When your passion becomes your purpose

Philips expat partner Desirée Simoes had been a microbiologist and then a biology teacher in India but she has found a new calling in life since moving to Eindhoven.

Reading for pleasure

“After leaving Mumbai, I was looking towards making the next step in my career. At that time my primary focus was taking care of my son. He was only two when we relocated to the Netherlands and I wanted to make the transition easier for him. I would bring him to the library, where we read children’s books in Dutch to help us both improve our language skills. I have always loved illustrating, so reading picture books was a pleasure for me,” says Desirée.

An exciting proposal

“As it happens, a friend of mine from India, who is based in England, got in touch one day – her daughter is the same age as my son and we often called each other to talk about life and which books we were reading with our kids. That day she asked if I could illustrate a children’s book she had written. At that time, I was so absorbed in the world of children’s literature it seemed like a very natural decision to do this, so I said yes!”

Filled with joy

Desirée spent about a year working on the illustrations for Olivia’s Quest for Treasure, which is now a published book. “It was an unbelievable experience. We did everything from scratch so I learned so much about self-publishing. After the book went up on Amazon, friends started sending me pictures of their children reading the book, which we dedicated to our own kids. That filled me with such joy.”

Onto the next project

“Currently the book is being translated into Dutch and then it will be translated into German. Meanwhile, we have a concept in the pipeline for our next book. I would also like to build up my portfolio and do editorial work,” says Desirée. “Following my heart and getting out of my comfort zone has been very rewarding for me. You could say that I learned how to swim at the deep end. Illustrating this book and investing time in my passion has truly helped me define my purpose in life.”

Photo: Desirée with the book she illustrated