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!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I have been away because of LARSSON

I have been away from blogging mainly because I was hooked to Larsson's Trilogy:
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto
The Girl who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

They are simply excellent, addicting and refreshing. Every night after putting Aelig to bed, I chased the stories until mid night. I think I finished them within three weeks and now I have the feeling of emptiness, I hope there has a fourth book somewhere...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mid Autumn festival & mooncakes

Mid Autumn festival is celebrated on the 15th day of August according to the Lunar calendar. During the evening family members among the Chinese community gather together to enjoy some mooncakes and appreciate the full shinning moon. This year it falls on 12 Sept.

While looking for mooncake photos I realized that the Chinese too have talents in baking. Mooncakes existed since 3000 years ago but sadly it still stays within the Asian community. We could easily find western pastries in Asian countries but not the other way round.

Some people tried to be creative so they invented black chocolate mooncakes. They are usually expensive, I have not tried them yet.

Even Haagen Dazs is selling mooncakes. I'm not sure I would consider it as mooncake as it only has the shape but not the taste. This chocolate ice cream mooncake doesn't have any traditional mooncake ingredients in it.

Durian mooncake is quite popular in South-East Asia, will try it one day if I have chance.

My favorite is still the double egg yolks mooncake. In my hometown there is a bakery who produces tons of mooncakes for export purposes. They usually start making them one month before the festival and we got to eat some from time to time. It sure brings back a lot of memory: the smell, the making process, the packaging...

Kids love Mid Autumn festival as they get to play with lanterns. Lanterns these days come in different shapes and colors, usually with famous cartoon characters. During my time, I would get a coconut shell, cut it into half and put a candle on it. We formed a group and have a parade in our neighborhood. We usually did it during the night and older kids would tell ghost stories to scare off the little ones...

Happy Mooncake festival to my beloved friends and family. I assure you that the moon in France is as round as the one you could see from Malaysia.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

No pain, no gain

I could have witnessing these magnificent scenery and breathing the fresh air myself.
But I chickened out.
I really have no courage to carry 15kg on me, trekking for 7 days, sleeping on a tent without any sanitary facilities.
That's why, I could only see these from photos.
No pain, no gain. It is so true.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

4 year old driving a car, for real?

A Chinese girl around 4 - 5 years old was driving on the road while her parents guiding her. While driving, she was singing, asking questions and at one point was even passing other cars. The video was uploaded online in many sites and created heated discussions especially among the Chinese community in the USA. French MSN news was reporting this too.

Here's what I saw in the video:
A girl was driving a car, judging from the voice, her mother sat on the front passenger seat and her father was sitting on the back passenger seat right behind her. She was singing and talking and looked at ease, she controlled well the car steering. The parents chatted with each other from time to time. She drove for around two minutes.

Conversations with her parents:
Girl singing or talking (I have problem understanding her): "la la la..."
Mother: "Drive your car nicely, Jia zheng".
Girl: "Have the flowers blossomed?"
Father: "Just drive your car". Realizing that she was passing cars, "Pay attention while passing cars".
At this time the car in front was turning left, the girl moved the car to the right land and continue driving.
After passing the traffic light, the father was persuading her to stop and let him drive: "Ok stop stop. Let daddy drive. Hurry, hurry, let daddy drive." Girl stopped the car on the road side and a man came out from the back passenger seat.
Girl: "What are you doing?"
Father: "Let daddy drive ok."
Girl moved over to the front passenger seat, onto her mother's knee.
Father bent down to collect two woods serving as extension to the brake and accelerator pedals and threw them on the floor of the front passenger seat.
Once the father settled down in the car the mother said "Let's go".

Now I wonder if this is for real. I googled in Chinese and many news on TV and newspapers were talking about it. Majority of readers condemned the parents as irresponsible and commented that the act had created danger to other road users. A police man regretfully said that there was nothing they could do as they could not punish drivers under 14 years old. They could only punish the parents if an accident happens.

It seems real. Judging from how at ease the little girl was, this should not be the first time she drove on the road. How scary!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Curry incident in Singapore

Recently there was a "Cook A Pot of Curry" movement on Facebook, urging Singaporean families to cook and share a pot of curry. This movement was in response to an incident happened 6 or 7 years ago, but some people managed brought it on again and it sparked to a hot debate online.

The curry incident happened between a new Chinese immigrant family and their Indian neighbor. Migrated from mainland China to Singapore, this family could not stand the curry smell coming from their Indian's neighbor's kitchen. They resorted to the Community Mediation Centre - an agency under the Ministry of Law, who recommended that the Indian family will only cook curry when their Chinese neighbor are not at home. You can read the fully story here.

Most Singaporeans do not agree on this recommendation. Curry dishes are national dishes in Singapore, as well as in Malaysia. The ethnic Chinese, Indian and Malay love them. I can't imagine someone telling me to only cook curry when they are not at home. Do I need to constantly peep on my neighbor to verify that they are not at home before I cook? This is just unthinkable. We used to go to an Indian restaurant when we were living in the US, it was buffet style and there were different type of curry dishes on the serving area. Asking Indian to not cook curry is like asking Chinese to not eat rice when their neighbor is around.

I wish my neighbor was Indian so that I can smell the curry everyday. On the other hand, I'm glad that no one ever came to my house telling me what I cook is too smelly. I can not imagine that one day the French meditation center would tell me that I can't eat durian in my own house because my neighbor can't stand it. I will most likely tell them to ban their cheeses first before banning my durian. lol