Settling Down in Reunion

Louis Armstrong once said “When you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you”, clearly Mr. Armstrong had never been on a Parisian metro before. Unlike Paris, in Reunion if you smile at a passerby they almost always smile back, in Paris they quickly look the opposite direction. After eight long months living in Paris and with winter right around the corner I got that itchy feeling that I had become used to after 6 years of travelling from place to place.

What exactly was I looking for? Well, for starters I was enjoying the life of a traveller; living out of a backpack, seeing the world, as soon as I got bored packing everything up and choosing another country or even another continent to live for a few months. The longest I had stayed in one place was the year and a half that I spent in Japan… Until I got to Reunion Island.

I have been here for a little over three years now, which is a record for me! I have a garden, two cats and even a little baby boy, I am in every sense of the word, settling down. So, why did I decide to stay in Reunion? First of all, as I mentioned before I was struck immediately by the different energy between here and Paris, I really liked the laid back attitude, the willingness to help, and the overall friendliness of the Reunionnaise people. It kind of reminds me of Canada.

But on the other hand, it is nothing like Canada, the second biggest country in the world. I am from Toronto, which is the biggest city in Canada with three times more inhabitants than all of Reunion Island. Reunion is tiny! After three years of living here, I run into someone I know whenever I go to the beach, supermarket, even the bakery! I love this about Reunion, it is one of my favourite things about living here. I feel like I belong to a little community, but it’s still big enough not to get boring! 

Of course, I can’t forget to talk about how I fell in love with the weather. I don’t miss waking up an hour earlier to thaw out the car and shovel the snow out of the driveway just to get to work. I also don’t miss the five months of cold, on the contrary, I love the sun and warm weather, I love wearing sandals all year and my feet feel claustrophobic in socks and shoes now, I love snorkelling in the lagoon, and eating fruit and vegetables from the garden. 

Reunion is a little piece of paradise in the Indian Ocean. I am happy to be here and I don’t have plans to leave any time soon.


to smile – sourire
passerby – passant
itchy – qui démange
to travel – voyager
backpack – sac à dos

to get bored – s’ennuyer
to settle down – s’installer
first of all – tout d’abord
laid back – décontracté
willingness – enthousiasme

friendliness – gentillesse
on the other hand – d’un autre côté
tiny – miniscule
to belong – appartenir
thaw – faire fondre

to shovel – pelleter
driveway – parking

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