Mardi Michels has a wonderful twisting and turning journey to now have a beautiful French inspired life!
Guest: Mardi Michels
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Mardi Michels is an Australian born, Canadian living, Francophile who’s journey over many years was lovely to immerse in for a while as we chatted.
Mardi and I talked over zoom with her sitting in her gorgeous vacation home in south west France in Nerac. The light over her shoulder had me longing for France even with just an online connection… swoon!
So Mardi grew up in Adelaide and learned French from the start of high school. Immediately after finishing school at age 17 she then went on a Rotary exchange program to Belgium. Mardi specifically asked to go to a French-speaking country with the exchange. She had been to France as a teen with her family driving through many countries, whilst carrying the “Europe on $5 a day” book in the back seat! So Mardi had a little experience of France and had a hankering for more. Unfortunately France wasn’t available but Brussels provided the opprotunity for her to be fluent in French by the end of the year.
After her exchange experience, Mardi returned to Australia and went to university to study French further. She started to wonder why she was learning French and French literature whilst living in Australia! So she made the move to France. After some twists and turns in her journey, Mardi discovered she loved teaching and became a French teacher.
I loved some of Mardi’s tips for French speaking. Just like I do myself, Mardi recommends preparing a few phrases you know you will need in advance. She also uses prompts, hand gestures and even sometimes shows photos on her phone to make herself understood! But she says a smile and a point go a long way!
So after living in Paris for a number of years, Mardi went on a holiday with her sister and met her now partner Neil. She moved to Toronto with him and for the last couple of decades has been teaching French at an elementary school there.
Her journey took another turn though with the opportunity to create cookbooks! It wasn’t originally the plan to make books for children’s cooking, but with some more twists and turns the result was Mardi having great success encouraging French cooking with kids!
Now between, more cookbooks being released, teaching French in Canada, spending summers in her vacation home in Nerac in France and running that as a holiday rental, Mardi lives a busy French life! To me though it sounds like she has struck just the right balance enabling her to keep immersed in the French language whilst keeping her French connection going with her visits.
Mardi’s books – In the French kitchen with kids and French Food for Everyone – available now!