What’s something not many people know about you?
I have the worst sense of direction in the world. I can get lost anywhere, no matter how familiar the place. It happens even indoors—malls are my worst nightmares. I even struggle with Google Maps, which I swear is always wrong!
What do you miss most about France when you’re away?
Long lunch breaks! I love that French culture is organised around those kind of social moments. I read somewhere that people in France dedicate a larger portion of the day to eating and drinking than people elsewhere, and yet have a very low obesity rate, which actually makes sense to me. All those takeaway lunches are bad for your health, and also the planet. Just making the effort to walk somewhere for lunch is already doing your body a favour!
What are some things you can’t live without?
I was travelling in India with my husband, and in between nights spent sleeping on trains and in spartan guesthouses, we splurged for one night on a hotel in Rajasthan, where we discovered featherbeds, which are mattress toppers filled with feathers. That night, we slept as if we were on clouds, and in the morning we discovered that it came from a Singaporean brand, of all things. That was the first thing we put on our wedding gift list. After all, we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, so it’s a good investment!
What’s something you think the world needs more of?
Basic cultural training. I’m lucky to spend a lot of time trying to understand the cultures around the region and what they value and reject, and the sources of those choices, and I have to say that it is often very counter-intuitive, which is what makes it so interesting! We do live in our cultural bubbles, so I actually think intercultural training is something we should put in school curricula around the globe.
A skill you’d like to have:
To learn more languages! I’m always impressed how people in Singapore speak so many languages: English, Mandarin, dialects, and maybe some basic Malay. I’ve been considering learning Malay on the Duolingo app, I should really get started!