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People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, Innovation Origins has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.

Name: Pascale Lamacchia
Country of origin: France
Work: Owner of a company specialized in Chinese medicine

We start the interview with coffee. We are on the terrace of ZwartWit, a coffee place at Victoriapark. Pascale lives close by and suggested to meet here. And we never say no to good coffee. Fall is approaching slowly, but it is still sunny and warm enough to sit outside. Pascale right away starts off with her story. It turns out this lady with a very Italian name is French, with Italian roots. “I was born in Tunisia and after a couple of years, we moved to France. Before I moved to Eindhoven, we lived close to the French and Swiss border, where you are surrounded by mountains. I miss them very much. Especially the walks I used to make. But I do really like my life here. The Netherlands is also very green and the sea is not far away. The first thing I got when I just lived here was a bicycle. I cycled all kinds of routes and visited the villages around Eindhoven. I still love to do that.”

But how did you end up here in Eindhoven? “My boyfriend is from England and he worked in Geneva where I met him. At that time I already had my own company in Chinese medicine and my business was going well. My boyfriend got a job offer in the Netherlands at NXP and decided to go for it. For two years I travelled one week per month to Eindhoven and he came to France every weekend. We both have children with our former partners, and I wanted them to be on their own feet before I left France. I also had to end my business in France. The two years I was on my own in France where exhausting. When I joined my boyfriend here in Eindhoven I felt relieved I was finally here.”

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“It were also exciting times. I had to get organized and I wanted to restart my company here in the Netherlands. It is starting to grow now, but it’s taking more time than I expected. I have been in training to become a doula, a birth coach. I’m very pro natural birth, and the Netherlands is the ideal place to be a doula. In France, a much more medical approach is used. I recently got to help at a home birth for the first time. It was one of my neighbours and I said to her that if she needed me during giving birth I would come to help her. She did need me and I helped her breathing and coached her. It was effective and it was an amazing experience.”

“I wasn’t always interested in Chinese medicine. Years ago I wasn’t happy with where I was at that moment in my life. I wasn’t happy in my job and in my marriage, but I kept going. Until I broke my shoulder. I had to recover but that didn’t go very smoothly. After seeing different doctors I decided to visit an osteopath who introduced me to qiqong. After six months of practice I noticed big improvement in my shoulder. One millimeter at the time, but it got better. It felt so good I wanted to become a qi qong teacher myself. I did my qiqong and Chinese medecine training in France for two years and went to China to learn more in a medical center. Then I did a year training for therapeutic massage in Switzerland and specialized for the treatment of pregnant women. I started my company when I finished the study and at that point, my second life started, as I call it. I’m still surprised that it is very common in the Netherlands to deal with pain with painkillers. You don’t tackle the source of the pain but take a pill. And yet, most of my clients here are Dutch, where I expected more expats. So the Dutch are open to the kind of treatments I give, but they have to get to know it.”

Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel
Read more stories of internationals here.