Monday, December 26, 2011

Meeting Santa Claus

We had a splendid Christmas gathering with family. This year's theme concentrated on bringing jubilant moments to the little angel.

In the middle of the feast, someone was knocking on the door. Aelig went answered the door.

Oh, Santa Claus is coming! Everyone was telling her that was "père Noël" (Santa Claus in French)! She starred at him suspiciously, but was quickly influenced by the joyful atmosphere and followed him into the house.

"Are you really Santa Claus"? She seemed to doubt it. Apparently, she was calling "papounet" to Santa when we asked her to give him a kiss.

When she saw those presents Santa brought, she kept yelling "cadeau" (present in French) and wanted Santa to open one of them.

Santa was taking off and wanted to give her a hug. She reluctantly obliged. Second later she requested to go to her tonton Benjy's arms. Something is fishy about this Santa, she seemed to tell herself.

Inspired from one of her nursery songs, I had prepared a game. The song describes about a kid who has hard time pulling out a carrot so he asks help from a grandpa, a grandma, a dog, a cat and a mouse. Aelig was going to play as the carrot but she didn't want to cooperate, so we change the game. I was singing the song and each round calling a person, to join the force to swing her! Look how excited she was!

After the song / swing, she wanted more, and since everyone was standing in a circle, she went from one to another, asking to play acrobat with her. First with papa, then with mamounette, mamig, papounet...

and even tonton Benjy was invited to play. She did this several rounds and we would see what she was extremely elated. What a wonderful Christmas for her!

Seeing how everyone was ready to do the best to please her, it touched me enormously. I love my family here. I hesitated if we should really lie to her about the existence of Santa Claus, or should we spoil her with gifts, or should we introduce her another version of Santa where he would arrive through the chimney, and the kids will prepare some biscuits and milk the night before... All these doubts are gone, as long as we celebrate as family and she is happy, all is fine with me.

Note: We didn't have the roasted capon with chestnuts. It is my father in laws' signature dish and it is the family tradition to have it during Christmas lunch. Have to wait till next year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2 years old

On the way to work yesterday I passed by the Clinic where Aelig was born. I was grinning from ear to ear thinking of the moments we were waiting for Aelig to come to the world, 2 years ago.

We are heading to BIL new house for Christmas Eve gathering. I have this post done first, her birthday celebration + Christmas celebration will follow next week.

Language developments
New vocabularies in
French: pardon (sorry), c'est fini (it's finished), oui, (yes), monte (raise), boire (drink), c'est quoi ça (what is this), quoi (what), mange (eat), faim (hungry), tu veux (do you want), viens (come), genoux (laps), ça va (are you ok), attend (wait), a demain (see you tomorrow), bonne journée (have a nice day), monsieur (sir), madame (madam), c'est à moi (it's mine)

Mandarin: fan (rice), ma ling su (potato), luo bo (carrot), ping guo zhi (apple juice), pu tao zhi (grape juice), xiao (laugh), ku (cry), shen mu (what), gei wo (give me), fang pi (fart), qi e (penguin), pang xie (crab), xiao shiong (teddy bear), da kong zi (rooster), xiao ya zi (duckling), hou zi (monkey), xiao tu zi (bunny), shi zi (lion), xiao xing xing (little star)

Note: She can better pronounce certain words in Mandarin that she couldn't two months ago, for example everything that ends with zi. It is funny to see her saying good morning or waving goodbye to strangers. She uses the word "pardon" when she bumped into me, she even asked "ça va" (are you ok) with her face showing her concern. When she farts she will say: "Aelig fang pi"!


I found that she learns a lot of words from listening to songs. These days I tried to let her listen to songs available in Mandarin, English and French with the same music. For examples:
Xiao xing xing (Little star), Twinkle twinkle little star, (there is a French version but I have yet to find a nice one on Youtube)
Liang zhi lao hu (two tigers), Are you sleeping, Frère Jacques (Brother Jack)

I also exposed her to songs in other languages:
Chan Mali Chan (Malay) - I couldn't find any video for Rasa Sayang, if you have one please send the link to me.
The animal exercise song in Japanese
Merry Christmas in Hokkien
Moonlight in Cantonese
Papa penguin (German)


When she sees a duck, she says "canard" (duck in French). I will say yes, this is xiao ya zi (duckling in Mandarin). She would object and says "no, no, c'est canard". On the other hand, she started saying "oui" (yes in French), like when I propose her to eat certain things or watch certain videos.

After putting her to bed, if I forgot to give her a kiss, she would raise from her crib and yell "bisous maman!"

Some highlights this month:
The hiding game. She likes to hide behind the curtain. We would pretend that we didn't see her and keep asking why she was. She would giggle and we would scream "ah you are here".

Her granddad made her a table so that she can play computer games. Just kidding, it is a desk for reading.

We brought her to the Christmas market. This was the second time she rode on a carousel (manège in French). She didn't want to try it at first but once she was on the wooden horse, she held on to it and refused to come down.

Santa Claus has already passed by once. Her sitter gave her a toy who sings French nursery rhythms. Well, hubby couldn't stand it much as she plays it over and over again and she insisted to sit beside him while playing.

Her dress for Christmas Eve gathering.

I wish you a Merry Merry Christmas and may Santa Claus bring you lots of joys and happiness.

Friday, December 23, 2011

How I wish the postman is as efficient as Santa Claus

I was eagerly waiting for my photo calenders to arrive, since I received an email saying that they were sent out on last Saturday. It would take two business day.

Tuesday passed. Nothing
Wednesday passed. Nothing. Oh oh.
Thursday afternoon, I got a note from the Postman saying that he came by and nobody was at home, so we have to collect it at the local Post Office. The note indicated the operating hours: from 8.30am to 12pm then 2pm to 6pm.
Right, times when most of the people are at work.

I was deeply disappointed. He could have left it with the guardians.
I wish the postal services here are as efficient as the Santa Claus, always deliver at the time frame promised.

Actually, things have improved over the years. Once, the UPS guy called to check if we were at home since we missed him the first time he passed by. I asked him to drop it at the guardian office and he did.
The DHL guy dropped our packages with our neighbors.
The La Poste guy, he always drops a note instead of passing by the Guardians' office. This put everyone in lose-lose situation. He has to bring the parcel back to his Post Office. Our apartment complex is huge with 14 buildings, that's why we have two guardians, imagine how many parcels he has to bring back during Christmas peak season since he usually does the delivery during our working hours. We have to go pick it up, usually on Saturday since they are closed during lunch hours. It was very inconvenient and once we didn't go pick up within two weeks time frame and the registered mail got sent back to the sender.

Hubby went to pick up the parcel today and he discovered that there was another note from the Postman. For unknown reason, the website I ordered from decided to deliver the calenders in two packages. The one hubby picked up contain only one calender, so the remaining 4 are somewhere in the Post Office. We could go collect them starting from 8.30am tomorrow morning, fingers crossed that we will have them before heading West for Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What to offer for Christmas

Christmas is around the corner, but if you step into my apartment, you will not sense that we are in Decembre: there is no Christmas tree, no advent calender, nor a nativity scene (crèche). I'm simply not motivated for these kind of things, and I have a very good excuse: these French / Christian related traditions are the responsible of hubby, not mine. :-) Ok, seriously, I don't want to buy advent calendar because I don't want Aelig to eat too much chocolates, but I think kids could have so much fun on this so I don't want to take it away from Aelig. So, next year I will buy a cloth one and put chocolates plus maybe homemade cookies inside.

Getting presents is fun but we also have to crack our head to think of things to offer to family members. Hubby is someone who loves surprises so he never has Christmas list. But I think he is losing the game. Year after year I have instilled the practical side to my in laws family (ok his brother too) so now they call to ask what we want for Christmas. I give my suggestion for whoever asked for, I prefer to do it this way so that I won't receive gifts that I would never used. Now, getting presents for grandmas and in laws are really hard as they seem to already have everything.

So, recently, I have discovered one of the gifts that will sure please my family here: photo album or calender using Aelig as the model.

In the photo, family members were looking at the custom-made calender during last Christmas. It was a huge success, everyone hangs it in their place.

During grandma's 90th birthday, I made a photobook that included all her family members. It took me a while to assemble photos from all the cousins, uncles, was very time consuming, but the result was satisfying. She loved it so much that she called to thank me personally. She told me that she has hard time remembering birthday of everyone so this year I made her a calender that lists everyone's birthday by month.

As for my MIL, she would be happy with anything related to Aelig, so for her birthday, I made her an album, listing Aelig's photos and developments every month during her first year. She displays it in her living room.

Our CE gave us gift checks for Christmas. I want to spend it on Aelig's gifts, but I don't know what to buy her yet. Her toys are slowly invading our living spaces.

Louis Vuitton sent me a catalog. Too bad, I don't think I could afford one and I don't think I will ever get this from hubby.

Just a small advertising if you love French pastries and you read Chinese. My friend, a Taiwanese married to a French, wrote a book about French desserts. This could be a great gift to anyone who would like to venture into French pastries (such as Macaron). She can send it within France or you could order from this website. She just had an interview with OuestFrance, the article will be published on 19th Dec and 26th Dec.

Merry Christmas to everyone: eat well, party well and have plenty of presents.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's exercise

I found this video and have been showing it to Aelig. She loves it.
It shows a bunch of animated animals doing exercise, in Japanese. We try to do it with Aelig but she only managed to sing "ni san". Hopefully she will get the synchronized moves soon.

Here is the video:

I got a friend translated the lyrics for me, I would like to share them here.

Japanese: まねき猫(ねこ)タック子供(こども)体操(たいそう)
Mandarin: 貓與鴨子小孩子作體操
English: Cat, duck and children exercising

First line is in Japanese
Second line is Japanese pronunciation
Third line is in Mandarin
Fourth line is in English

猫 も  アヒル も  皆  一緒に  他招き 猫 タック 子供 体操 
neko mo ahiru mo min na ishouni tamaneki neko ta-ku kodomo taisou
貓和鴨子和大家一起 邀請小朋友作體操
cat, duck, together with everyone is inviting children to do exercise

体  を  動かそう   心  を  動かそう  他招き 猫 タック 子供 体操
karata wo  ugo kasou kokoro wo ugo kasou tamaneki neko  ta-ku kodomo taisou
身體活動活動 心活動活動 邀請貓鴨子小朋友作體操
Moving moving the body, moving moving the heart, inviting cat, duck and children to do exercise

1 2 3 2 2 3 3 2 3 4 2 3
ichi ni san ni ni san san ni san yonn ni san
一二三 二二三 三二三 四二三
One two three, two two three, three two three, four two three

La la la la
啦~ 啦~ 啦~啦~~~

猫 も  アヒル も  皆  一緒に  他招き 猫 タック 子供 体操 
neko mo ahiru mo min na ishouni tamaneki neko ta-ku kodomo taisou
貓和鴨子和大家一起 邀請小朋友作體操
cat, duck, together with everyone is inviting children to do exercise

体  を  動かそう   心  を  動かそう  他招き 猫 タック 子供 体操
karata wo  ugo kasou kokoro wo ugo kasou tamaneki neko  ta-ku kodomo taisou
身體活動活動 心活動活動 邀請貓鴨子小朋友作體操
Moving moving the body, moving moving the heart, inviting cat, duck and children to do exercise

Some explanations:
鴨子=アヒル ahiru 日本語 = Duck (Japanese pronunciation)
Duck =タック duck 外來語 (也就是英文或其他國語言直接音譯) = Duck (English pronunciation)
被邀請=他招き tamaneki = being invited
孩子=子供 kodomo = children
貓= ねこ neko = cat
身體=体 karada = body
心= こころ kokoro = heart
大家=皆 min na = everyone
一起= 一緒に ishouni = together
身體活動=動かそう ugokasou = moving moving the body

Hope you enjoy this video as much as we do.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Malaysian's view of France

I stumbled across this fellow Malaysian's blog. Joanne and her family moved to Paris in early 2011. She has a sarcastic and hilarious way of describing her adventures, and I would say that she has sharp observations on how things work in France. She shared her findings about French culture in Only in France Part 1 and Part 2. It gives me many bitter and sweet memories of my first year here.

It is shameful but I have to admit, that even after 6 years in France, I still feel stress when I have to say or listen to numbers from 70 to 99. The reason is explained in Part 2. That's why I'm doubtful when I read that people who are multilingual will find it easier to learn another new language compared to those who are monoglots. I think it all depends on one's learning capability and how similar the languages are. French is a language that has many exceptions to its own rules, and the best way to learn it is to simply accept it instead of asking why and the logics behind it.

As for her question about what is Toilet Milk, well, frankly, I asked myself this question but didn't insist to find out what was it. My MIL gave me some toilet milk and I just don't use it. I told myself that I do not need to use milk in toilet! So, after seeing her post, I asked grandma what was it. She told me that in French, when she goes to "faire ma toilet", it means that she is going to brush her teeth / wash her face / refreshing up / make up. Toilet milk is actually cleansing milk to remove make up, or wipe baby's butt. Another product related to toilet is "l'eau de toilette" (toilet water) which means perfume. Well, it is hard to associate toilet with perfume if you ask me.

As I said, do not find the logic behind the French word you learn, simply memorize it and use it.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

How to download YouTube Videos to Freebox

I'm so excited, I finally found a way to download YouTube videos and play them on the TV. It is very simple but it took me several months, as previous attempts all resulted in failure.

It requires three steps:
1. Download YouTube videos to flv file
Simply put the URL of the YouTube video here and download it to your hard drive, in flv file (I think it would work in other file formats too, but I didn't try.)

2. Convert the file from flv to avi format
I use this free converter, you need to download it first. There are many free softwares out there, I like this one because it is easy to use and the transfer rate is fast.

3. Upload the converted avi file to Freebox (our internet provider)
Hubby gave me a location to upload the files. I turned on the TV and it worked!!!

I have uploaded around 15 songs (including one Hokkien Christmas song), I'm so eager to see Aelig's happy face when she sees this in the morning. Well, it is going to be a reward for her, she actually went to bed herself at 10pm (still considered late though). She just climbed into her bed, sang to herself, and fell asleep. I was surprised that I didn't hear her for a while, usually she would come back to the living room after playing in her crib. This time she stayed there, light off. Way to go girl!

The Malaysian me Vs the French me

After living for more than 6 years in France, part of me has transformed into French. I do or react like the French (or the majority of them). There are cases where I'm more French than Malaysian, or vise versa. Here are some situations I experienced recently:

Situation one:
I brought Aelig to see our family doctor. While chatting she discovered that I had to take the morning off so she proposed to write me a letter, which could be used to justify my absent. She even asked me if I want a full day off.
The Malaysian me: No, half day is enough, I need to go back to work this afternoon.
While thanking the French system who allows parents to take off to take care of sick kid at home (it will be considered exceptional leave in my company), the French part of me had something to say.
The French me: You are so stupid, if the doctor lets you take a day off, just take it! You are not the one paying anyway. (Some Malaysians would think this way too).

Note: It will not take long for me to abuse (or is it abusing?) the system, I can tell. When I was 5 months pregnant, my doctor ordered me to stop working and I refused. Today I would have hesitated and even agree with her instantly.

Situation two:
Aelig was extremely tired after the doctor visit (the 10.20am appointment only started at 11am). I drove her home and put her to sleep. I was really rush as before going to work I had to cook and feed her and send her to the sitter (at 1.30pm). So, no time to go to the pharmacy to pick up her medicine. And, the pharmacies here close from 12.30pm to 2pm.
The Malaysian me (complaining mode on): Ah, why can't they sell medicines in the doctor cabinet? In Malaysia one can directly buy medicine at the clinic after the doctor visit. I need to arrive at the office before 2pm so there is no way I could buy the medicine and give it to the sitter. Why can't the pharmacies open during lunch time? They could adjust their lunch hours, one group goes for lunch from 11.30am to 1pm, another goes between 1pm and 2.30pm. Or, open until 1pm and close from 1pm to 2.30pm.
The French me: C'est comme ça, c'est la vie. (It's like that, this is life).

Note: My dissatisfaction for the French operating hours can go on for some time. They are not made to provide services or simplify one's life.

Situation three:
At the pharmacy buying medicine. I was given two bottle of something and I hesitated. We got tons of medicine at home, some of them I have never opened them as Aelig refused to take them. Once the Pediatrician prescribed her 4 bottle of iron, which she refused to even take a drop, and now these 4 bottles are collecting dust at home.
The Malaysian me: I'm sorry but I don't think my daughter would take all of these, can I just have one bottle instead? (In Malaysian you have to pay for your medicines)
The pharmacist (not happy): One bottle is not enough to complete the treatment. But you are the one who decide.
The French me: Ok then I will take both. (In France the social security system pays for it).
Ok, ended with two bottles at home and Aelig refused to even finish the first one.

The Malaysian me: You should have insisted on trying one first, you are contributing to the hole in the social security system.
The French me: I'm not the one paying anyway.

Sincerely, I feel bad wasting medicine, and I would say that they come by too easily in France. They some times come in big quantity that one would never be able to finish. For example, Aelig's doctor told me that for one of her vaccines, she only needs 20% of the dose given, but she has to throw the remaining as once opened it won't last. Another example, my eyes are a bit dried after operation. The doctor prescribed me some eye drops, I got two big boxes of it, and I'm forcing myself to use them. I don't really need them, but I didn't know I was going to go home with tons of eye drops either.

Just a note: I'm not complaining, I just think the French medical system is so great that I'm very afraid that we will lose it one day due to abuses / wastes.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Michelle Yeoh in France

I meant to blog about this last Saturday but didn't get a chance. Aelig has been refusing to go to bed. She would climb out from her crib each time we put her to sleep. She only got to bed passed 11pm. By the time she dozed off I was exhausted.

Anyway, Michelle Yeoh appeared on the 8pm news last Saturday to talk about her new movie "The Lady", directed by Luc Besson (French). She played as Aung San Suu Kyi, the heroine of Myanmar.

I was so excited to see her on 8pm News' interview. She would be the first Malaysian born star ever invited to this interview, if not mistaken. French news allocate some times talking about new released movies, most of the time featuring interviews on French movie directors, actresses and actors. A lot of A list Hollywood movie stars are on the list too, including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Hopefully more Malaysian - Asian born movies and stars would be introduced to the French audiences.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Aelig 23th month

One more month before she turns two.

One of her favorite activities: reading. These days, she would come sit beside, holding one book, then pass another one to me and order:"maman, kan shu" (mom, read). I said it is an order because if I don't read with her, she cries.

She even ordered her grandparents to read with her. She asked them to sit on the floor, as she has gotten used to do it at home. Well, according to hubby, his family consider that the floor is dirty so they only sit on sofa or chair. True, my FIL announced that he has pain on his back as he was not used to sit in that position.

Our CE (Committee in the company who organizes trips, gives discount tickets and other benefits to employees) proposed half price entrance ticket to the Aquarium in Saint Malo. Since she recognizes fishes and loves eating them, we brought her there. She was fascinated at so many fishes at the beginning, but was bored after a while.

She uses this small chair to look over the counter top, mainly to do mischief like stealing a biscuit, grabbing food on the table, transferring silver wares from the drawer to everywhere else in the apartment.

She is a party girl now. Since a while ago she refused to go to bed even after 10pm. This week she finally found her way to get out of the bed. Two nights consecutively she climbed out of her crib (from her crib she is accessible to the door handle and the light switch) and rejoined us in the living room. I let her played for 10 minutes more then put her to bed. We think she is ready for a real bed. Time for bed shopping.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Circulaire Guéant: So foreign fresh grad could no longer get a work visa in France?

A while back I was invited to a small celebration in an office because someone was going on vacation. It is a tradition here, that someone would bring in chocolate breads, croissants and some juices and invite coworkers to have a small breakfast gathering. Most of the time it was for birthday, a new born in the family, a retirement...This was the first time I got invited because something was going for vacation.

Anyway, I met a fresh grad who just got hired. He told me about the new laws that just got implemented in France, where foreign fresh grads were being refused the working visa and police actually came to the work place to escort him out of the country. "Wow" was my response. I didn't really believe him because as far as I know, it was quite easy to get a working visa in France.

Thing changed without me realizing. Last week I got an email from a coworker, who said his goodbye as his working permit was removed from the Prefecture and he has to stop working from that day on. I didn't know it was that serious until I see the real case. Same thing happened to my teammates who had to stop working as their working visa expired and the prefecture refused to extend it.

All these are due to the new laws: Circulaire Guéant which is aimed to refuse professional working visa in France. A report says that this could affect around 60 thousands applications.

Seeing what is happening, I just want to say that sometimes we just need to have luck. I was one of the last person hired in my company in 2008. Since then most of the IT companies had hiring freeze and it only got restarted in 2010. I just talked to a coworker from Benin (a country in West Africa), she was super happy as she found this job quick easily, now I'm not sure if she is going to stay for long.

France is not the first country trying to limit professional immigrants. In 2004, when I tried to get a job in the USA, I was told that the quota for professional visa had reduced to 50k a year. Basically, all 50k were gone the day it was opened for application. I had a good lead with a Taiwanese company, but the HR checked with the lawyer and told me that there was no more quota for H1B visa. My friend who worked in my X company recommended me to the HR, was told the same thing, they didn't want to hire people who needed a H1B. I would just say that I had no luck, because despite all these talking, big companies still managed to hire foreign graduates, my friend was hired by Citibank at the same period. I think big companies have their own kind of quota.

Anyway, I just hope this is temporarily. I don't think foreigners are stealing jobs from the French. At least for the IT lines, there is huge demand and most fresh grads find their first job fairly easy. Those who are unemployed are mostly the unskilled or workers with little qualifications. It is just a waste of time and money for the companies to go through the process and hire foreigners just to later found that the country would not want to grant them visa.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Joke of the month

Aelig knows the notion of ownership now. She would say which thing belongs to who in the family. Sometimes she helps me sort through the laundry and she will say:
C'est à Papa, c'est à Maman, c'est à Aelig (it's papa's, it's mom's, it's Aelig's).

One day while sorting out clothes, she was happily announcing which cloth belongs to who until she saw a bra. She looked at it for a second, and without hesitation announced that: C'est à Mamig! (It's Mamig's). And I heard hubby burst out laughing.

Well, Mamig is hubby's grandma.

Is she judging me? That my bra is so old fashion that it must belong to a grandma?
I have no idea.

PS: Just a joke to boost up my spirit. Aelig has been sicked, ear infection, coughing, teething all come at the same time. Result: fever, vomit, bad appetite, lost weight (she is only 9.4kg at 22 months), crying, bad temper.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wedding the French way

Wow, it's 11/11/11 today and lots of people said it is an auspicious day. It is public holiday in France so everyone gets to enjoy a long weekend. We certainly had a lovely afternoon, it was sunny and we went to C town for a visit and had picnic close to a river.

I saw on news in Malaysia that lots of couples had booked this day to get married. I'm not sure if French couples also chose this day though since we are in autumn (not a hot season to get married here). Talking about wedding, I want to share two unique things found in French weddings.

French wedding is famous with its marathon style of ceremony + cocktail + dinner + party (last for about 12 hours). But the first thing I want to talk about is the notion of Broom Wagon (voiture balai). It is a car decorated with brooms which originally created to follow the bicycle race and sweeping up those who were unable to finish the race on time. A wedding broom wagon serves the same purpose: picking up cars that are lost on the way from Church / Town Hall to the reception venue.

Most of the time the wagon is prepared by close friends. This photo shows my father admiring the one prepared for our wedding.

We attended a wedding two weekends ago and this time we had the task to decorate a broom wagon. The theme is Fest-noz (Brittany dancing party) so we had the Brittany flag as background. The challenge was more on how to tie the board to the car as it was quite windy that day. We drove at 30km/h on the way to the wedding and we lost 2 balloons on the way. Photo shows the workshop in progress.

Et voilà the final result.

Another specialty in French wedding: The French onion soup (Soupe à l’Oignon). I had been to several weddings but had yet tasted this infamous soup, mostly I went to bed too early and not every wedding served this. It was rare for me to stay up until 4-5am for a wedding but this time, at around 2am, I heard that there was onion soup coming so I stayed put. Yeah, I was very curious, and I was so glad that I stayed, as it tasted heavenly. It just warmed up my stomach so much so that I had a good night sleep later. Everyone should really try it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

One month post operation check up

I went for my one month post operation check up.

I went through the same process as I was having the pre-operation assessment: exam followed by exam. I told the Dr three observations I have:

1. Dry eye - which he said it's normal, and he prescribed me some eye drops
2. Halo effect - he said this is normal as my eyes are sensitive to light
3. My right eye sees better than my left one - Dr said my right eye is recovered faster than the left one. It will improve over time.

He then asked his secretary to issue me a letter proving that I have the necessary view to drive. This letter allows me to ask for modification in my driver license, the fact that I no longer need glasses.

And, they took back the ugly sunglasses. I actually liked it and didn't know I have to give it back. Well, hubby said the secretary told me after the surgery, but I had too much discomfort that I remember nothing about this. And, on the computer screen, it was noted that I returned the sunglasses. Wow, they actually track this, it must be a very precious sunglasses.

And the cost? Free. Included in the operation fee.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

22th month

New vocabularies
French: au revoir (goodbye), fait attention (pay attention), bain (bath), pain (bread), papillon (butterfly), tétine (pacifier), saute (jump), petit ours brun (Brown little bear, a French cartoon series), marché (market), donne (give), goûte (taste).

Notes: She usually says "Bye bye" when waving goodbye to someone but now she switched to French. I was a bit surprised when she told me to "pay attention" the other day. She finally managed to pronounce the word papounet (grandfather) correctly but still calling her grandma mamoutête instead of mamounette.

Mandarin: hu tie (butterfly), ma yi (ant), mu ji (hen), ji dan (egg), Lao shu (mouce), bian fu (bat), hu li (fox), niu you (butter), di shang (floor), ti (kick), qiu (ball), mi feng (bee), kan shu (reading), mian bao(bread).

Notes: She has difficulty pronouncing anything ends with "zi", like "ya zi"(duck), "tu zi" (rabbit), shi zi (lion), hou zi (monkey). Many animals in Mandarin end with "zi" so there are a bunch of animals she could not pronounce.

Counting: When I go up and down stairs with her I try to count the steps in Mandarin. She starts saying it but mixing French and mandarin. She would say ".., deux (two in French), san (three in Mandarin).

Overview: Overall I'm happy with her language achievement. However, the fact that she is with her sitter the whole day limits her intake in Mandarin. I suspect that she starts getting the concept that we use different language at home, as sometimes with me she would ask for a biscuit in saying "gâteau" (biscuit in French) then quickly switch to "bing gan" (biscuit in mandarin). I hope to help her grab the concept but don't know how to do it.

Physical development

Climbing, jumping and kicking are her favorite movements these days. She loves to stand on her car or toy to look at stuffs on the counter-top or simply messing around. She got frustrated if her car or toy did not stand still and caused her to fall down. In the Petit Ours Brun series, the little bear was jumping so she would do this every time she watches the cartoon, and she would ask us to jump with her. She adores kicking and throwing ball.

Social and emotional development
She is a bossy girl. She starts issuing orders around. She would pull my finger and have it point to images on books. She commanded me to sit on her car or her chair or on the floor. She also pull my hand to follow her to the room and say "Du shu" (reading) and "assis" (sit down). When we do not obey her, she would bang her forehead on the floor and scream "tête-tête" (head head).

Photo shows Aelig having a good time with hubby. She is no longer the little baby who sticked to me all the time. In the past, when I got home, she would start crying and being cranky. While I cook, she would cry beside and refused to play with daddy. The phase has passed, now she would only push away her daddy when she is extremely tired. This is really a good change as we can now play together. Our game these days:
Me (in mandarin): Aelig, what sound does daddy produce when he farts?
Aelig: puuuuuuuuuuuuuttt
Hubby (in French): Aelig, what sound does maman make when she farts?
Aelig: puuuuuuuuuttte

Ok, this was the first boy ever who held Aelig's hand. We brought her to a gathering and she was running around with a bunch of kids, mostly by herself without really joining the group. At one point I asked this boy if he could play with Aelig. He said ok and I didn't expect him to hold Aelig's hand. They ran together for a while until he came to me saying that Aelig didn't want to play with her. Later when I talked to his mother, I discovered that he told his mother that Aelig was holding his hand extremely tied that he felt painful so he wanted to let go of her. Haha, so she actually scared off a boy.

Her pass time activities
Reading is one of her favorite activities. She loves pointing to images especially anything involves cat or dog. When I tell her lets go "kan shu" (read) she would happily go pick up books and sit down on the floor.

Since when she starts liking TV? She didn't show interest when she was younger. We have loosen up a bit for letting her watching her little bear series (Photo showing her watching her cartoon while eating a biscuit). From time to time she would watch her Mandarin song DVD in my computer. But now when hubby watches news or shows she would also watch with him.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Xiao Yue Yue dies: Can everyone afford to be the good Samaritan?

Photo 1: Xiao Yue Yue

The two years old Chinese girl, Yue Yue, died two days ago in the hospital. The incident triggered a heated discussion across the world since a week ago. I saw the video that Jeremy posted on Facebook, and the French news reported it last Wednesday. The common reaction was: How such callousness could occur? Are those people heartless?

So what happened?
Here is the Chronology of the accident:
Photo 2: Chronology of the accident

On 13 Oct, around 4.30pm, in Guangdong Province, China, Mrs Wang picked up her son and daughter from school and sent them home.

Around 5.20pm, it was raining with grey sky. She went upstairs to collect her dried laundry. The eldest son went playing outside. Mr Wang runs a hardware shop downstair and didn't notice that his daughter went wandering on the street alone. When Mrs Wang discovered that her daughter was missing, she went looking for her, but at the wrong direction.

At 5.25pm, from the surveillance camera, we saw Yue Yue walking on the street. She was in an area full of wholesale shops, the side roads were burdened with merchandises. A van came towards Yue Yue and ran her over (Top left photo). The cruelest thing happened, the van paused for one second and actually moved forward and crashed the little girl again with the back rear tire, then drove away. The shop who had the surveillance camera was located just 200m away, but the shop owner claimed that he heard kid crying but thought that it was just a normal kid cry.

2 pedestrians and one cyclist (Top middle and top right) passed by and did not border to lay a hand. 40 seconds later, she got ran over again by another car (bottom left). 15 more people passed by and ignored her, including a mother with her daughter (bottom middle).

At 5.32pm, finally a rubbish collector stopped and yelled around if someone knew the little girl. She then tried to pick her up and pulled her aside (bottom right). At this moment Mrs Wang rushed over and took the girl.

Overall, a little girl lay down on the road, bleeding, crying, and within 7 minutes, non of the 18 people passing tried to help her, nor the people who ran the shops nearby came to rescue her.


Most of the messages on Facebook, forums and medias outside China condemned the lack of compassion and the apathy of the Chinese society. But I want to know what the Chinese think about this. I went to read on their forums and news and here are my findings:

1. They do not dare to help.

Here among the excuses:
A. I can't run the risk. If the police couldn't catch the real drivers, they might just accuse it on me. In this case, not only will I go to jail, I will put my family at risk (financial burden to compensate the family plus shame).
B. If I go to pick her up, who can guarantee that the parents won't accuse me of running her over? Even if I have no car, her parents could say that I was the one causing her to fall down resulting in her being ran over.
C. If I call the police with my cellphone, they will eventually know that I was the one calling, and the might accuse me being one of the drivers and send me to jail.
D. If I send her to hospital, the police will think that I'm the one who crashed her.
E. If I pick her up and unfortunately cause harm to her body, I could be sued.
Conclusion: Not everyone could afford to be the good Samaritan.

2. There is no Good Samaritan law in China.
Good Samaritan laws are laws or acts protecting those who choose to serve and tend to others who are injured or ill. They are intended to reduce bystanders' hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death. Unfortunately, this law doesn't exist in China. Majority of the Chinese who commented in forums mentioned cases where good Samaritan acts were performed, but the victims or police falsefully accused them resulting in court persuades and financial loses. Here are some examples:

A. Peng Yu Vs Xu ShouLan
Photo 3: Japanese media explaining the Peng Yu case as one of the causes that Chinese stop helping out.

Nov 2006, Nanjing.
There were three buses stopped at the same station. Madam Xu (65 years old) was rushing towards the third bus. According to Mr Peng, when he got out from the second bus, he saw Madam Xu laying down on the floor. He went to pick her up, together with another man, they called her children and helped sent her to the hospital. She was diagnosed with broken bones. She then accused Mr Peng for knocking her down when he got out of the bus and causing her fall. The court didn't have evidents that it was Mr Peng who knocked down Madam Xu. However, a person with common sense would explain the situation to Madam Xu's family at the scene and then went home. Since Mr Peng decided to send her to hospital, that could mean that he felt guilty. The court then ruled that Mr peng has to pay 40% of the medical expenses and court fees, a total of 45k Yuan (4.5k €), payable within 10 days. Even the Japanese media was using this case (see photo) to explain the apathy reactions towards Yue Yue's accident.

B. Xu YunHe Vs Wang XiuZhi
Oct 2009, TianJing.
At around noon, Mr Xu was driving on a 4-lanes road. Madam Wang (67 years old), illegally crossed the middle road block. According to Mr Xu, he saw Madam Wang fell down after crossing the road block, so he stopped and went to help her. She accused him for knocking her down and resulted in broken bones. In Jun 2011, the court could not prove that Mr Xu bumped into Madam Wang. They concluded that hypothetically, since his car was only 5m away from her, it could cause her to be nervous and eventually fall down. However, since Madam Wang was crossing the road illegally, she has to bear certain responsibility. With all these considerations, the court ruled that Mr Xu has to pay 40% of all the expenses, amounted to 100k Yuan (10k€).

C. Yin HongPin Vs Madam Shi
Aug 2011, JiangShu
Mr Yin was a bus driver. Around noon, he was driving on the highway and saw an old lady laying on the road. He stopped and went to help her. Since he couldn't just left the bus and the passengers there, he let someone who knew Madam Shi handled the situation, and drove away. Later, he was accused of hit and run. Madam Shi insisted that he struck her and should pay for her medical expenses. She and her family only dropped the case when they discovered that there was a surveillance camera in the bus. Many people called Mr Yin "The Lucky Peng Yu".

There are many more identical cases which are considered the principal factor that "cool down" the compassion of the society. In some cases, the "heroes" risked their life to rescue the victims and ended up hurting themselves and had to bear the gigantic medical cost or lost the ability to work. They get no help from the Chinese government and have to live in very poor conditions. Eventually, some Chinese comes out with this conclusion: Before helping others, we should first think about ourselves (Will I get sued? will I get hurt? Am I rich?...).

Current status:
The second driver got caught in the same evening. The first driver gave himself in three days later.

According to the first driver, he was looking for a shop in the area to collect some payments. It was dark and raining and he didn't see or hear the little girl. He felt that his car hit something so he drove on, but didn't realize he hit the little girl. He realized he might have hit someone after seeing the news on TV.

Note: There was a fake first driver who lied to the medias. He called Yue Yue's father and suggested to pay him 10k Yuan or 1k € to settle the case. When medias contacted him, he lied in his throat by giving false statements: that he has a quarrel with his girlfriend when driving so he was in bad mood, that he ran over the little girl the second time because if she dies, he would have to pay only 10k Yuan instead of 100k Yuan (estimated medical expenses). He said he was going to ran away with his family. But during the last call with a reporter, the real driver was already given himself in.

As for the 18 passing by, they will not be punished as there is no such laws of "Duty to rescue". This law does exist in France "non-assistance à personne en danger" (Non assistance to person in danger). When interviewed, two passing by said that they didn't see the little girl. The mother with a daughter said that she was scared and couldn't do much since she was with her daughter. A report said that she went to tell a security guard then just went away.

Photo 4: Madam Chen XianMei who rescued Xiao Yue Yue.

As for me, no matter what excuses / analysis these people said, a life is taken and there is no way back. I just hope that after all these soul searching caused by this case, people will just come to sense that a life is worth more than anything else. Please learn the lesson from Madam Chen XianMei who did not hesitate from helping, even though she is not rich.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The girlfriend as the first lady


Will France once again prove that they have more tolerance towards the private life of their political leaders?

When François Hollande was chosen as the presidential candidate in 2012 by the Socialist Party several days ago, this was the question popped out in my mind. I know he was not married, got separately several years ago with his long-term girlfriend Ségolène Royal, who was a candidate during the previous presidential election (if she won he could had been the "First Man" of France), with whom he has 4 children. I thought he was single and I was telling hubby that:"Oh, if he win France will not have First Lady." Then I saw it on TV the other day that he actually has a girlfriend: Valérie Trierweiler, a journalist at Paris Match magazine.

So he has a girlfriend. If he win, the girlfriend will be France's First Lady. Since I live in France, I find it normal as from time to time I get to know old couples who still refer to their significant other as "girlfriend". However, this could be considered weird in certain Asian countries.

I don't know if this happens in other countries it could be considered acceptable. Already, my friend was amazed at how French can accept a President who was divorce twice and a First Lady who had a child with another man before she married the President. By the way the president is having a kid during his mandate, that's also something abnormal. I might be wrong but it seems to me that even in the USA, all presidential candidates had the campaigns with their wife and children, never with a girlfriend.

Conclusion: French political leaders could have very complicated private life, but French people seem to pay less attention to it. I will certainly feel very weird if Malaysia's king (Agong) is appointed with a girlfriend as the queen (Sultanah).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A morning call

I was on leave this morning so was happily sleeping...

At 7.53am, my cellphone rang. Who would call me at this time??? I was too lazy to pick it up, and I heard someone left me a message.

I got this message:
"Bonjour Nicolas, c'est mami et papi, bon anniversaire!!! Gros bisous" Then an old man was yelling "Bon anniversaire" at the background.
(Good morning Nicolas, this is grandma and grandpa. Happy Birthday!!! Big kisses)

What an affectious message! Even though it was not addressed to me, I felt touched and thinking that this Nicolas is really blessed.

I called the woman back and told her that she got the wrong number. I preferred to tell her so that she would call the right person. She apologized and replied that she didn't know Nicolas has changed his cellphone number. Well, I thought that she was dealing the wrong number, but nevermind, she will get to him I'm sure.

For those who want to wish me happy birthday, please call after 9am. :-)

Laser eye surgery: Cost

In Jun when I went to pre-operation assessment, I got a quotation of 1300€ per eye from Clinique Sourdille. I checked online and from the testimonies of several people, this has been the standard price since 2008. The clinic claims that they are the only clinic upgraded to the FemtoSecond technology. The Polyclinique de l'Atlantique charges 1100€ per eye. A friend had the surgery in 2006 and he paid 650€ for both eyes. If you choose the PRK technology, you could get 1300€ for both eyes in Rennes.

Anyway, since Clinique Sourdille is a very famous eyes specialist in Nantes, I decided to go with them. I do not know if the technology they use is better, the doctor didn't propose me a cheaper option. For the peace of mind I prefer to pay higher price hoping for a better result.

So here's what I paid:

Pre-operation assessment: 110€ (53€ refundable by Secu + mutual, 57€ non-refundable)
Pre-operation medicines: 12.50€ non-refundable
Operation: 1674€ for the surgeon and his team, 926€ for the clinic. My mutual took care of 2000€.
Medicines: 6.24€ non-refundable
Total = 2728.74€

Total cost to:
Sécu (government insurance) = 32.77€
Mutual (company insurance)= 2020.23€
Myself = 675.74€

At first I was worried that the Mutual might find excuse to not take the charges of 2000€. It was the maximum they would pay under the agreement, but already they refused to take care of part of my pre-operation assessment bill. To have the peace of mind again, I wrote an email to them and they replied saying that they will take the 2k bill with the original receipt. I had the operation on Thursday, sent the receipt the next Monday, and got the refund 10 days later.

Until now, I'm happy with the result and think that the money is well spent.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The healing process

Day 1
After the operation, I went home and slept for 8 hours straight. When I woke up, the irritation was gone when my eyes closed, but once I tried to open them, tears kept dripping. I felt like there were sands in my eyes, especially the right one.

I avoided open my eyes so I was eating dinner with my eyes closed.
Food was scattering everywhere so hubby jokingly told Aelig: "regarde, maman elle fait des bêtises" (Look, mummy is doing bad things). Aelig caught the word bêtise so she happily repeated it: "bêtise, bêtise, bêtise...".

I slept well throughout the night, with the eye shields on (have to wear it for 8 days).

Day 2

My left eye was getting better, but the right one still felt like having a big sand in it. I could not open my eyes for too long. While waiting for the call from the secretary, I looked the medicines I needed to take:

Bacicoline Collyre - 6 drops per day per eye, for 10 days
Ciloxan Collyre - 4 drops per day per eye, for 10 days (I had this pre-operation, but the nurse asked me to throw the old one and buy a new one for post-operation).
Celluvisc Unidoses - use if irritation persists, 4 to 6 times per day (I used it once but I didn't feel that it had any effect on the discomfort)
Efferalgan - pain killer, maximum 3 per day (this is a huge pill, I tried to take one but had to tear it into smaller pieces and couldn't finish them)

The secretary called after noon and reassured me that all the symptoms I was having were normal. Eye drops were to be taken between 15 minutes interval. We then booked a time for my post-operation checkup.

Day 3 - going out
We went to visit a land. It was a sunny day so we decided to have a walk. I had the sunglasses on the whole time I was out. I was sensitive to bright light during the first two days, but from third day on it was ok. I could also keep my eyes open and tears were not dropping anymore. There were still dry eyes symptoms, the feeling as if I had contact lens on. We went to eat in a restaurant, went touring downtown and only got home after 4pm. I didn't have the medicines with me so I only put those drops when I got home. I could read signboards clearly but hubby still have better eye sight than me. During the night, I was tired of putting the eye shields which needed to have layer of tapes on so I slept with the sunglasses instead.

Day 4 - Driving ok

It was Sunday and we went to a Taiwanese gathering. I drove to do some grocery shopping in the morning, and drove home from the gathering. I didn't encounter problem, the only issue was when the sunlight exposed directly on my face so I had to put on the sunglasses. The white part of my corneas were still red but they were gradually going away. During the night I slept without the sunglasses nor the eye shields.

Day 5 - Back to work
I went back to work and everything went well. I still have the feeling that I have the contact lens on though. Putting the drops were difficult as I don't know how to aim it precisely so some drops landed on my face instead of on the eyes.

Day 6
I had to work in R town so I drove before the sun raised and discovered that I was having the common complication: starburst, one type of visual aberrations. I'm not sure if this could cause problem for driving, as I was doing carpooling so I only drove for a short distance. Hopefully this will improve overtime.


I also did a stupid thing during the night. I slept without the eye shields and woke up twice realizing that I was rubbing my left eye. I think my brain sent a warning signal and woke me up.

Day 7
Due to the rubbing during the night I woke up feeling my left eye a bit irritated. Ok I'm going to be a good girl from now on and put on eye shields while sleeping.

Conclusion: Overall I'm happy with the healing process. 48 hours after the operation the irritations were mostly gone. I hope the feeling of having contact lens will disappear gradually. Most importantly, the starburst will have to go away as the sun raises later now so I have to drive a lot in the dark conditions. I'm eager to see Dr M in 3 weeks, hopefully my eye sight will improve to 20/20 and all complements will be gone by then. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Laser eye surgery: The operation

We arrived around 8.15am at Clinique Sourdille. A secretary greeted us and gave us briefing about the operation and the payment.

At 8.30am, I waved goodbye to my glasses and followed a medical assistant into the operation block. I was led to a waiting room where I met Dr Megroz. He gave me instructions while washing his hands. I found it a bit odd that he addressed to me with the informal you instead of the formal one (tu instead of vous), but he looked friendly and nice. He repeated twice that I should not talk during the operation.

After the briefing the assistant guided me into the operation room. Without the glasses, I vaguely saw a nurse who later helped me lay down on the bed. The assistant was holding my hands throughout the operation. Dr M was standing behind me and the nurse was handling the machines.

The operation started. The nurse put a drop of anesthesia on my right eye. Dr M placed a kind of retainer under my right eyelids to keep them open, this was when I wanted to scream: hello, it's painful!!!I remembered that I was not supposed to talk but due to the pain / discomfort my body moved. Dr M asked me to stop moving but I couldn't control myself. He repeated several times so I finally told him that: "J'ai mal!" (it's painful). He then announced the cruel reality: "oui mais tu as les petits yeux." (yes but you have small eyes). Oh my god, I thought this was supposed to be a painless operation.

I finally managed to control my body and pain eased a little. A machine was placed right above my face and he said he was going to start the laser. Since he was using the FemtoSecond laser technology, I presumed that the machine was meant to create a flap on my right eye. It was fast and I didn't sense a thing, he then used a tool to flip the flap so my vision became blurry. He announced that we were moving to another machine to have the laser worked directly on my eye.

The Lasik procedure

While the Excimer laser was reshaping my cornea, I was supposed to look at the red dot to ensure the best correction result. I had problem focusing on it due to the retainer place to open my eye. He kept saying "look at the red dot", I tried my best, really. This lasted like for two minutes. He turned off the laser and flipped back the flap, which was to serve as a natural bandage for the healing process.

We then moved to work on the left eye. He placed the retainer and, pressed it down so that my eye could be exposed to the machine. It was very painful and this time I moved my legs. The assistant who was holding my hands had to hold my feet, keeping them from moving. When we turned to the second machine, once again I was not able to focus on the red spot and was moving due to discomfort. Dr M asked me to stop moving and then he yelled: "tu veux arrêter?" (Do you want to stop?). I said no immediately, I just wanted the whole thing to finish. I was so relief when he finally took off the retainer. The assistant then placed eye shields on me and led me out of the operation block. The whole process lasted around 25 minutes.

Outside, the secretary handed me a pair of sun glasses. Hubby paid the fees and guided me to the waiting room. I was to see Dr M in one hour and during that one hour, tears kept dripping down even though my eyes were closed. I tried open my eyes but more tears dropping out. I sat there while hubby went to a pharmacy nearby to buy the prescript medicines. Later on two patients joined me in the waiting room and accordingly to hubby, they seemed to be in better shape than me. One was checking his cellphone and one was looking around without tears.

At 10am, Dr M received me. He used a machine to check my eyes and told me twice to open them. I could only blinked. He then announced that everything went well, and his secretary will check on me the next morning. I managed to mumbled thank you to him and off we go home, with a pair of big and ugly sun glasses.

Once arrived home, I headed directly to the room and fell asleep almost instantly. When I woke up at 6pm, I could open my eyes but tears were still dropping. However, the discomfort was gone when I closed my eyes.

Sidenote 1:
Seeing how other patients reacted better to the operation, I wonder if my smaller eyes are the culprit for the whole discomfort during the operation and irritations post operation. The retainer might be too big for my eyes.

Just look at the photo, hubby's single eye is bigger than my both eyes combined.

Sidenote 2:
Once when I was laughing, my BIL asked if I could see anything. Well, I couldn't tell him what I see and what I can't see, I have never thought of this question. Then he asked me why I seldom wear contact lens. He is someone who could put the contact on his eye within second without needing a mirror. I was someone who needed a mirror and needed 5 minutes just to put one contact lens.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Laser eye surgery: Preparation

After signing the contract agreeing to perform this surgery, I had been waiting for the big day to come. I needed to take / apply some medicines before surgery:

1. Naviblef
I had to wash my eyelids with this product 4 days before the surgery, morning and night, to prevent inflammation.

2. Ciloxan Collyre
Took a drop the night before and on the day of the operation. It is one kind of antibiotic to post surgery problems.

3. Lexomil
This is the prevent anxiety, to be taken one hour before the surgery.

Ok, I thought about not taking the Lexomil as I was not anxious at all. Then I told myself what a waste since I already bought it. It actually gave me dizziness.

I was mentally prepared for this surgery. I read about the risks but also some testimonies of people who just went through it. Some just walked out of the surgery room and immediately see things clearly without their glasses. I didn't expect this but, hubby sent me a note saying that he was anxious. Ehmm, how come he was more anxious than me???

There was one thing that I was slightly worried: the doctor might not have much experience dealing with Asian eyes. Well, I was worried about the same things when I got my wisdom teeth taken out and during the labor, but everything went well. This time should be ok as well, at least that was what I thought...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Laser refractive eye surgery: done!

Yes, I have done it!

Doctor said everything went well, but my right eye is still painful when I blink.
Will write more when my eyes recover as now tears keep dropping when I type.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

19th to 21th month

Aelig turned 21 months yesterday and we totally forgot about it! How dare we!! Remember when she was a baby we used to buy her a cake for her monthday.

Anyway, over the summer we did a lot of activities with her:

Helping her tonton (uncle) Benjy moved to his new house.

Changing the flooring to parquet. Aelig and her friends are inaugurating the new flooring.

Celebrating her great grandma's 90th birthday.

Discovering the beach with her grandparents and us.

Language developments
She is in a phase that she picks up a word quickly. She might not know the meaning completely but she could repeat after us easily. Her new vocabularies in French:
Poussette (strolley), bisous (kiss), gâteau (biscuit), par terre (on the floor), partout (every where), ballon (ball), tomber (fall down), chambre (room), bouche (mouth), main (hand), nez (nose), travail (work), bêtise (messed up), couche (diaper), petit ours (little bear), dodo (sleep), bravo, nounours (Terry Bear), il y a plus (there's no more), assis (sit down), c'est bon (it is good), ça y est (done).

In Mandarin:
Ping Gan (biscuit), Da Xiang (elephant but normally refers to Youtube videos or DVD), Lao Hu (tiger), Tiao (jump), Pai Pai Shou (clap hands), Wa Zi (socks), Yi Fou (cloth), Shui Yi (night dress), He Shui (drink water), Yu (fish), Xia Hu (raining), Si Si (wet). She also points correctly to her body parts when I call out the word: head, hair, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hands, feet.

In terms of instructions, she understands when I say:
I'm going to change your diaper
Let's go; Watch; Give it to me
Let's go wash your hand / Wash your hair / Comb your hair
Let's go take a bath (she will go to the bathroom)
Let's go to sleep (she will protest or walk into her room, waiting to be put in her bed)
Kiss daddy goodnight (she will bang her forehead against daddy's face)

In this photo, Aelig is learning mandarin characters. How I wish, she usually just messing around. She picks up words faster / more in French than in Mandarin. When she says a word in French and I say it in Mandarin, she just keep quiet as if she is confused. To cope with the confusion, she would say the word in different languages from one moment to another. For example for the word "cat", at one moment she said "chat" (cat in French), then she said "mao" (cat in Mandarin), then "mimi" (the name of her sitter's cat), and now she says "miao" (cat sound in a song).

I finally managed to buy DVDs with Mandarin kid songs, now every evening she is asking for "Da Xiang" (Elephant) which refers to playing YouTubes or DVD on my laptop. With all these watchings, she starts singing the "Da Xiang" song.

Her sentimental developments:

Authority: She gives instructions to her toys these days. It is hilarious, she would ask her doudou / cat / dog / tiger to sit down quietly beside her. If they bend to one side, she would scold them.

: We went to visit a friend who got a 5 months old baby. When I held the baby, she protested by lying on the floor and crying out loud. Grandma did the something but she didn't bother about it.

Like praising: Each time she manages to follow an instruction correctly, or eat with her spoon, she would look at us and expect some praising from us. If we do not response, she would say "bravo" and clap her hands to herself.

Expressing her wants and dislikes: These days she would pull my hand when she wants me to do something with her. If she doesn't get what she wants, she would lay down on the floor and band her head. Then she feels painful and would look at me and says "tête-tête!" (head). Or she would throw her toys to the floor and cry to me that her toys are on the floor.

Get involved: We toss with family and friends when we eat together and now she wants to do the same. She would raise her cup and do tossing with everyone. Now I let her "help" around, when we got home with grocery I asked her to put potatoes and shallots in the container.

Yesterday we made crumble together and she enjoyed it. She loved it so much that at the end she scoped out the crumble and eating them before I even had change putting them into the baking dish. Result: the dessert has a hole at the edge as there was no enough dough to cover the pear filling.

Overall, we are happy with her developments. Most importantly, she is getting closer to her daddy. When he watches TV, she would climb to him and make herself comfortable sitting beside him. A real improvement!