Belarusian happiness of Patrick Bourdon
They say, to feel accomplished man should build a house, plant a tree and raise a son. Patrick Bourdon, a French citizen and director general of Intercars in Belarus, has done all that away from his own country, in Belarus
They say, to feel accomplished man should build a house, plant a tree and raise a son. Patrick Bourdon, a French citizen and director general of Intercars in Belarus, has done all that away from his own country, in Belarus.
When he first arrived in Belarus 10 years ago as a member of the official delegation representing Clermont-Ferrand, Gomel´s brother-city, he could not even imagine that Belarus will become his second motherland and apart from business interests, he will find a beloved here. He has also started a family and built a house.
We have taken an interview from the French businessman, the owner of a transportation company in Belarus.
- International families, when a husband is a citizen of one country and a wife of another are widespread today. As a Frenchman who married a Belarusian woman, why did not you take Julia back to France, as many of your compatriots do, but preferred to settle down here?
- Both my wife and I are in love with Belarus. I like Belarusian people, their kindness and hospitality. I love nature here, forests and lakes. But the most important factor is the comfort and tranquillity of this country that allow me feel safe and comfortable without worrying much about the security of my family.
Besides, I can witness how living conditions in Belarus are improving. When I first came here, the country had just embarked on various reforms. Today everything is different. I can see it from my business: more and more Belarusians travel abroad and more and more foreigners come to visit.
- Patrick, tell me how you met Julia?
- As simple as that: four years ago Julia applied to Intercars, while she was still a student at Minsk State Linguistic University. She had a brilliant command of French. I felt attracted to her straight away, there was this chemistry at the heart level, when people realise that they are born to love each other. We have been together for three years now. We have a son, his name is Paul, and he is 1.5 years old. By the way, he was born in Belarus.
- Did you get married in France?
- Can you imagine that we register our marriage in a registration office in the village of Tsna near Minsk? Ours was the first international marriage registered there. Therefore, people did their best, they decorated the hall. The registration procedure was rather modest, as neither me nor Julia love pompous ceremonies. In the evening we invited our friends to a wedding party at home to celebrate the event.
- What in your opinion is the difference between the French and Belarusian family?
- First, in France a family is perceived as a union of two people, who participate in any event together. Spouses should have mutual understanding and share common interests.
Maybe, it is also characteristic of Belarusian families. The only thing that struck me when I first came here is that it was rare to see a father with a perambulator. Possibly, fathers were a bit embarrassed to do it or just did not have time... But now I see the mentality is changing. Fathers can be seen with their kids in the streets, parks and restaurants, I can tell that from our friends. Undoubtedly, the improved financial status contributes to paying greater attention to the upbringing of children.
- What are your living conditions here?
- We have a house in Minsk that we built ourselves.
- It must have French spirit around it.
- No, we live in Belarus and the style of our house is European, while in France I have a house, which is decorated in an old French style. Sometimes, we go there for a holiday. We plan to visit it this summer.
- What do you think about Belarusian cuisine?
- Oh, you´ve got a marvellous cuisine. It reminds me of traditional French cuisine, the plain food I used to eat when I was a child.
- What do you usually do on weekends?
- We work so much and try to spend our weekend at home with our son. The place we live in is surrounded by trees and we have wonderful walks there.
- Patrick, as far as we know, apart from holding a post of director general at Intercars, you are the head of Metropolitan modelling agency. What do you think about Belarusian models and in what way do they different from European ones?
- If I didn´t admire Belarusian women, I would not have married one (laughs). Slavic women are very beautiful. Besides, women here, including those working in the modelling business, are very responsible. Many Belarusian models are making careers in Europe after signing official contracts with foreign companies.
- What do you think about the statement of the Belarusian authorities that directly refers to the activities your company performs that says that customs control of passenger buses should take up no more than 30 minutes?
- A wonderful decision! If this decision is implemented, the flow of visitors to Belarus and Belarusian travellers wanting to go to foreign countries will multiply.
- Patrick, does your mother-in-law often invite you to try her pancakes?
- My mother-in-law is an amazing person! It is a pleasure for me to visit her and she comes round quite often. She loves her grandchild. By the way, we speak both French and Belarusian with Paul.