Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Activities in January

We had wanted to bring Aelig to cinema, but we were told by the sales persons that the minimum admission age is 3. So we waited for her to turn three, and finally brought her to watch her first movie: Ernest & Celestine. Very nice experience. She seated throughout the whole movie, clapped her hands several times, and cried at one scene when Celestine was crying. We got discount tickets from the CE, and Saturday morning was a good time to go: there were only three families occupying the theater.

After my company's Christmas party, we decided to go to hubby's company's New Year's party. As usual, when it involves kids, the magic show is in the program.

The kids simply enjoyed it. The room was displayed with different kind of games plus some babysitters so that parents can get their hands free and have some adult talks.

January is also the month that hosts the bi-annual Big Sale. The Atlantis shopping complex has been expanded with many level of parking lots. It was crowded but at least we found a parking spot without hassle. As usual the little girl has to ride the carousels.

Mr Big Tits and Mr Bastard

4 years ago when I first stepped into the French workforce I found some of the French last names were weird or funny, like my boss was called Mr Small.

4 years later I have gradually accepting them, like Mr The Fat, Mr The Tall, Mr The Niceman, Mr Carpenter, Mr Pastry... But recently, I got known to some that are quiet humiliating.

Imagine someone calls Mr Big Tits. I don't know how he grew up, I heard that French kids could be very mean at school. How about this daughter, Miss Big Tits?

And, I wanted to know Aelig principal's name so that I can teach her how to address him properly. I discovered that his last name is The Bastard. That handsome headmaster is called The Bastard, I felt so unfair for him. Hubby said it could be that one of his ancestors, maybe existed during the Middle Age, was a bastard in real life. And the name has been passed down generation by generation. It seems that most of the French are not disturbed by these names, but I just wonder why these people don't just go and change their names. Why passes down these kind of names to your descendants while you can do something about it?

Now, I don't want Aelig to call her principal Mr The Bastard, even though he might not mind, I just couldn't do it. So, it is going to be Mr Principal/Director then.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The 3 year old : Language Development

3 years 1 month

She now speaks mandarin to me and French to her daddy.
However, we got some alert from the after school sitter.
Apparently she didn't talk much, and several times she went to the corridor, just standing there until someone comes looking for her. One evening I went to pick her up and I asked her to say good evening to the sitter. When she said that, the sitter claimed that it was the first word she heard from Aelig since she entered the after school room.

And, her daddy was worried because she still couldn't have a simply conversation with him. It would go like this:

Daddy: How was school today?
Aelig : How was school today?
Daddy: Did you play with M?
Aelig: Did you play with M?
Daddy: What did you eat at the canteen?
Aelig just continued to play with her stuff and ignored him.

 But, when she is with me, she becomes a chatty box, not necessary answering my questions, but inventing stories. Example:

Aelig: My lamb is hungry, I need to go get her some grass.
Me: Oh really?
Aelig: Yes, she is hungry, just like the horse. (She fed horses during our Christmas holiday).
Me: Ok, let's us go grab some grass then.
Aelig: Did you hear it? It sounds like the fox is nearby! He is going to come get the grass! (ok, scene in Dora Explorator)
Me: Ok, we need to stop him.
Aelig: Oh no, the wolf has eaten all the grasses.
Me: Nevermind,  there are plenty of grasses around our apartment.
Aelig: I don't like fox and wolf, they are bad, they want to eat my lamb.
Me: Don't worry, when they come, we will just say "swiper, no swiping!".
We will probably need to talk to her teacher to see if she copes well during classes.
Oh is it just normal that at 3 years old she doesn't know how to describe what happened during the day at school?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Behind the peaceful snowy scenes

French news have been talking about the snow as it has created big inconveniences in every-day's life. When I was living in Malaysia with the tropical climate, I always looked at those peaceful snowy sceneries with admiration. Now, living through several snowy winters, I have to say that these breathtaking scenes do come with a price.

So last Friday morning we woke up to a white snowing day. My immediate thought was that we were going to be late to the school and to work.

In Malaysia, everyone would use a sun shade between the windshield and steering to escape the heat, I use this on my windshield to prevent having to spend too much time scratching the ice in the morning. It worked in a freezing day, but it didn't work as well on a snowing day.

While cleaning up my car, Aelig requested to walk to school. Good idea in theory, bad idea in practice. Anyway, it only snows in Nantes like once a year, so I agreed to walk her to the school. She was very excited on the way, I almost felt down several times, but she was running and walking fast without problem.

On the way home I managed to stand still without falling, but I saw two cars stuck on the road I was going to go through. I decided that I would not drive that day, as my car was not equipped with any accessories related to snow, and I was too scared to drive. So, I sent an email to my boss saying that I would work from home. Ended up I was very productive, I was so into my work that I continued until 9pm.

This morning while chatting with coworkers, I discovered that a lot of people were working from home, and some came in late due to the difficult driving conditions. So, I was not alone!

Man, so glad that this only happens once a year. I heard that in Paris buses were not running so people had to walk / ski to their office. And, the TV showed a grandma bicycling on the snow, that was quite scary.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How should I call them

There is one thing very untraditional in Aelig's school (or nursery school in general), that every kid is to call their teachers by name.

I kid you not, Aelig actually calls her teachers by the first name, not last name.
So, she doesn't do like me calling my teachers Mrs Lim, Sir, Cikgu Arun , Puan Kamsiah, Chen Lao Shi...

I felt so odd to not address a teacher in a formal way. When she says "goodbye Regine" to her teacher, my first reaction was that she was so impolite that I needed to correct her, but I was told later that the school teaches them to do it this way.

I don't know why they are doing this. I heard that the rule changed about 10 years ago.

It creates a problem for us parents, as I don't know what are the last names of these teachers, and I simply do not feel at ease to call them by their first name. So I asked hubby how he addresses the teacher everyday when he sends Aelig to school. "I don't address her", was his reply. Basically, If you do not know how to address a person, simply say "Bonjour" and continue with the conversation.

Ok, I feel impolite to avoid addressing someone when talking, but gradually I get used to it. Now when I'm at the school, I just say "Bonjour" then get on with my questions.

I'm not sure Malaysia would change the habit/rule anytime soon. I couldn't imagine myself calling my teachers by their first name. It would be a real revolution.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Year's Eve gathering 2013

Every year we celebrate New Year's Even with a group of friends. This year the main courses focused on seafood, which suited me very well since I love seafood and Brittany is the region that produces plenty of them.

As usual we started with some appetizers. Foie Gras (fat liver of a duck or a goose) is one of the popular ones.

The seafood platter. Unlike in Malaysia where we like to cook crabs with sauces, here we like to eat them after boiling. I love them both ways.

4 giant spider crabs waiting to be eaten. Love the sweet succulent meat.

Can you guess what this is? The spider crab brown meat mixed with some butter and spread on  a French bread.

This remained me of snail. I tried them before but was not pleased with the taste. So I didn't venture into it this time.

Overall it was a very good idea to have seafood platter during festival. I won't mind having it again next year.