This is a special article and a bit different than the other ones. I'd like to present you on one side two very talented women from Portugal and Switzerland and on the other side share with you my experience and learnings from a cake styling workshop. I also want to motivate all the strong and talented women living in Switzerland (and generally up-road) to put themselves out there. Don't be afraid of not speaking a language perfectly, don't be afraid of other cultures and most of all believe in your talents and share them with strangers!
Some of you may have read my very personal article about how it is to grow up in two countries and how that can sometimes give you a sense of being homeless or lost. I was lucky to move to another country in my early childhood. It was not easy and I remember some hard times but over all it's much easier to accept change and go with it when you're a child. You don't overthink everything and you are more open to new people, not afraid of what the others might think of you. For my parents it was very difficult. I never really talked to them about this topic but I felt a lot of worries. They were always very afraid of letting me go outside and play, of me staying at my friends, of parents-school-day. They always felt that they don't really belong. And when on our vacations in Portugal they also felt a bit like strangers. I guess that for them the language was a big barrier in Switzerland. Many other Portuguese migrants living in Switzerland were exactly the same. They didn't integrate well in Switzerland. I don't know how it is in other countries (feel free to share with me your experiences) but here I always felt that there were two very different groups of Portuguese people: When I was a child, you had those who were only around other Portuguese, who spent most of their weekends inside of some Portuguese club (mostly named after Portuguese soccer teams) and who therefore barely spoke German (I don't know how it is in the French and Italian speaking part of Switzerland). And than you had those like me who integrated so well that they almost lost their connection to Portugal's culture. Today I'm happy that there seems to be a third group who comes to Switzerland (mostly because of a job opportunity) who integrates very well and keeps the connection with their first home country Portugal. And they help me to never forget where I come from and that you can be Swiss and Portuguese at the same time. I have friends in a mixed marriage like me. They raise their children in Portuguese and Swiss-German and they also face the same challenges as I do (as for instance explain to your family that you don't want 200 people at your wedding). Thanks to Taste of Portugal I also met so many people from the second group who also thought that they will never have Portuguese friends in Switzerland and I'm also a bit proud that we managed to inspire them to travel through Portugal a bit more.
You're probably asking yourself why I'm telling you all of this on a cake styling article or I probably already lost you as a reader. The reason is that I met two wonderful and talented Portuguese women at the cake styling workshop. One is Ana who held the workshop (together with my Swiss friend Gisela) and the other is Vanda, a participant who grew up in Switzerland like I did. I love cake and flowers. This was the main reason for me to attend the workshop. But I also wanted to support Gisela, from Raum und Kleid, and Ana, from Délicatesse Cake. I think that it is so cool that a Portuguese and Swiss woman got together and wanted to share what they do best despite of some language barriers. Ana is a bit shy, very hard working and passionate about baking. She's actually a graphic designer and lives in Switzerland for about 9 years now. Gisela likes to be in a group, is used to coordinate a lot of people at the same time and knows how to do beautiful things with flowers. Together they were a great team! Without each other they most probably wouldn't have held a workshop. Congratulations on your great team work - you did great! I know that the a language barrier can be exhausting but hey, nobody cared if Ana forgot or misspelled a word. Because every one was excited about learning something new in a group.
I'm also very thankful to have met Vanda, a creative Portuguese mama of three children (check out her Instagram). She moved to Switzerland with her parents at age of six like me, got married to an Italian/Swiss man and lives a Portuguese/Italian/Swiss life. We exchanged a bit of our experiences and what the challenges are of raising your children bi-lingual (ok, I have no experience in that but I once was a bi-lingual child).
Life is simply amazing. You sign up for a cake styling workshop and in the end you learn about life and how you're not alone. But for those of you who actually wanted to see some pictures of the workshop (wow and you've read the whole article), I also have some impressions. Thank you for following me and us and for being an inspiration to us too!
Wishing you now a wonderful start into the week
Pictures by Mary Fernandez