Hello workawayers ... Welcome to our active bi-lingual family.
My dad in Phoenix (USA) had been using workaway for a couple of years and had raved about his experiences. now we can too.
We have had 10, 15, maybe more. I love it.
All our workawayer experiences have been absolutely wonderful on all accounts. What a wonderful program this workaway program is.
The kids have even sometimes ased 'when isthe next workawayer(s) coming?".
About us ... and our life when we are not in our secondary home ...
2 1/2 years ago we moved into a very large home in the center of the vibrant village of La Rochelle on the south west coast of France.
As the norm when you move into a recently renovated home ... there are some finishing touches or maintenance that regularly need doing, hence we turned to the the workaway program to help us out. To boot, Patrick is often away, leaving Vanessa alone to do some things that are a bit too difficult for her alone.
I love this program because my house is 'alive' thanks to you workawayers ;
When I look at a chandelier in one of our bedrooms, I think of Erika as she polished it.
When I look at one of the staircases, I see Aidon, Grace and Gavin as they painted it.
When I walk into my kitchen and see the 4 black chairs that were painted, I see Iga and Myo and the list goes on ...
THAT is what I love about this program. My house is filled with love, exchange and experiences.
I prefer for workawayers to be with us for two to three weeks.
I have found that that gives everyone the time to adjust, get acquainted, get projects underway and completed before good-byes are needed to be said.
Our 'town' or 'city' is very active and given that we live in the center of it, we walk or cycle everywhere (shopping, restaurants, market, ocean, walking paths, cinema etc ...). If you read Erika’s review, she describes our little city quite well.
Should you wish to go beyond the city of La Rochelle...
We have 3 islands to explore ... accessible by either driving, biking or boating.
A bit further afield you have Cognac, Bordeaux and Nantes.
Trust me ... lots to keep you busy in the exploring department.
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
We are a very active and have travelled extensively.
Vanessa was in the cruise line business for 20 years and then moved onto project management. Patrick is a captain on ships. This has helped us visit all 7-continents and countless countries with and without our children.
Last year alone Greenland, Aruba, Canada and Antarctica along with a couple of trips to the south of France ... travelling and nature are the things we love.
Vanessa is a avid 'bicycle tourist' and thinks nothing of heading out for a 300km cycle over 5 nights without so much as a days notice.
Patrick LOVES to go out boating and fishing on his little boat that is in the La Rochelle port - a wealth of knowledge in that department not to mention it is his passion.
The children have been schooled in Canada (when very young for a short time), in France and in the UK so they too have learnt to be very adaptable.
Patrick is very French and Vanessa very much Canadian with a mix of English and American due to her family, work and lifes experiences.
Vanessa's mom has commented on her amazing ability to adapt to the French culture - she could help you see/learn what is it like to be a foreigner living in France. Patrick of course will be able to help you understand really what being French is all about :) but as said earlier, depending on when you are here, it could be an english or french environment.
I am not that great of a cook but ... love to eat new dishes and help her children develop new tastes hence the idea that all workawayers once per week cook a meal. Of course, we would pay for all ingredients :)
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We are a family of 5, 2 adults and 3 children (aged 13, 16 and 18).
Patrick is a sailor so gone for about 6-7 months of the year.
Vanessa is very busy but does not work (!!!) and could use some help in some of her projects.
I say this to all the workawayers, one of the tasks I do NOT need assistance with is child minding. I have taught my children over the years to be very independant and feel now that they are more like participants in our household versus us taking care of them. sometimes (as teenagers will be) a little less willing than we would like but hey ... we've all been a teenager at one point and know what all that is about!!
When Patrick is home, our household is predominantly French. When he is at sea ... we switch to English so ... depending on when you come, you could have one or the other.
Some of the tasks we could use help in the house in La Rochelle;
Gardening (spring time or autumn clean-up, and general garden maintenance ...)
Sewing (always a project or two on the go)
Painting touch ups (doors that have a few nicks, walls that have a nick ...)
Maybe some deep cleaning projects (windows, tops of shelves ...)
We are also looking for a cultural exchange. We will cook for you however also ask that each workawayer makes 1 meal per week for the family, their contribution to communal living and ... a meal that might be from your home country :)
We have 5 bedrooms but only need 4 so, you would have your own bedroom and bathroom. Your bathroom is private and your bed could be either a king or made into 2 singles (hence the ability to host 2 workawayers ie. a couple).
The house itself is 300m2, and has a nice 300+m2 garden (hence the need for help ... it is large and requires work).
In no particular order;
One little detail for all you wonderful single male workawayers - we will most probably say no to you if Patrick is not home. I am sure you could understand that with 3 teenage girls in the house. Sorry. Then again, we did accept Joel who was a youngish UK man. I read Joel's profile to the girls and they said yes so ... up to you to give it a shot.
City center and everything that a French seaside village of about 80,000 strong has to offer. La Rochelle is a nice lively town in the summer and surprisingly to us having just spent our first winter here, quite active even in the dead of winter.
There are lots of festivals and events that draw up to 90,000 visitors. Up to you which is your favorite. Our favorite is the Adventure Film Festival in November.
Living in the city center has many pluses but mostly, park your car, forget about it and walk or cycle everywhere. We do have a garage so, parking is not at all a problem.
... That should get you started ... biking, walking, boating, driving ... :)
Our philosophy in life is ‘Donnant donnant’ as well as win win. The idea would be upon your arrival to discuss jobs, expectations, ideas and set days off so you can plan your stay and take full advantage of what our home, family and city can offer you.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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