Listen to what makes you tick... go with it

It’s more than 20 years since French woman VIRGINIE LAVEAU moved to Leeside
Listen to what makes you tick... go with it
Virginie Laveau of On the Verge

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Virginie but people know me here as Virg. I’m originally from Limoges in France. I moved over for six months some 20 years ago... Ireland has given me so many opportunities!

I ran Surf2Heal, a surf camp for children on the autism spectrum, for nine years, I run a craft market every Saturday called The Fair Alternative inside the Unitarian church hall in Cork city, I worked as horticulture therapist, as a painter decorator, but mostly in IT.

I worked as a French localisation QA for years until four years ago. I wanted a change and asked for a miracle because I didn’t have the guts to quit my job. I lost it in the most bizarre way. So I took my savings and went back to India, the rest is history.

I design clothes that I produce in India with my other family there. In Cork, I make metal and porcelain jewellery. I sell online, at markets, at private parties and I supply shops with my jewellery.

I love what I do! My motto is: go with the wave as supposed to against it, it’s easier. I am a very positive person and I consider myself very fortunate for the life I live.

Where were you born?

I was born in Saint Yrieix La Perche, near Limoges in France. I am from where the Limousine cow is from.

Where do you live?

I live in Cork city near The Lough. I am renting a house which has a huge back garden. I love this area, it is quiet and walking distance from the city centre.

Family?

My family is in France. I am lucky to still have two grandmothers with whom I have spent all my childhood holidays. They thought me a lot about life and its skills.

My current status is single for about a year now. I love my own company but if Mr Grounded-Happy-Passionate-Fascinating comes along, I sure would make space for him!

Best friend?

Sue, whom I met in my first week in Cork almost 20 years ago. She took me under her wing and when her son was born, Ryan, she made me godmother. I would have never stayed that long if I hadn’t met her. I am VERY fortunate for the people I have met in Ireland. Sue, our friends, and many more different gangs, you know who you are, I love you all!

Earliest childhood memory?

I’m inside the circular water fountain in the courtyard of our farm in France, chasing a scout of gold fish. I was obsessed with it and them. For the record, I never caught a fish…

Person you most admire?

Anyone who follows their dream when everyone else says it’s not possible.

Person who most irritates you?

I don’t let them, I walk away, life is too short.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

I am the worst person you can ask about politics. Me know nothing, me live in a happy bubble. I do vote, this is as far as my involvement in politics goes. I try to help in my local community. However, I am sure Mr Ryanair would have a trick or two…

Where was your most memorable holiday?

This is way too hard, most are memorable for one reason or another. But if I have to pick one, that would be my first trip to India. There is no other country so far that has created such intense feelings in me. I am not a spiritual person as such, but there is something that overtakes you as soon as you land there.

I loved to wake up early and stand by the temples watching people do their puja, observing old ladies who could barely walk — run — when a cow was urinating so they could catch some urine to do their own puja on the spot, the fact that people, cows, dogs and monkeys co-live in cities, the endless cups of chai, the stories, the kindness of people, the mountains, the smells, the food, the smiles of the street kids, the burning ghats, the magic…

Favourite TV programme?

I play series when I make jewellery. Every Monday and Tuesday are for making. I spend about 12 hours each day making. So that’s a LOT of episodes… I play the no-brainer ones when I make. I keep the good ones for when I am idle (it doesn’t happen very often). I enjoyed Ozark recently.

Favourite radio show?

The radio in my van is broken so I listen to podcasts. I am a sucker for crime ones! I have just finished Up and Vanished season 2.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I love trying out new things all the time. I come from a family who eat love and pray food. That’s all they talk about. What’s cooking, what’s growing in the garden, life revolves around our plate. I love so many! Oxtail stew in the winter, a super spicy Moroccan couscous with lamb sausages, lemon meringue tart.

Favourite restaurant?

The gas cooker at the back of my van!

Last book you read?

I cannot sit still, I am either making, out on a hike or working online but I am currently (like forever) reading The Secret Life Of Trees by Colin Tudge.

Best book you read?

It was a children’s book with 365 stories, a story a day, made in the ’80s and to this day, I wish I could find it.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Balthazar, a band from Belgium.

Favourite song?

At the moment — Beautiful Strangers by Kevin Morby.

One person you would like to see in concert?

John Conneely from Galway with his 2002 duo set-up.

Do you have a pet?

Unfortunately, I travel too much to have one.

Morning person or night owl?

Both, but I work better creating late at night. I love early morning fogs, especially in the winter.

Your proudest moment?

The time I took a 1.5 hour lesson to learn to drive a Royal Enfield in India. Well, not so much the 1.5 hour lesson, the moment when, on the third day driving alone, I finally didn’t kill the bike and drove through smoothly at the crossroads after stopping. I was applauded by the locals who were laughing at me every day when I killed it.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

Planting trees. A tree should be planted for every person born, dead, getting married, divorced, first job, etc…

What makes you happy?

Getting up and starting a new day, my life, my job, my friends, the endless opportunities to learn and grow, my travels, the challenges and being able to overcome them.

I suffered from debilitating anxiety some years back, I am so lucky to have overcome this chapter of my life. The key is to follow your heart, listen to what makes you tick and go with it, however scary it may seem. And also being active is a MUST. My secret: hugging trees and an ocean swim every week.

How would you like to be remembered?

With a HUUUUUUGE smile.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I have just loaded a kiln with black and white porcelain earrings I have made over the past few days and I am really excited to see the result tomorrow. I am also waiting for my new jewellery tools to arrive so I can start making my customised stamped pendant sets from home as supposed to from college. I supply a few shops and since college is closed I had to buy the tools to keep making and supplying them. My two most famous pendants sets are the independent one, WILD FREE SPIRITED and the Vegan one, ROCKET PEAS BROCCOLI. I am also preparing for my trip up to Sligo where I will attend the Strandhill People’s Market and also do a collaboration with a local hairdresser for a shoot. And last but not least, I will soon undertake a leather craft course to learn and start making flat leather boots.

You can find my collection here: www.onthevergeonline.com

You can find me with it every week here: Wednesday at the Kinsale Farmers Market; Friday in Bantry; Saturday at the Fair Alternative, Unitarian church, Princes Street, Cork. Or in the comfort of your own home for private parties with groups of six or more.

And you can follow my crazy adventures on Facebook: onthevergeonline

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