Laure de VAUGELAS – Blogger, Graduate Architect – NEWCASTLE, Australia

Dear readers, I hope you can forgive me for not posting a new profile today. The last week has been a blur of drowsiness and jet-lag as I left Europe and arrived back in Australia after a year of travels. As my private life interferes with my work on Aloud., I thought that this might be a good time to introduce myself. Most of you know me quite well but I have had the awesome surprise of noticing that a few readers came here for other reasons than shared genes or friendship. Another reason for posting about myself today is that 7 years ago exactly, I arrived in Sydney where I have lived ever since. As I celebrate this anniversary, I feel, as I was then, that I am at the beginning of a new road. Aloud. is the first step in a new direction.

Nice, France

I grew up in Nice, France. This city, that I have rediscovered recently, allowed me to have an easy and free adolescence. The climate was idyllic, I went to the beach after school and all through summers, my friends all lived in the same area and we never had to catch a bus, walking everywhere. Nice was fine but for some reason, I come to realize that I never really envisioned to stay there. For as long as I can remember, I was dreaming of other places.

Living abroad

My father is French and my mother American. The notion of travel and especially expatriation was not only present but essentially, the reason for my being. My mother left the USA when she was 21 and didn’t look back until much later. As a young couple, my parents lived abroad. In Morocco before my birth and Jordan shortly after. I spent my first 3 years playing on the beaches of the Red Sea. We used to visit my grandmother in New York and once we were back in Nice, I would close my eyes in bed imagining I was there. I fantasized about having a duplex in Manhattan. It was only a short leap from Nice to other continents.

Australia

Through a series of circumstances, I ended up studying in Australia and have been living here since February 2004. I left Nice on Friday the 13th and landed in Sydney on Valentine’s day. I like to think these dates were charged with symbols, and if not, at least they are memorable. Nevertheless, once I got my degree, now 3 years ago, it did not really cross my mind to leave. I have built a life here which I am very grateful for. From Nice, I have the climate and the water. From Australia, I have the laid-back-can-do way of life and Thai food. Sometimes, I think I am uprooted like a tree struggling against the wind but maybe I am more like an ocean, flowing between continents and hemispheres. No borders, no limits, everywhere at once.

Architecture

After I graduated, I worked as a graduate architect for 2 years in a small office in Surry Hills, the Architecture beehive of Sydney. Those couple of years were great. We had a busy work life balanced by a busy social life. We earned money and enjoyed it. Nevertheless, there was a voice in my head that was urging me to have a break, take some distance and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Honeymoon

Just over a year ago, I got married on a beautiful summer day in the Sydney Botanical Gardens. Rather than having a traditional honeymoon, we had made the decision to take some time off and go traveling. We went across Asia to Europe by bus, train, boat and bike. It took 8 months before we arrived in Nice with the plan of staying until Christmas. After so much time on the road, our heads were full of ideas, projects and a sense of new beginning. We settled in for a few months and got to work on some personal projects.

Aloud.

This blog was born during that time. As I told someone recently, Aloud. is the sort of thing that happens when you have too much time on your hands. These couple of months spent working on this project were a small revelation. As we were leaving Nice, a couple of weeks ago, I told my husband that I felt as though I had just brushed, with the tip of my finger, the life I want to have. It suddenly felt precious and fragile. So easily lost.

Back to Australia

As I struggle with jet-lag and prepare to settle back into my Australian life, I think about this quote I used recently “You can never step into the same river twice, for the river has changed and you have changed.” It is hard to tell how much the river has changed but I know I have. I feel like the last 10 years, from the first time I left home, have brought me to this moment where anything is possible and depends on me. Life isn’t something that merely happens, it must be built and I am my own architect.

The road ahead

As I contemplate the future, it seems a bit premature to say too much about my ideas. My aim is to keep promoting talent and creativity which seems to be so abundant all around me. The form it will take is something I have been thinking about almost constantly and I am not scared anymore. Of course, things may not work out the way I would like but I am ready to go on that journey anyway. Hopefully, I won’t be traveling alone.

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8 comments

  1. Very excited for you in this stage of your life. You’ve had a full life till know, and I look forward to what you make of the next 10 years.

    Welcome back!
    H

  2. Heleana, now that I have caught up on sleep, I can honestly say that it is good to be back so thank you! What’s exciting about my next 10 years is that I’m hoping to be following the next 10 years of inspiring people like you so as long as you keep doing what you do, I can work out a way of doing what I do.

  3. Jane

    Take it from someone currently twice your age who never did find quite the “right fit” professionally; you are wise to give yourself time to think carefully rather than blindly following a set path or even worse, not daring to follow another.

    Remember “Les vents me sont moins qu’à vous redoutables. Je plie, et ne romps pas,” from Lafontaine’s “Le Chêne et le Roseau.” Your strength lies in your ability to be flexible. As you travel through life you adapt to a host of settings and people, each contributing to the gradual ripening of your plans.
    Since you feel something precious in the making, you must allow this process to follow its course and feed it with curiosity, generosity, energy and … resilience.

    You see Aloud as a means to promote the creativity of women you know and admire. With time, I hope you will see that it is also a prime showcase for YOUR creativity, equally deserving of praise and respect.

    “If you love what you do, you’re a success.”

  4. john van Lint

    Following on from the line above,”If you love what you do, you are a success”.
    Follow your dream and make the most of the opportunities that present themselves or that you yourself create, work at them, for ideas need to be nurtured for them to grow,and then passion for your work will grow and be your reward.

  5. Jean de Vaugelas

    CLAIRE dit : J’aimerais que quelqu’un décide d’être mon agent. Je suppose que quelqu’un qui en aurait réellement envie pourrait réunir une dizaine de personnes dans mon genre et en inventant des manières un peu novatrices de promotion, ça pourrait marcher. J’aimerai aussi énormément travailler dans des projets architecturaux, à travers des fresques, des opus incertum ou des sculptures. Je l’ai déjà fait et J’aimerai beaucoup le refaire.”

    Tu vois, Laurette, ta voie est peut-être là, et ton blog l’un de ces nouveaux outils de promotion pour tous ces artistes que tu interviews. Et tu pourrais même leur apporter TON domaine artistique, l’architecture !

    Bises,

    Papa

  6. Jane

    Je dirais “TES domaines artistiques” car en plus de l’architecture, je pense à l’écriture, la photographie, la couture, la cuisine et la céramique où tes talents ne doivent pas être sous-estimés. A bas ta modestie !

  7. caz

    My favourite post to date.

    Jane is right, it’s your creativity, loyalty, the way you twist conventional thinking, that brings me to tears when I think how lucky I am to have you as my sister from another fro.

    Honestly, it’s the way you are that makes my life better, always challenging what I’m thinking and giving me support and inspiration at every step.

    As I set out on my way to success, by listening to what makes my heart sing, I can’t wait to be one of the women who inspires you back!

    The city that sparkles needs you back.

    xx

  8. Thank you for all these lovely and encouraging comments, they certainly help me to hold on to the little sprouts of self-confidence growing for this shift of direction in my life. Do not worry though about feeling like I am leaving myself out of the light. There is a time for everything and the pleasure I am getting out of Aloud. has actually lit a fire, giving me this warm glowing feeling inside and out. As I prepare to step back into the shadow, I take your touching words with me.

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