With a serious gaze, Tatiana Smal sometimes gets annoyed between two services, but only against herself. The 25-year-old does not yet know French well enough to be completely comfortable with the people around her. What does it matter to Ingrid and Mickaël Rigous, the owners of the restaurant Le Chantier, located in the inner port of Concarneau, facing the Ville Close. On April 30, the couple decided to hire this Ukrainian refugee as a waitress in the establishment. Their only condition? That she continues to take French lessons. A language barrier that does not however harm his work. Efficient from the first days, Tatiana serves the clientele without ever making mistakes. “She knows basic words and phrases. In any case, she has an impressive memory, ”underlines Ingrid Rigous, admiringly. “Now she can take orders at the bar and yet it is difficult,” notes the manager.
Here I feel like everyone recognizes me and I’m going to know everyone soon
It was Joëlle, a worker from the association La Plume bleue and English-speaking interpreter for refugees, who put Tatiana in touch with the couple of restaurateurs from Concarneau. A great opportunity for the refugee, who already had an impressive CV before arriving in France. In kyiv, where she is from, the young Ukrainian was a waitress and sommelier in an upscale hotel. His mother also worked in the restaurant industry before losing her job due to the war against Russia.
Marked by the bombardments
Like her compatriots, Tatiana did not leave her country lightly in March, shortly after the invasion. It is to flee the infernal noise of the sirens, the fear and the bombs which then fell on the capital. “My family and I took refuge one day in a cellar because of the bombardments. Terrorized by the noise, our dog Sema had convulsions. It was terrible,” she recalls, still marked by these events. Her road to France was not a long calm river: she arrived alone by train in Portugal where she stayed for three days before heading to Paris. There, the French Red Cross directed her to the Blue City, whose municipality has made the Porzou mansion available to refugees since March 12.
Since then, Tatiana is gradually rebuilding a new life, despite the absence of her loved ones. “I really like Concarneau,” she says. “I plan to stay there for several months. I’m really lucky, ”admits the one who is still surprised at the size of the seaside resort in South Finistère. “I left a metropolis of 2.9 million inhabitants. Here, I have the impression that everyone recognizes me and that I will soon know everyone”, laughs the waitress.
master of his destiny
Well integrated by the shipyard teams, Tatiana is also creating a sensation with customers. “Our customers are delighted and say that we were right to hire him,” says the restaurateur. “One of them gave him a nice compliment. I saw her turn all red! “, illustrates Ingrid Rigous.
The young woman recently left the Porzou manor to live, on the other side of the Moros, with a family from Concarno who should welcome her for at least six months. The following ? She will see, testifies Tatiana who is beginning to be, once again, master of her destiny.