaining, i.a. to students in schools, what Emergency is all about and what we are doing in the world. Alumni Europae is also growing, including the number of former European graduates who are committing to promote our activities (www.alumnieuropae.org ) by setting up webinars both for end of school leavers who have to choose a course of study and for students finishing uni and wondering about their professional choices. The idea is for the members of Alumni to share their experience with them. In June 2020 we were 5.300 members on the website in addition to Facebook !! The only collateral victim of this period is APO.G (a non for profit organisation) which will be disbanded; attending virtual conferences is really quite a pain, and not many experts have come forward. Also, we are all spending a lot of time in front of our screens for work already….in addition, the group wasn’t really able to agree on what the priorities of APO.G should be.
Finally a short comment on my experience as assistant interpretation teacher. Barbara who is a professional conference interpreter and myself have been teaching interpretation from German into French at the UCL Louvain for two years now. In 2019/2020 our student was excellent and succeeded brilliantly; this year was more difficult, and our student has to start all her exams over in September. We wish her good luck! We have agreed to continue during the next academic year, hopefully with more students; but the demands are extremely high, only the very best reach this level. I am mentioning this because I wanted to become an interpreter myself when I was young (at 7 years old I was trilingual, speaking French at home, Italian with my friends on the street and German at school) ; but my father who spoke 8 languages including Russian, Chinese and Japanese discouraged me by saying that soon the whole world would speak English and so interpreters would no longer be needed. Turtles always return to their place of birth 😊 😊 😊 😊.
Finally I would like to thank my friend Michael Stenger and his team for having accepted to redesign my new website (www.brissaud.info ) which is a place for memories rather than a commercial space. There you will find all newsletters which I have written since embarking on my third life, some of my drawings and aquarelles and links to the organisations I am committed to. My strictly professional side remains on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/olivier-brissaud-3a9923/)
Voilà here we are in our paradise! One of our members has decided to buy a house of his own, so if you are interested, come and see us and find out whether you might be interested in buying a part of this heavenly place!
Just let us know if and when you would like to drop by; provided we are not too numerous, it will be our pleasure to welcome you and show you what the good life and bliss in the Dordogne look like :)!!!
Olivier July 2021