Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chicken and Duck Talk

Aelig starts using sentences mixing Mandarin and French. Sometimes, after coming back from school, she would speak pure French to me. Most of the time I ask her to speak only Mandarin, but sometimes I just let it go.

One day, she was using mixed languages again. I stopped her and explained that if she would say the same thing to my mother, my mother would not have understood. "Your grandma doesn't understand French, she wouldn't have known what you are trying to say. This is just like a chicken trying to speak its chicken language to a duck who doesn't understand a word of chicken. We called it chicken and duck talk in Mandarin. " I told her.

She paused, looking at me, proudly said this with a smile:
"Oh I know, you are chicken, dad is duck, that's why I know how to speak Chicken and Duck languages. " Her response made me laugh, she was not wrong in her logic. Unfortunately, chicken and duck both have pejorative meanings in Mandarin. Chicken could refer to a prostitute and duck could mean male prostitute. I didn't correct her as I didn't know how to explain this to her. 

Anyway, during lunch time, hubby spoke in Mandarin about something. Aelig didn't get it because she didn't expect her dad to speak Mandarin. I told her that the fact she speaks Mandarin at home, it helps her father learn as well, and now he could speak simple mandarin to his mother in laws. But then she should keep doing it so that her dad would make progress. 
Her response : "Why doesn't dad speak English to grandma? 
"Because not everyone speaking English in Malaysia, including your grandma. " I promptly said. "Then dad would speak in English, and someone else would translate for him." She came out with a solution. 
"Well, it is better if we all can speak Mandarin to grandma. And you know, grandma had never had chance to go to school, do you know why?"
"Yes, you told me that, she needed to take care of her siblings."
"Yes. How about you quit going to school, and take care of your sister at home instead?"
"No! I love going to school!!!"

Wishing everyone happy and prosperous year of Rooster!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Order and Disorder

With two young kids, the house is constantly in disorder, there are always toys, books, stuffs on the floor. The eldest was not setting an example, and the toddler, she gets on my nerves. 

Her new habit : to choose a cloth, she needs to first empty her drawers. We scolded her, we sweet talked to her, she didn't care, she smiled to us. As if her mischief was nothing.

Hubby built each of us a shoe rack. Everyone was supposed to put their shoes in their own place. I collected a bunch of old shoes from Aelig, but a new pair of boots for Awena, and put them inside a shoes box and placed it in her closet. She found it, took out everything, and displayed them in order, on the floor.

She found a plastic bag filled with saline solution (in France we use these to wash baby's nose when he or she has a flu). She placed them in order.

So she does have the sense of putting things in order, she just doesn't want to put them where they should be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The apprentices

I kind of like Trump when he was the big boss in the show "Apprentice".
"You are fired", such a powerful word.
Now he is the President of the USA, who would he fire?

This post has nothing to do with Trump.
I just want to jot down some apprenticeship of the girls, as their process growing up.

Buying bread
I started sending the eldest to the bakery for bread.
On the way home from school, I would park in front of the bakery, give her some money, and let her go inside the bakery to handle the process. She was proud to be able to do it. The more she goes, the more she gains confident. Sometimes I asked her how much the woman gave her back and why. She didn't quite get the concept, but I'm sure she will get there.
Today, she insisted to go with her young sister. And the two year old asked for a chocolate bread.
Me : "Aelig, can you please go buy a baguette as usual?
Aelig : "Can Awena come with me this time"?
Me : "No, I will have to unfasten her seat bell then fasten it again, too much work."
Aelig : "Please, please." Then she asked Awena if she wanted to come buy bread with her, and the later nodded.
Awena :"Pain au chocolat."
Me :"Ok, buy three, one for your dad".
Aelig:"Ok Awena, we will save the chocolate bread for tonight so we can eat with dad ok?"
Awena :"Why?"
Aelig:"Else dad would be sad to eat the bread alone".
Awena :"Ok".
During the 4pm snack, Aelig couldn't resist the temptation, they ate their chocolate bread.
Daddy had his dessert alone in the evening.

In the school
As she goes to standard two, she has to jot down homework on an agenda. Sometimes I don't understand what was written, so we were mad at each other because I didn't know what she needed to do and she was not happy that I didn't understand what she wrote. She did ok on her tests so we didn't put too much pressure on her.

She likes to go to school but sometimes I feel that she didn't take things seriously. It happened that she forgot to bring home her agenda, so we didn't know what homework she had to do. I had to send a sms to a parent to know the homework for the next day, that was quite embarrassing. The best thing was, we got a reply from the parent so we knew what needed to be done, but she forgot her exercise book in her classroom so nothing could be done anyway.  

I noticed that she made mistake on spelling, especially the S at the end of a word (because S are normally silent in French when it is placed at the end of a word). For example, she would write gro gro bisous (big kisses) instead of gros gros bisous. She would write j'ai fai instead of j'ai fait. 

As for the little apprentice Awena, she starts counting in Mandarin and in French. She would say one two three five six seven....until 20 in Mandarin and missing the number 4. In French, she would say one two three five eight nine, skipping number 4, 6, 7 and 10. She speaks mostly French to me, unlike her sister, but she understands my reply in Mandarin. We tried to encourage her to speak Mandarin, I would pretend sometimes that I don't understand her when she speaks in French. Hubby tried to sweet talk to Aelig so that she would speak Mandarin to her sister, but she refused. She said that it's easier to speak French than Mandarin. True, she gets frustrated sometimes with me because she couldn't express herself well in Mandarin and tends to switch to French easily. We would see how it goes.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Year Gathering 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

We hosted a New Year celebration this year in our place with friends and their kids. 8 adults and 6 kids. We had a blast. I'm so glad that we did this, after the party, I feel the house is so empty, really miss the friends' company.

We started talking about New Year celebration in October, I was not sure if we were capable to host as even though we had moved in, the house was still undergoing some home improvement projects. Like for example we still didn't have a place to hang our winter costs, our dressing was not started (still not)...The house was not perfect to host, but our guests were very understanding, they didn't mind just for one night, they came with their sleeping bags.

I worked on Thursday and Friday. Since the girls were on holidays, they stayed with me, so I had to work from home while taking care of them. As soon as hubby was home, I rushed to the supermarket to buy groceries. It closed at 8pm, but the fresh food sections (meats, vegetables, seafood) started to get things of their display at 7pm. Saturday morning (31th) was spent to clear the house whereas hubby went for the last round of grocery shopping (for fresh meats mainly). I did this as soon as I had time but with the girls, the place got untidy and dirty quickly. The girls' rooms were cleanup to receive guests. 

Some guests arrived around 3pm. They helped us prepare the food. French women I know are all very capable, they usually prepare everything before hand so when guests arrive, the kitchen is spotless and they are with you through the meals. This is so unlike the Malaysian style, where my mother and aunt are busy cooking while the guests and other family members would start eating without them. Anyway, hubby likes to gather everyone and prepare things together. 

Our friends prepared a game for the kids : fishing for gifts!

I prepared a gift bag for the kids. Inside, it has some party items like a balloon, a hat...most importantly, I wanted to include some Malaysian touches : a paper lantern and a pack of handheld firework. Malaysian kids play paper lantern with candle during Autumn festival and firework during Chinese New Year. When it got dark, we had a work outside with lantern and firework, despite the freezing weather. For some reason, the firework was difficult to light compared to those we had in Malaysia, so finally not every kid got to play with it.

Apéro : Margaritas (a Tex-Mex drink we loved from US), some light starter. I also prepared a verrine (pamelo, avocado, smoked salmon with lemon juice) and some stuffed mushrooms.

The men were preparing Caïpirinha, a type of Brazilian drink with sugarcane liquor, sugar and lime. We learnt this from a Brazilian friend during our stay in Austin.

 The main course 1 : Chinese style hotpot

The main course 2 : Plancha (griddle) with 7 types of marinated meats. We bought 1,5kg of beef, 1kg of chicken, 500g of pork.

The kids were having fried rice and chicken nuggets at far end. In general people prefer the plancha, I was into hotpot. The hotpot ingredients could be grilled as well. Overall, people got their dose of meat and seafood, they seemed to be very satisfied.

At mid-night, we had champagne and kissed and wished everyone a prosperous New Year. We continued our soirée with a game. We had light dessert : mango and lycee around 2am in the morning. The courageous men stayed up till 5am.

In the morning, we gradually woke up around 11am, had breakfast, went for a walk, and continued the plancha for lunch. Some friends left before lunch, some after lunch, some helped us clean up (we don't have a dish washer). After they left, we took a nap. It was tiresome but we got a great time.

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!