We are sad that Joelle Francon-Parr, one of our Interaction Practitioners, is leaving us to return to France, but we will always remember her fondly and will certainly be keeping in touch. Joelle tells us about her time at Us in a Bus and what exciting new challenges lie ahead in France.
‘I met my husband Jonathan In Burgundy 13 years ago and after a few glasses of Gevray Chambertain we fell in love! For the next two years I lived in France and Jonathan in England and it was two years of pure romance. Then I decided to come to England to live with him and what a huge challenge it was to leave my country and live in England without speaking the same language.
I have been working at Us in a Bus for five years in total, having had a two year break in between to start my own business (student host families). But the job at Us in a Bus was the most interesting job I have ever had. Being able to communicate with people who don’t have access to language is, by definition, a challenge, but very quickly I realised the chance I had to interact with people who are different. Session after session I learnt from this difference and I believe I learned humility and the essence of life.
Also during a session, when I am interacting with people, I disregard the way I communicate and instead use the communication of the people I am working with, and I make myself available to be led by them. To me the most amazing thing is that when we are totally in sync, physically and emotionally connected, the dimension of the difference doesn’t exist any more, we are totally equal and we can develop conversation on the same level .
And so to the next challenge in our lives. Jonathan and I have decided to go to France to open a Bed and Breakfast In Cluny and to organise some bike tours in the surrounding vineyards. Along side this I am going to try to develop Intensive Interaction in France as it is very much unknown there. It is a fantastic tool and I feel I would like to introduce it to the people who have PMLD and/or autism, giving them the right to feel less isolated and to communicate like every human being.
But I will miss the cultural aspects of the UK, particularly the Tate Modern in London and the openness of the people in general. I will still be keeping in touch with my friends at Us in a Bus and following all their activities on the website and on Facebook.’
Here’s Joelle with a present from our Trustees.