Happy August ladies! A new month, a new feature and this time we put the spotlight on Ms. Emily Elizabeth LeBlanc!
Emily and I met 5 years ago, on a Skype call when my brother introduced her as his girlfriend to the family – that was a shock 🙂 When I left my job in 2015 to spend a few months at home, Emily moved to Serbia to live with my brother, however due to unforeseen circumstances, we both found ourselves living together. Challenging is not really the right word for the experience we went through, we both didn’t know much about each other and were at difficult times in our lives, however I do believe destiny made our paths cross and things worked out for the best. We spent countless hours watching movies, playing puzzles and exploring all Belgrade has to offer – and in those 6 months, we found courage and strength in each other, despite both being on different paths in life. Emily may seem fragile due to her petite frame, however this young lady is filled with love, joy, incredible courage and strength. I will never forget the support she has extended to my family during our difficult days. She is also the owner of a delicious food blog called Nomandnommer – where she writes about her food adventures. Here is her story!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
What to tell…I’m a girl from Massachusetts who moved to a country that I didn’t know existed until I met and fell in love with Milan, so I guess you could say my journey has been thus far driven by my heart and my insatiable love for experiencing new things and places. In terms of my career, I’ll be honest I’m not particularly career driven however I started working at 14 and have worked in a variety of places all of which I can say have developed my skills. I’m currently working at a school which is great because I love children and teaching but who knows where my professional endeavors will lead to next…
2. How did you handle difficult times in your life?
In hard time we always look back and ask ourselves how we handled situations previously but since each time is different from the last it’s difficult to find one specific answer. Since moving far away from my friends and family, leaving my old life behind, there have been many times where I wanted to give up and run back home, however I find that positive thoughts about a potential future as well as the idea of people cheering me on keeps me going and gets me through rough patches.
3. How do you balance your life between being a career woman and finding time to do what you love?
It can be extremely dangerous and ridiculously easy to use and abuse yourself for the sake of your work because we all want to be the best and give 100 percent but is this healthy for ourselves? Of course not, so to avoid becoming a slave to the daily grind I find solace in staying mentally and physically stable by taking long walks and listening to music. It’s a great way to escape yet stay grounded at the same time.
4. What are your hobbies?
Food. Hahaha can food be a hobby? I love food and it keeps me sane, cooking included. I’m always looking for the next thing to try or a new recipe to master. Of all the hobbies that have come and gone it’s always stayed constant.
5. How do you de-stress?
Can I say food again? I’m kidding (kind of). As I mentioned before, being outside and going for walks or hikes is probably the equivalent to the de-stressing pleasure of a Nutella pancake. It’s even better if you treat yourself to said pancake after said hike!
6. What are your tips for happiness?
Always be you and don’t let anyone else stand in the way of that. If you want to do something, do it. Life is so much more about doing than it is about the chatter you hear from your “critics”. Forget the haters, they’re simply jealous.
7. Do you have a motto or favourite quote?
Less like a motto or quote but lyrics from a song I first heard when I studied abroad in college : Home is only a feeling you get in your mind, from the people you love and you travel beside.
8. Who is your role model or someone you look up to?
It’s no surprise but my mom. She has always been someone I admired because she truly has a genuine heart and has helped many people (in small or large ways) throughout her lifetime. There was one time I remember vividly as a kid, when we had gone out to a pizza place for dinner and there was a middle school aged girl doing her homework and waiting in the sitting area when we walked in. By the time we had finished and were walking out she was still there so naturally my mom stops and asks her if she was waiting for someone and if she needed a ride home. It turned out her grandmother had forgotten about her so we drove her home and the whole family (who was clearly struggling) was extremely greatful. I imagine all the people who walked past that girl without a thought and then I think of my mom and how I’d be lucky if I grew up to be someone as selfless as her.
9. What have been the most exciting milestones in your life?
Being only 25 it’s hard to mark clear milestones, but in terms of most exciting I would say moving abroad, visiting Asia for the first (and certainly not last) time and also I recently became an aunt so that is pretty damn exciting! I might say the day I met Milan but it’s a bit cliche and I would categorize that more under fate or destiny than a personal milestone. 😉
10. What advice do you have for women today, trying to balance a career, family and personal life?
First and foremost you won’t get anywhere unless you love and take care of yourself. After this it’s much easier to give your best self to your family, friends and career. If you’re working a job you don’t like, don’t do it. If you find yourself surrounded by toxic people, take those people out of the equation, there are better people out there who will love and support you unconditionally. In other words, don’t waste time trying to be someone you aren’t. By doing this the balance will come naturally.