Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Spirit

As soon as we arrived from our vacation the first thing my kids asked me is our Christmas tree. They kept on bugging me to start decorating as they are eager to help me put the ornaments and Christmas lights. They are really waiting for this moment as they've seen Christmas decorations during our Philippine trip. I decided to get them in the garage. Voila, finally it's up after our 2 days arrival from the Philippines. But this photo you are looking at was taken only today that's why there are already wrapped gifts.

Our Christmas tree with presents already

This ornament is made by Mayumi from their school artwork

These 2 ones are their little stuff toys that they would like to be a part of decorations

At the bottom of our Christmas tree I have put the artwork of Sébastien that you see from your left (a candle shape green and silver color) and the red card with the star that goes with. The Christmas card with a silver Christmas tree was made by Mayumi together with the green box with cookies and chocolates inside. Those are very special ornaments that I will keep and will always be a part of our Christmas tree wink.

Socks I have put near the entrance

The Star as a sign of Nativity

This little cute one was given by grandparents 3 years ago and it's always there attached to the branch of the Christmas tree hiding behind the glistening lights. Isn't it cute biggrin !

This is the 2nd Annual OTWOMD Christmas Tree Blog Parade 2008 Meme created and conceptualized by OTWOMD of Bluepanjeet.Net The purpose of this meme is to enliven the Christmas spirit by showing to the world our very own Christmas trees. They say that it is on the Christmas tree that best describes how a person celebrates his or her own Christmas.

This meme was originally conceptualize in order to:

  • Promote the spirit of Christmas around the blogosphere
  • Spread awareness of the true meaning of the Christmas Tree
  • Encourage the family members to have a bonding around the Christmas tree
  • promote Christmas cheer and camaraderie among bloggers
Well, I think it's too late to tag someone here. But I am still curious how Joanne decorated her Christmas Tree as I saw great Christmas decoration in the US.

I am wishing everyone a Blessed and Joyful Christmas in spite of global crisis. I am sure we could surpass this difficult event that is happening around us.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's not all about gifts

My husband attended a two days seminar. There were among other 25 Cadres (25 Managers) who were present. This time he was on his best suit made by my Uncle especially for him. When suddenly, all his colleagues gazed at him as if it was their first time to see husband wearing a suit. Suddenly, colleagues started to praise him. Wohoa, t’es bien là dedans! (You are good in that suit). J’adore ton costume ! (I love your suit). Superb ton costume! (Your suit is excellent.) Then it was pretty awkward for him with all the compliments thus, he smiled at them and said , “Arrêtez,.vous me mettre mal à l'aise!” Stop, that’s enough you make me feel uneasy.

Well, I am not surprised since he has few suits that he bought many years ago and the style starts to get old-fashioned. Just to give you recap from our Philippine trip. I asked my uncle who has a tailoring shop that makes especially made suit only for men. We personally chose the fabrics and colours. We had 2 suits and 1 Barong for husband made in the Philippines. From now on, I will not include suit in my list of shopping. It is not practical to buy a custom made suit that doesn’t make the person stand out except for those signature ones. Husband went to the seminar sharp and renowned. I am proud of my Uncle’s talent that made hubby feel confident.

Before the seminar ended, the coordinator asked them a quick and simple question what do they think of Christmas ? Some says. “Ah, c’est les cadeaux! (It’s about gift ). Others says, C’est que pour les enfants. (It’s only for children). Husband said, Partage (to share). Everyone was teasing husband. “Oh c’est mignon!” (Oh that is cute). Ca c’est Bernard, tout ça! (That’s all Bernard is). Before husband left the coordinator thanked husband for his presence especially for sharing his thoughts about Christmas. He secretly told husband while shaking his hand " Enfin, tu nous as mis à un certain niveau
" ! (Finally, you have put us at a certain level).

It is surprising how people think about Christmas. It should not be about gift receiving nor it’s only made for children, it’s for everyone!
Other view Christmas as merely a decoration . But there is a much more profound meaning behind those Christmas trees, glittering lights, and beautiful ornaments. Christmas is for the young and old, poor and rich, black or white . Christmas is all about sharing and giving. Whatever your beliefs are Christmas will always be a wonderful occasion of the year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Trip - Part 2

Who says there’s nothing interesting to see in Manila. I am not talking about the big malls which is the easiest place to go. And because my husband does not support to stay in Manila our plan to hang out for 2 days was religiously followed. Morning of our arrival we went directly to my parent’s house before going to the hotel near their place for easy access. My father passed by Fort Bonifacio Global City and I remember this place late 1987. Fort Bonifacio used to be a part of armed forces base camps where Ferdinand Marcos incarcerated hundreds of his opponents. My vivid memory from many years ago of Fort Bonifacio was the military headquarters, the detention hub, barracks, army bureaus and training fields which are now long gone. At present, it turns out to be the location of an expansion of the economic quarter. The rapid construction of residential buildings, offices, trading businesses and a dozen schools are rising in hasty progression. I observed that in spite of global crisis economic is trying to improve its state.

At that same day, I knew that my brother (who lives in Cebu) will come together with wife and daughter to meet up with us. The last time, we went to visit them in Cebu. Normally, Filipinos love to go Malling just to eat and not spending to much, to get away from the heat , window shop, people watch and I would say, because it’s a less expensive way to do during free time. Moreover, the Philippines was reportedly the second largest market of karaoke and almost all Filipinos indulge in that activity. Manila is known to be a capital of nightlife of the Philippines, thus for dancing crowds who loves loud music, disco and bar hopping too are one of them.

However, among the things mentioned we didn’t do anything not even malling. Now, don't ask me how big Asia Mall is rolleyes!! Since Ate (elder sister) took a 2 days off she had a brilliant idea of inviting us to Club Manila East located in Taytay Rizal. It was our first time to discover an enjoyable resort proximity of Manila. Generally, to find a resort it could be out of Manila. It was a sort of an advance Christmas get together of the family. Okay, I have to tell you that the resort prohibits bringing food inside as they want to maintain the cleanliness of the vicinity which is comprehensible.

The moment we saw the resort we were undeniably impressed because of its cleanliness and architectural construction. It’s not exceptional but satisfying to see. The amenities include 19,000 square foot giant wave pool for surfing, it is a business and leisure resort, with 70 air conditioned rooms and fully furnished bungalows. They also have kiddie pools and fountains and waterfalls, adult pool with a giant 3-looped slide, the kayaking area, lap pool, covered pool and the bean shaped pool. If in case you are within the Manila area try to visit this place. Overnight accommodations are available at a very reasonable price of P2,900/night.

Given that bringing food is not allowed we went out to the nearest fast food restaurants and had the food taken out. We just assembled everyone at the parking area and had lunch there. Don’t worry, the parking is a private area with closure. It’s clean, few cars and guests since it was not a peak season. Probably, we only spent 30 minutes lunch break and then get on with our gears and swimsuits. These 2 days stay in Manila was such a memorable period of my vacation with family. Time maybe short and brisk but eventful ! There's much to appreciate every details whether it's a comedic and silly jokes or the beautiful sunset.

On the third day, we went to Sariaya, Quezon Province to visit my other relatives. I consider Quezon my first home as I spent half of my childhood there. I don’t recall how many summers, holy weeks and family get togethers I spent during my early years but I can only tell you that memories are still alive and unsullied razz. Those recollection gives me comfort and eternal bliss throughout our stay. When I saw my children playing non-stop with other kids I can’t help but remember my beautiful childhood souvenir. Souvenir that I can go back on and on. Climbing the Mango trees, picking up guava in the forest, asking chicos or caimitos from relatives were absolutely delightful and amiable story of my early days. Not to mention, playing all the local games of my epoch until the sunset which I enjoyed every bit of my youth. Enough of that, I feel old when I talk about my younger years lol.

Though there was communication barrier, my kids managed to play as children do. We had an enjoyable stroll at the village. Merely talking with the neighbours on how the village has changed a lot. Before there we few houses near my grandparents house. At present, new houses are springing up like mushrooms after the time and so the population is definitely expanding. Eating buko (young coconut) and fresh fruits like Pomelos and bananas were one of the highlights of the day. Sorry, I wouldn’t be able to shares pictures of foods because we were spontaneously promenading and did not consider to bring the camera arrghh!

In between days, our feet brought us to Province of Marinduque as I would like to see my Auntie who’s in the Monastery of St. Claire. I’ve been wanting to see her from our previous vacation but the time didn’t permit us since we needed to take the ship going there which a bit risky because of heavy rains. Imagine, I haven’t seen my Auntie over the past 10 years or so.

This post is lengthy. I think I need to continue on my next post. Hang on there biggrin .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The trip

I know it’s been a while that I have not updated my blog. It’s not that I disregard the existence of this blog, it’s just difficult to beat the jet lag. And still thinking where to start what we have left at home. The house is in a terrible muddle. Nevertheless, all are now in place and I have some time to write about our trip to the Philippines.

We supposed to leave April but since we have had a lot of renovation made the last time it is necessary to checked out on the budget. So we decided to pushed through theoretically December but it is out of question that we pay 5,000€ for the ticket eek. It was a way too expensive for us. Good thing, husband has a lot of benefits from work and fare ticket is one of them. The company has a list of agencies in which all employees are entitled to have a less 30% from the ticket valid every after 2 years travel anywhere. I would say, not bad after all. We have checked around 4 agencies and compared the ticket fare. We were able to get the less expensive for 3,700€ for 4 tickets, back and forth and we flew with KLM. Fortunately, it was with KLM because the individual televisions definitely helped us to get occupied while travelling. If in case you what to know, the kids managed to sleep even if they were tempted to watch all the cartoons series and films.

Who wants to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning? No one, but we are talking about vacation here. Along with that, I don’t know if the kids like getting up in the middle of the night. You know those weekends when you want to stay at home in the couch drinking a hot cup of your favorite tea. However, when I woke them up they were so excited to leave. I have never seen them whining nor crying. Normally, when they know the need to wake up early they are very cooperative. Leaving France at 4AM is not really encouraging especially when it’s freaking cold outside. We left at exactly 4 in the morning and thanks to our friend Laurent who proposed us to accompany at the airport otherwise we didn’t have a choice to take the taxi. Lucky us, he’s really nice to offer us a ride.

From Marseille to Amsterdam the trip was okay. The kids managed to sleep a little bit. We had to wait 5 hours before the flight to the Philippines. Luckily, it was a direct flight and no stopovers. In that 5 hours at Schiphol Airport, we had breakfast, enjoyed our lunch and shopped at duty free to kill the time. Concocting a trip is never easy but we were able to plan ahead of time. We have made the complete itineraries and couldn’t help imagining and anticipating the trip. I could already feel a magic moment being home. I knew this was the great instant for some serious enchanting moment. But before my imagination went off rambling into that perfect trip, it was time to get on board razz.

Arriving Manila, the kids were fuelled up as they have been sleeping almost half the flight. At the NAIA, we only spent 20 minutes to claim the luggages, passed thru customs for verification and everything went okay. When we went out from NAIA I thought I was just dreaming when I saw Dad waiting for us outside. I took a few belly gasp and said wow, am I really HOME?? Then, I looked around and heard Tagalog speaking, people waving, OFW's with all their big boxes of Pasalubong for the family, smiling faces, the sun though we had a rain showers, good customer service. And because my son Sébastien asked me “Maman c’est ça les Philippines?“ (Maman, this is Philippines?) which I proudly answered “Oui” mon fils !” (Yes, my son) “Ah je sais! Parce que il fait chaud ici !”. (Ah I know! Because it's too hot in here!). Now I realized it was not a dream this is indeed real biggrin !

Surprises await you…..

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A postcard for all

Dear everyone,

By the time you read this we are boarding on a plane.....destination PHILIPPINES ! I will be away not so long, not too short but enough to enjoy my family, friends and my country. I will soon be back and share our precious moments of HOME ! I won’t be able to read emails or do blog hopping until I return but if I could get a chance I will surely leave a trace wink! Until then friends !

I will definitely enjoy the beach, the sun, the sand. Sitting on a hammock while sipping on margaritas and watching the sun set. ...biggrin

See you soon,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tag : 4 things meme

this is Calanques Port-Pin

Another fun tagging from Leah, thanks and sorry for answering it a little bit late.

Here’s the rule:

Click copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your lists! Don’t forget to change my answers to the questions with that of yours.

Question # 1. Four places I go over and over
My answer : Calanques of Marseilles, St. Baume, Luminy, Parc Borely

Question # 2. Four people who e-mails me regularly
My answer : Ate, Vic, Bev, Che

Question # 3. Four of my favorite places to eat?
My answer : Leyen (Jap Resto), La Femina (Couscous Restaurant), Miam Miam (Chinese Resto) & KFC Lol with no gravy :(

Question # 4. Four places you’d rather be?
My answer : Philippines, Italy, Australia and Japan

Question #5. Four TV shows I could watch over and over.
My answer : Faites entre l'accuser, DECO, DH, NCIS

Now, I am tagging the lucky 4 Bernadette Anne, Major Tom, Wil & Joanne.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tag : The Name Game

After those not so good incidents (the Cetelem, the parking, the hacker and the problem of internet connection for 1 week) let’s go to the lighter side of life. That’s how I see my further existence even though I am confronted with exasperating situation I should be able to forget, laugh and go on as if nothing happened. Well, sometimes it is undeniably difficult to overlook what had happened but I am trying my best …my utmost best to be Zen. And because there is a beginning and an ending for all, I can say I am done with it. I am sure that there’s worse out there…I hope not ! Nevertheless, I will surely not let it pass without creating any trouble by having the capacity to solve the issue diplomatically and without stressing toooooo much (but I did, I swear).

Now , I’ll be doing a tag and pardon me for the late response Mahalia, just got busy and with all these unavoidable circumstances on the side, things aren’t just like the way I wanted them to be. It’s all about names and where did I get my kids’ name. In fact, it was my Honey who wanted to have a Filipino name for our children. When we learned that it will be a boy I hastily got a pen and a paper to list them down. Okay, I must admit it was not easy. I have checked sites to look for possible names unfortunately, there was no names that is pleasant to our ears ! Accordingly, we finally decided to name our first child Sébastien Dominique Angelo.

Sébastien - because Honey’s uncle from Corsica who was extra nice when he was young and that village people adored him because of his extraordinary kindness.

Dominique- it was her mother’s name (deceased when he was 16 yrs. Old)

Angelo- because I have always adore this name and I love collecting angels.

As for my second pregnancy, from the time we knew that I will have a baby girl I have checked my English-Tagalog Dictionary to look for Filipino names for a baby girl. Good thing, it was an easy choice ! The funny thing was Honey is in love with the name Liwayway or Liway and Luningning. I told him that names are okay but we could still find names beautiful than those (it doesn’t mean those names aren’t beautiful, they are). I just want to be more original. And so, in the end I found from my Tagalog-English dictionary Mayumi (modest or demure) that’s what the dictionary says. And Patricia for her second name after my Inay’s name (my Mom’s Mother). Well, we wanted to have both Filipino names but for Sébastien it was hard to find one. At least one French name and Filipino name anyhow that’s how typical mix cultures are.

Even though, a lot of new parents of mix cultures or France is their adopted country worry about not having a French name (family living in France) because it is a major obstacle particularly when looking for a job in France. There are a lot of cases that applicants who do not have French names doesn’t have equal opportunities compared to those who have French names. It is sad but it is true. Take this an example, a lot of Arabs and African origin change their names to have an equal opportunity. They no longer brag as regards to their ancestry in public to spare themselves from law and employers' discrimination. Dozens have opted for the new link of existence to escape from the cruel reality. With their new name, it gave them a job and put them on an equal balance with colleagues, who knew nothing about their past.

However, I personally don’t put too much weight on this. As long as we send our children to good schools, educate and give out the best in them. I believe not having a French name would not definitely a hindrance in the future. Education is their lifeline and the future will not depend on their names ! I just find it ridiculous if they judge applicants because one doesn’t have a French name therefore no job will be available! Or to some parents who want to name their kids according to their wish but hesitant of what the future entails (just because they don't have a French name). They are still little to put too much pressure on their names. And, changing names is not a solution to the problem…in France, égalite (equality) should be extended to everyone. The French democracy has 3 key philosophy: liberté (liberty), égalite (equality), and fraternité (fraternity). If society are firmly described by their rapport to the State, the logic makes sense.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Internet HIJACK !

After a week, I am quite released after the hacking incident. I was able to talk to my family and friends who have been chatting with the hacker pretending to be me. Good thing, they got my message before they could be trapped. Some got it late but very very few were deceived. And the only thing that hacker wants is a globe prepaid cards. Now, I can conclude that hacker is a Filipino. Probably, a young person who doesn’t have anything to do during the day except spending all the time in front of the computer. Playing games, learning new tricks which includes violating one’s privacy. And once privacy is violated he can get money and information out of it by using one's Yahoo ID.

In the Philippines, loading cellular phone is through prepaid cards. If you do not have a line you can ask someone or a friend to charge your cellular phones through one’s cellular phones. For the benefits of those who live abroad and not familiar with this prepaid. This is how it works :

A P500.00 Globe Prepaid Call & Text Card will not work without a Globe Prepaid SIM Card. It is non-refundable and irreplaceable. The worth on the card must be used within two (2) months from first use.

How to load prepaid: 1. Dial 223 and press SEND. 2. Enter the first ten digits of the PIN and press #. 3. Enter the last 6 digist of the PIN and press #. 4. A voice prompt will then confirm that the reload attempt is successful. This is what happened to my young cousin who lost 5k by reloading hacker's cellular phones.

Okay what is a hacker? This is to signify "a clever programmer" or "somebody who tries to smash into computer systems.As I searched for an explanation, according to Raymond he listed five possible characteristics that qualify one as a hacker.

• A person who enjoys learning details of a programming language or system
• A person who enjoys actually doing the programming rather than just theorizing about it
• A person capable of appreciating someone else's hacking
• A person who picks up programming quickly
• A person who is an expert at a particular programming language or system, as in "Unix hacker"

Now, how to track hackers and avoid them. Talking about my own personal experience what they do is :

1. Buzz you.

2. Sending you “Musta na?” (How are you?) Unfortunately, this is very ordinary so be very careful.

3. Nasaan or sino kasama mo? (Who’s with you or are you with someone?)

4. Anong oras na dyan ? (What time is it there?) Sometimes, this is common especially when you have many friends abroad. Time difference is important in catching up.

5. Sira yung webcam ko eh invite mo naman ako. Check ko lang kung okay. (My cam is not working please invite me. Will check if it’s okay.) If you are not sure ask the person first to invite you while chatting. Take note they can record images from your webcam, hacker did it to me. You will notice if the image becomes smaller, that is a good sign of hacking!

6. Meron daw kasing 1 hr. maintenance ang Yahoo dito. (There is a 1 hour yahoo maintenance here) If they know your abroad they might use it against you. So do not store important information in your inbox like bank accounts, address, telephone numbers and vice versa. It would be safer to keep it with you. My friend stored a lot from her inbox even her bank accounts, the bank called her that someone is impersonating her. Good thing that banks has an strict SOP otherwise you're dead !

6. Oi, share ko sayo latest pictures ko. (Hey, I will share you my latest pictures) So don’t get excited (like I did and thinking my friend is preggy and tries to surprise me) Do not open a file, check the source if it’s with “https”. Second, check the existence of a security device known as padlock on the lower right side of the site from your computer.

7. Favor naman o ! (This is how all my friends told me but hacker didn’t do it with me). So be very cautious about doing favors!

8. As Makis has just said….Try to break the habit of having one username & password for everything. When your password is phished, they will have access to your Yahoo email & get information, giving them more list of contacts. They might probably try your phished password to Friendster, Facebook, Multiply etc to get more contacts to scam.

These are examples of messages I got from friends. This is not to convince you that hackers, crackers etc but to warn you they are for real !



Hi Hazel,
Yes nakausap ko rin kahapon yung Hazel and Jenni. Pati si Ellen and Jenny (colleague in the office) nakipagusap din sya using your account. Akala ni Ellen ikaw yon. Si Rey naman ang nakausap din nya was someone pretending Jenni. Please give me or send me na lang sa ym your new ID.
Take care.
Ate Emilie


hi haze.. me nakipag chat nga sa kin kanina kala ko ikaw, nag send ng pic but i cant open it, then view pa web cam ko... mejo nagtaka na nga ako kung bakit parang sobrang strange dahil sobrang eager na makita ako so i stopped the web cam and log off... tingin mo na hacked na nun ang email id ko?...
gosh who do u think is doing this.. it’s a Filipino kasi tagalog ako kinausap eh...

Thanks to Raqgold for blogging about this and I am asking you to please spread this message to warn everyone especially those unaware that phishing is for real.

For me hackers and crackers are the same because they are invading one's privacy. Just for an additional infos :

HACKER,( n.): 1) A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities. 2) One who programs enthusiastically. 3) A person who is good at programming quickly. 4) An expert at a particular program, as in "a Unix hacker". 5) [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. The correct term for this sense is "cracker".

CRACKER, ( n.): One who breaks security on a system. Coined by hackers in defense against journalistic misuse of the term "hacker". The term "cracker" reflects a strong revulsion at the theft and vandalism perpetrated by cracking rings. There is far less overlap between hackerdom and crackerdom than most would suspect.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


It was Tuesday morning when I chatted with my friend. She buzzed me and ask me “Musta na? “ (How are you?) I answered her with thrill as we haven’t seen nor chat for a long time. I told her “Mabuti naman and you ? (I am fine and you?) And she asked me where my kids are. I told her they are at school. She told me if I want to se her recent photos. I was really enthusiast to see her pictures. Me, thinking that she would really like to surprise me or I made this idea that she is finally pregnant so I was eager to see her. She sent me a file and open it through Flicker and asked me to view my webcam and so I did. She even told me that Yahoo will have a maintenance for 1 hour. And because she also would like to check if her webcam is working. After a few seconds she turned it off and so was I. I felt nothing so strange.

I continued cleaning the house, went out to pick up the kids and got disconnected. When I came back I couldn’t access to my yahoo email and messenger. Probably this is it, Yahoo is on maintenance or maybe we are having a signal problem which happened few times. I tried to reconnect over and over but I failed. Makis called and asked me how I was. She asked me if I am irritated with the internet. Thus I told her yes I am irritated because I cannot access to my yahoo account. She then told me to just try because it happens to her too. I told her that my friend told me that Yahoo will have a maintenance and I asked Makis if she could access through her email and messenger and she said yes. She did not encountered any connection problem and while I discuss with her about my friend that after I opened the file but failed to view them, I got disconnected. After brainstorming with Makis she ended up saying that I was probably HACKED! She was right ! Shocked and stressed out I tried to recover my yahoo address but unfortunately the hacker was more rapid than me. Makis told me that I was so strange during the chat because and was insisting for a webcam ! That, she needs to open the file I sent by signing in. After our conversation we then realized that we are a victim of phishing.

I immediately closed my blog, changed all the necessary passwords and addresses. Send an email to friends to warn them. All the while I thought I was chatting with my friend I was already chatting with the Hacker. And Makis was chatting with the hacker thinking that it was me! I had the confirmation when I called the sister of my friend in Paris and confirmed that my friend is having a problem with her email therefore she was hacked. The reason why the hacker was able to contact me by using my friend’s YM. It’s unbelievable!

I slept 1:30 in the morning after sending all warning messages to families and friends. Unfortunately, I had a cousin who was fooled by this hacker pretending to be me. My cousin is still young and never understood what happened to her until my sister saw my message and called me at 6:00AM France time (Manila time 12Noon) . The hacker made my cousin believed that it was me. She lost 10 globe cards worth 5 thousand Pesos. Until now the hacker is using my email and YM address and contacting all my contacts. Good thing, my friends knew me well and as for my family they were alerted right after my cousin was tricked. Many of my friends are emailing me and sending me a message thru my Friendster telling me that hacker is persistent in negotiating globe cards in buying them and will double the price when he gets the merchandise.

This is an example of my friends responses to my warning :

Hi haze,
Nakausap ko yung person na naghack sa Yahoo mo. Mukhang pinoy kase nagtatagalog. Sabi ko na eh! He was asking me if I could buy him 30 pcs globe cards then he'll pay me double the amount through . it was weird. It didn't sound like you cos the person was in a hurry. sabi ko, urgent ba?? Nako, nag gudbye nako kase I didn't feel right. I thought that somebody probably was using your ID. ang kapal nya, leche. Ano ako, tange?? Biro mo, nakipagusap pako. Sana wala pa sya nabiktima. yaiks!!

Last part na ito ng conversation namin lam ko hindi kaw kausap ko agad eh...
Vincent: antayin mo daw c bevs mag online siya usap daw kayo
Hazel Giraldi: ok cge
Vincent: wag ka daw magoaffline
Hazel Giraldi: huh?
Vincent: standby lng
Hazel Giraldi: ok
Hazel Giraldi: buzz nya na lng ako sabihin mo
Vincent: maganda daw yan offer mo
Vincent: 1000 USD for 25K worth of prepaid cards
Vincent: tubong lugaw
Vincent: kaya standby lng
Hazel Giraldi: oo pero every 2 months lng un
Vincent: 22K PHP ang tubo
Vincent: standby
Vincent: wag kg
Vincent: wag ka gagalaw
Hazel Giraldi: ok
Hazel Giraldi: ill wait
Vincent: yeah just stay put
Vincent: dont even think about moving
Vincent: or blinking
Vincent: gotcha
Hazel Giraldi:
Vincent: ano nga ulit names ng kids mo ate?
Vincent: hello?
Vincent: jan ka pa?
Vincent: wala na?
Vincent: yoohoooo?
Hide Recent Messages (F3)
Hazel Giraldi appears to be offline and will receive your messages after signing in. You can also send a message to Hazel Giraldi's mobile device.
Send an SMS Message (Ctrl+T)
Vincent: o ate y di ka na ans?
Vincent: busy?


Monday, September 22, 2008

It's just another manic Monday

Everyone says that Monday is not a good start of the week. The fact that the most depressing day falls on Mondays are not premeditated but a stroke of bad luck. And yes it happened to me in this particular day. Today (yesterday) I normally pick up the kids from school at 11:30 and so I leave the house 10 minutes before that time. Where I normally park the car is hardly no spaces and are always full but I luckily found a location and started to do my maneuver. Suddenly, a woman inside a car stopped parallel and facing me. She saw me trying to park the car. Apparently, I parked just in front of her doorstep which I know is really a parking for everyone (it’s actually a sidewalk) but no prohibition of parking. She looked visibly discontented seeing me while she mimicked “putain” (whore) ! That was easy reading her lips from afar. She was talking to me from the inside of her car by a sign language trying to pin point that I need to get off from there and leave the parking because she lives there. I moved backward to give her a space but she insisted that I leave. I left without saying a word and started to look for another parking space.

I went to school and saw a middle age woman that I often talk with who lives not far from that b*”tch. I wanted to make sure of something before I confront that woman. I asked her If that certain street is a private parking or if the landlord has a certain agreement with the Mayor’s office that no one could park the car except for the owner. Because as a stranger though naturalized French I am not particular with the law. She told me it’s not private and that everyone has an access to it except for those who have interdiction signs. She even told me that she had witnessed that I was forcefully asked by that woman to leave the parking. She confirmed that we have an equal rights to park the car. It is communal ! Now, that was clear. She even told me that people are just complaining because it’s in front of their house and because they are egoist and they don’t have the right to forbid you from parking there. She added that the woman should have asked me nicely if she wants to park the car in front of her house and if that won’t bother me. If only she asked me politely I would easily give way but it was not the case. An arrogant individual who care less and who does not have respect for others.

After knowing that I was deprived of my right I was fuming mad. I took the kids and before I went home I knocked on that woman’s door to clarify things and to express myself but she never opened. And I can confirmed that she doesn’t have a sign of interdiction like some other proprietors who have their own prohibited parking signs. Since I know where she lives I took her home address, the plate number, the mark and colour of her car in any case I will encounter her I could probably discuss the matter with her without being an uneducated person like she did and will not go down to her level. I just want to express for what I know is right.

I parked my car in front of that white house but parking is not prohibited at all by the Mayor's office in our district. It's indeed a public parking in the sidewalk. I remember blogging about driving in Marseilles and saw this picture where the woman exactly lives.

I was thinking I was probably a victim of racism, I hope not ! What is really irritating is that I park my car everyday because it’s the only street that is near my children’s school. I calmed down (not 100%) after I talked to my husband who is in Paris and will be back on Thursday so I feel really alone with my ranting. Nevertheless thanks to some friends Makis, Kala, Hilda, and my neighbour whom I often talk to, it means a lot. I was able to release the raging anger I’ve had from my Monday bad luck !

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The secret to being filthy rich

Opting for staggered payment without interest when purchasing big items in France is one of the best way to save money. Many would set out for it since there is 0% interest in most of the items which is financially undemanding. Few would pay cash as they can afford it. However there are big items that we purchase like cars, house and lot, vacation house and the likes we would compare the most excellent offer on credit systems.

We bought our apartment through bank credit with very low interest. And it was 3 ½ years ago when we bought our car payable within 4 years and we have plump for consumer credit. We inquired from Aramis in Aix en Provence as my husband was referred by a friend to check with them (car distributor) of their affordable and interesting tariffs. We got the car and were financed by Cofica-c.u. (a filial of Cetelem French Company that specializes in consumer credit with reasonable interest).

Husband was double checking our accounts, budgeting, stock markets etc. when he found out that we were charged for an additional .48 cents. You heard me right .48 cents, a very small amount and we know it perfectly. The increase is nothing but is there something wrong if we ask why? I think it’s our utmost right to know the reason. Husband called Cofica-c.u to know why we have an increase just for the records. Okay, Honey was answered by a lady which is apparently unhappy of his inquiry. And before he was able to contact the right company Aramis gave him a number to contact but unsuccessful. He was able to contact other numbers but he was passed over to another company from another to another. He started getting really pissed off, I feel like its pretty freaking unfair that they gave incorrect numbers so Honey ended up checking the internet and finally got the right contact. In totality he dialed 5 numbers before he could get to talked to the right person including the waiting time. This is how the conversation went :

Husband: Bonjour Madame we bought a car Peugeot Partner with Aramis and you were financing it. I found out that there is an increase of .48 cents according to our monthly payment. I just want to know why just for the records.

Cetelem Lady: (in a sarcastic tone) Oh it’s funny it’s the first time I encounter a client who asks why there is such a SMALL INCREASE (stressing on the word SMALL increase).

Husband: (calm) It’s not about the amount, I just want to know what is the reason. I know it’s a small increase but if you don’t explain to me why then I wouldn’t understand. (He felt that the lady started to get irritated by raising her voice as if she doesn’t need to give an explanation) Okay calm down, in any case I think it’s my right as a client.

The lady explained it’s because of échéances (expiration). And since from the start they have made wrong calculations regarding billing system. I was thinking how could they make such an error and just asking us to pay without any notice. So we have the right to demand an explanation to clarify things. I wouldn’t get into details as this would complicate things.

After hearing the lady's explanation my husband understood well and he was okay with that. It was not a problem at all once it is clearly explained. What we are trying to emphasize here is that they must adhere to the policies and principles because we are. We are good payers who never miss to pay the amount including the interest rate. If you look at it they will charge us for an additional .48 cents monthly without any supporting reason. If you will give them a chance to do this without informing clients then it will be a jackpot treasure! Probably some clients would not pay attention of this little amount but they do accumulate big value beyond the credit. You will feel the increase if the numbers are big….then it is something. These types of policies do accumulate from small amount to big cash value. And because without prior notice this is clearly has a little scruple vis-à-vis to their clients about the matter. How to ask them without getting misunderstood? Or what is this, some kind of rip-off? Or mere misunderstanding? We have made a simple calculations.

50,000 (clients)
X . 48 (cents monthly increase)
24,000 € (monthly gains)

24,000 €
X 5 (years of payment)
120,000 € (total gains)

When you see these numbers I guess we have the right to ask why. We have opted for to pay the car through “prélèvement automatique” (automatic deduction) from our bank account because of its practicality and so as to avoid future hassle and everything is documented. I could now confirm to Makis that France in (some way) has nothing to do with courtesy and this experience is running down in the same category. Now, tell me if they get .48 cents from every clients, I would say that small cents is definitely a simple way to being rich! So be attentive on your bank debit and ask for explanation there's no harm by asking queries anyway.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Une drôle de reflection...

Les conversations avec nos enfants ça nos donne parfois a réfléchir. Surtout quand nous avons les enfants en bas âge et nous pouvons pas lire ce qui se passe dans leurs têtes. Voila une simple conversation de la vie quotidienne.

Scène 1 : Les enfants se battent sur un jouet.

Maman : (fatiguée, avoir mal au ventre et mal à la tête) Les enfants s'il vous plait j'ai besoin un peu de calme.

Mayumi : (malade, elle crie et se dispute avec son frère) Non, c'est à moi ce jouet. Tu es mechant, tu n'est plus mon frère. (La verité c'était le jouet de son frère)

Sébastien : (toujours calme et il essaye de récupérer son jouet) Mayumi c'est a moi ce jouet. Tu me le donne, ce n'est pas a toi!

....Pendant ce temps là Maman prepare le dîner avant Papa arrive.

Papa : (arrive de travail) Bonsoir les enfants. Ca va Maman ?

Maman : Ca va mais Mayumi me fatigue ! Elle n'arrête pas de crier. Je me sens pas bien donc je n'ai pas beaucoup de patience. S'il te plaît ça serra bien si tu pourras parler avec eux.

Papa : (calm mais il parle avec l'authorité) Les enfants s'il vous plaît Maman est fatiguée. Elle a besoin de se reposer. Arrêtez de vous disputer sinon vous allez directment dans votre chambre!

Mayumi : (avec un geste à la main typiquement Français) Mais moi aussi je suis fatiguée !

Vous avez constaté ? Vous voyez même les enfants savent crier quand ils sont fatigués ou même quand ils ne se sentent pas bien. I'l n'ya pas que les parents que pouvent s'exprimer comme j'ai le fait. Nous les parents ont vite fait de convenir que lorsque nos enfants agissent mal sur un sujet c'est tout de suite faux. On fait parfois les choses sans réfléchir!

Scène 2 :

Comme je leur a dis souvent s'ils veulent donner quelque chose à nous ou à quelqu'un qu'ils doivent remettre gentillement et de ne pas jeter les choses. Un jour Sébastien m'avaist demandé d'avoir son jouet. Et moi toujours aussi deborder avec les ménages aimerais gagner du temps donc j'ai pris son jouet et au lieu de le donné je le lancer sur lui.

Sébastien : (un peu surpris) Maman il ne faut pas jeter les choses.

Moi : Ah oui, c'est vrai! Tu m'excuse mon fils car je suis presser mais tu as raison! Je voudrai gagner du temps mais ce que j'ai viens de le faire n'était pas vraiment approprier. Merci de me rappeler !

Parfois les parents, nous avons toujours des leçons à donner aux enfants mais quelquefois ou peut être même souvent on trouve des excuses pour ne pas avoir tort! Ce n'est pas parce que ce sont que des enfants qu'il sont tort...C'est faux au contraire ils peuvent avoir raison.
Je trouve cela normal, se n'est pas parce nous sommes parents que cela nous donnent tout les droits à dire de choses. J'ai beaucoup appris en tant qu'une mère qu'il y a des limites pour tout et je voudrais leur inculquer des notions de justice et le respect. Tout ce qui améliore nos relations avec nos enfants, d'être a leur côté, à les comprendre fait une grande différence.

Here we go for the English translations. Some words could be inappropriate or grammar is incorrect but this will help you understand the post, please bear and thanks !

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Free English courses

This morning France is really making it's way to improve their education system. I heard on the radio that according to the Minister of Education Mr. Xavier Darcos the students will be offered possible rigorous seminars in English-language ability during school vacations in February and summer. Mr. Darcos reiterated that young and old are not proficient in speaking good English is considerably a "handicap" in today's world and for International competition! He tells that while affluent families pay for their children to study English courses abroad, he is offering them for FREE to everyone right here. He proposes as well an English courses for 2 hours at a daily basis accompanying education in high school after 16h. Mr. Darcos comments are extraordinary in a country where politicians and people have often tried to conserve the influence of France. I heard previously that France wanted their Language to be an international form of communication but it will be impossible because French language is so much difficult and expensive even for little courses. This will only be accessible for those who are able pay expensive courses. In the end they drop the battle.

Now my choice to speak with my children in English will serve them best in the future and of great advantage.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ja ich will !

As promised I will tell you about the wedding ceremony we attended last month. Two days before leaving for Corsica we went to a bridal celebration of mixed races, a French and German couple (thanks to them I met Kala). We left Friday as my Honey is on RTT (réduction de temps de travail) to get ready for the wedding the next day since the celebration was neither in Marseilles nor in Aix-en Provence. So the less haste the better right? Friday was an ideal time to leave home and it took us 7 hours to get to Auberge (An Inn) and not a Hotel. It would be complex to find a good hotel as we were in the middle of nowhere and it sounds as if there is one. As we took our destination the scenery are captivating and totally different from Marseilles. All along the way as we drove we found the environment warmer, with lush green trees, cleaner atmosphere…a heavenly splendid place. I wasn’t able to take pictures of the panorama as we thought we were not on the right track. The GPS lost his way so I needed to assist my Honey and looked for the direction meticulously. Arriving at the Auberge, the owner was extra nice. One of her employees took as to our room and we were also extra surprised to see the type of the room. It was too small with one queen size bed and another single bed apparently for the kids sad. Can you imagine we were like sardines and the room tariffs are by far too expensive. The carpet looks like it needs cleaning and well overdue or probably it is clean but very old. We have our toilet and bath but no door to close instead it was a block curtain that serves as a shutter. At least we were provided by clean towels, soap but no shampoo good thing I bought something with us! That night everyone took a shower before having dinner at their restaurant. Now, I cannot say anything against the restaurant as we did eat and that was a nice dinner. After a tiring day we finally had the chance to sleep and that the key way to recuperate is to get them.

The next morning, we strolled in the village and we found 3 “hotels” near the area and with the same services, I guess just the look from the exterior! Ah, the inconveniences of traveling. At 3 in the afternoon we prepared ourselves and get ready for the ceremony at 4:30 PM. They got married in the Region of Bourgogne, one part of France that I have never visited despite of the famous wines they have. Its capital is Dijon where Analyse and family live. I am certain in the future I will really love to visit this place if Analyse will tour me for free LOL ! The exact festivity took place in the Department of Nièvre at La Maire de Montapas (Mayor’s office of Montapas). It was the only wedding celebrated at that day. The ceremony was in French but was translated into German for the bride’s family and German friends. It was truly lovely to hear translation in German and everyone was giggling including the wedding couple and the Mayor’s representative! Indeed a joyful ceremony. At the end of the ceremony everyone’s busy taking the usual shot razz.

The reception was held blissfully that escorts to the enchanting beauty of the pristine loveliness of Chateau D’Anizy. The place is quite and ultra-romantic for wedding. In short, a place for peace, calm and beauty just perfect for a nature enthusiast.

Delicious appetizers were served....picture taking and picture taking once again. Discussion here and there, in French, German and English whew ! While dining in we have learned that a couple was also staying at the same Inn, totally unsatisfied and disappointed as well! We just stayed until 1 AM though we would like to stay late up night and go dancing but we needed to get back to our hotel room and get enough sleep for the next day will be another day. Sunday, preparing ourselves for an early departure coming back to Marseilles as much as possible to catch up the ship leaving at 8:55 PM for Corsica. There was even a brunch the next day (Sunday) but we were already heading our way back home. Anyway, that's the schedule and at least we were able to stay for the reception.

For the meantime, I will let you enjoy looking at the photos because I need to pack and get ready for tomorrow's departure for another wedding ceremony. A 3 days fcelebration which will be held in the
Alps biggrin.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Please keep them away

Accidents happen everyday in just a split of seconds. Where do you usually keep your hair dryer? And how about storing household cleaning products? Some of us, we keep our hairdryers in the bathroom for facility of plugging into the outlets. Others keep them in their drawer’s bedroom which I think is safer. Some households products are in the toilet for accessibility or store cabinets of the kitchen which is really recommended. Parents have many chores to oversee at home and this may seem very little to think of or somehow being taken for granted but we can certainly avoid terrible circumstances.

One time I was watching news and I heard a terrible accident. I will not get into details as it was a horrible incident. A woman was drying her hair while her three kids were taking a bath in the tub. Suddenly the phone rung she ran to answer it immediately and forgot to unplug the hair dryer. One of the kids took the dryer and played with it. Unfortunately, they've got electrocuted and no one survived.

Here are some friendly reminders and precautions that can help you avoid under difficult conditions :

1. Please keep hair dryer, curling irons and other electric appliances away from sinks, bathtubs and toilets.

2. Store household equipments and medicines only in the drawers and out of reach of children. If your filing cabinet have locks it would be safer to lock the storage cabinets.

3. Place fire extinguisher in case of flames. (We still need to purchase this)

4. Use covers for electrical socket if possible.

5. Keep matches, lighters and candles out of children sight.

6. Stock up household cleaners in their original containers with lock and double check if they are tightly close.

7. Do not leave very small children unaccompanied in a tub or in the kitchen.

8. Make sure someone knows CPR, it's a big help.

9. Lastly educate our children to avoid such accidents.

Let us stay safe and be more vigilant to keep our children safe at home even from small things wink. It may seem rather petty that a simple hair dyer could cause an accident but it can save life.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The challenges of my mothering in a foreign country

This is a post I made from PMN long time ago and this is my way of advertising that our site Pinoy Moms Network (PMN) is now working! According to our administrators the site had experienced some technical problems and they were able to finally fix it. All is well, BRAVO and thank you for your time and patient in fixing them! We are still in Corsica and while I am busy working out on some things I will leave you with this long post !

I speak from experience that raising kids in a foreign land is a tedious undertaking. I knew from the beginning that I would raise them differently because they had two origins. Therefore, they would have two different cultures, two or more languages, religions and everything that would go with it as a product of mixed marriages.Talking about culture, I believe that as a stay at home mother I play an important role in instilling good values and discipline while husband is at work. This does not necessarily mean that my French husband has nothing to do when it comes to disciplining our children. On the contrary, he is a big help as I couldn’t do it by myself alone. The father serves as a neutralizer when I am losing my patience. It is a matter of teach and learn relationship at home having diverse cultures. I will take this as an example; my husband does not agree that spanking is the solution to discipline our children not a part of their culture. For him the best punishment is to send them to their room and they cannot go out until they are called. This depends also on the gravity of what they did. Or they are not allowed to watch their favorite cartoons.

A Filipino couple who’s been living more than 20 years in France told me that in school, educators are teaching the children that once their parents lay their hands on them they should immediately call the police to report. As if we don’t know the distinction between outright violence and disciplinary measures. Generally speaking, we Filipinos have our own way and spanking is one of them as a form of discipline (according to research studies ). Honestly, the first thing I do is to talk to them diplomatically but sometimes it doesn’t resolve things–and the result is that they will do it again. Then scolding follows but children tend to disregard thinking that Mom loves me so she will not punish me and spanking doesn’t imply that we love them less. Now, comes Monsieur Palo (Mr. Spanky, as what my hubby calls it with an action of his hand raising). Spanking differs from beating a child. I know that we have all different strategies and tactics but personally spanking doesn’t mean physical aggression as long as we know the limits. We all know that there’s a BIG difference between physically aggressed and physically reprimanded! Now, tell me do you know anyone that haven’t been visited by Monsieur Palo ? I think we should just show them that we have the authority and be firm whatever punishment is necessary and they also have the right to reason out if needed!

Language, I am perplexed! My husband prefers that I talk to them in Tagalog but I prefer talking to them in English first because this is a big plus when they will start schooling. Since English is not a second language in France and at school they emphasizes more on European Languages (Italian, Spanish & German).

Just to reiterate, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like my mother language, of course I do! It’s just that I would like them to learn the international language as is it the easiest form of communication. I was telling him that I don’t think when you go to neighboring countries you could converse in Tagalog. While deciding what language to use we have encountered problem in the past with our son Sebastien, he talked very late. I don’t know why? Some says because he’s a boy and that boys are late speakers. Other says because he was confused what languages to use since there are three languages at stake. As a first time parent we didn’t know what to do, we were afraid. My husband (as an only child and inexperienced when it comes to kids) almost decided to ask help from a Pediatric Psychology. I myself by the way has 3 siblings and experienced when it comes children and telling him that it’s just normal that he will speak a bit late. We asked the pediatrician and we were advised to speak first in one language. When he’s able that would be the time to gradually introduce him to other languages. This is also to help him avoid stressing out while growing up. I think we were just very demanding at that time because we have seen children from mixed marriages who spoke two or more languages, we were impressed! After reflection, why do we put so much pressure on him? He is just a child. He is just starting to learn and he will all have the time for that. The reason why he started pre-schooling at 2 years and a half to learn how to socialize with other children of his age. Fortunately, we have good results he improved a lot. Having a second child is less difficult because our daughter has already an example. She looked up to his brother and we can call ourselves experienced parents. At present, our children speak French but we are now starting to communicate with them using basic English and some Tagalog words. I assure you children are like sponge. They could quickly and easily assimilate things around them.

Okay now we go to religion, so far we haven’t got any problems about this. It’s true that we are more religious and practitioners than of Europeans but this doesn’t signify that we are better Christian compared to them. Our goal for them is to become a better person and not turning them into some priests or saints. Moreover, I would like my daughter to call her brother Kuya or Ate including the children of my Filipino friends (addressing an elder person with respect).

On the French part, I simply ask my children to call Tati, Tata, Tante for Aunties and Tonton, Oncle for- Uncles� if they permit so. I have already explained to them that it is a part of my culture. As a respect, I will not insist my children if the frenchies prefers to be called by their first name because I have a great consideration in the French culture as it is their culture too. Being a parent of mixed nationalities we made guidelines to balance things at home. To help us improve as a parent of two wonderful children.

1. We see the good side of both cultures and try to merge them.

2. Learn and respect what are important from each culture and cultivate them.

3. Most especially no criticizing of each culture. It will not help. This will make the children confuse and later on take sides.

4. Punish with a loving and forgiving heart. Stop over reacting when they make a mistake. Give them a chance to explain.

5. Do not get angry at the same time. To avoid the feeling of being unloved.

6. Do not forget to praise and congratulate them! This is important because they learn and gain confidence.

7. We start talking to them about racism. That people are not the same. Colors, cultures, languages, religions, weather and vice versa. And that there is no perfect country!

8. Lastly, if you want them to speak other languages talk with your partner. Both should arrive on unanimous accord. (this is always not the case that a husband or wife will agree)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My other ME

I don’t know if you have some difficulties in pronouncing my name HAZEL (Hey-zhul). On the other hand, when I arrived in France my name became AZEL (ah-zel) some would call me ASSEL (but I am not one & I assure you I don’t create hassle) and because French doesn’t pronounce the letter H! I didn’t know that French and Kapangpangan’s have in common. In Pampangga they don’t pronounce the letter H until I became friends with my friend C who is an origin of Pampangga (we’re both working in the Hotel Industry). One night, we were watching a film at home and in that particular scene there was a snake and she was screaming really hard while watching and pointing her finger on the television to warn the actors as if she could be heared by them “ Naku ingat ka sa a-as!!” (Oh be careful with the???). At that time I didn’t get it and inquisitively asked her what was about a-as after all? She smilingly told me that in Pampangga they don’t pronounce the H so she was referring about Ahas (snake) ! Thus, the next time she asked me to pass the ANGER she is talking about HANGER (a hook or rod used for hanging clothes)! I jokingly told you her you should be calling me AZEL then! She grinned at me explaining that for names of person and places will be particularly different. They could pronounce the H without technical hitches. Ouf, I was released then my name will be pronounced properly. This is because the Kapangpangan’s writing method had only 14 characters compared to the 26 calligraphy of the modern alphabets. They did not have the letters “f,” “v” and “h” and had only one character for “d” and “r,” one symbol for “e” and “i,” and one symbol for “o” and “u.” And that is also why they have trouble pronouncing “V” and “F”. Next time do not be surprised if a Kapangpangan says Ello and Good-Vye!

Going back to France I am okay when they call me AZEL or ASSEL. I understand why they drop the H letter because it’s the rule. I asked them why and got a simple explanation that it is a silent H so it would be inflexible for them to articulate with aspiration. I will bring you further on how they pronounce my name or call me as they want them to call me. A comical story I encountered on my first visit to Corsica and at that time I am no speaking French so everything was translated in English by Honey. He introduced me to the village people and to his distant cousins. And so I met his cousin P which is now 81 years old (she doesn’t look her age). A typical Corsican woman and warm by nature. She speaks French as well as the native language Corsu. Honey told me that she speaks robust Corsican accent which sometimes difficult to understand. Then we have kissed cheeks to cheeks as a sign of Hello in France.


Honey : Voila P, c’est mon épouse, Hazel. (Voila P, it"s my wife Hazel.)

Me : Ravie de vous connaître P, enfin ! (I am glad to meet you P, finally!)

P : Comment tu t’appelles déjà ?
(she approached me closely so she could hear me right) (What is your name again?)

I had probably repeated thrice articulating my name. Unfortunately, my name is not frequent in France therefore it’s tough to remember and pronounce it. She looked at me with confusion. And P was trying really hard remembering my name but apparently my name is tough for her to remember.

P : Oh la la, c’est trop complique pour moi. Je ne peux pas me souvenir de ton prénom, désolé ! Alors, je t’appellerai ISABELLE ! Comme ça c’est facile. (Oh la la, it's to complicated for me. I would not be able to remember your name, sorry! So, I will call you Isabelle! Now that's easy.)

I was surprised too perkily that I couldn’t express since I didn’t understand a single word she said……only ISABELLE. I was like why is she talking about Isabelle? I have understood after Honey translated everything she said. I smilingly told her, it’s not a big deal Isabelle is fine! And we laugh altogether.

Whenever we go and visit her she calls me Isabelle. At times I have the feeling that I am another person behind this beautiful name!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Should I or shouldn't I ?

I don’t know and I don’t care of what my neighbours will think everytime they see me clean our car inside the residence. Well, I know that vacuum creates an irritating sound however I don’t wash the car early in the morning or during nap time. I am not that insensitive on others wanting to have a quite environment. Knowing that Frenchies often complains because of the LITTLE noise a person could create nevertheless I still insist on cleaning our car. I have kids who eat inside the car obviously the presence of bread crumbs is frequently visible. I clean the car once a week and I think there’s nothing ghastly about washing a car even inside the property. There are some neighbours who would joke and ask me to clean their car “un coup de chiffon suffit et je serai content!” (One touch of sponge and I will be happy!). Or they will tell me that husband is quite lucky that I do the cleaning. While the truth is they wanted to pass a message on me that they want their wife to do the same (and because I am the only woman in the neighbourhood who consistently cleans a car). Others would throw out a killer glance on me and apparently unfriendly probably want to ask me why shouldn’t I just go clean my car at the car wash centre and stop making noise with my non-silence vacuum. A mischievous looks as if I am causing destruction and a penchant for wreaking havoc. Why should I? I know that a car wash centre exists but we are paying our monthly dues amongst the proprietors of the habitation so why not use of the benefits that goes along with it anyway. One way is by utilizing the water in cleaning the car to compensate from the costly monthly fee. It’s just fair enough and I am not the only one cleaning the car by the way. There are very few neighbours that will approach me discreetly telling me that washing a car don’t cost that much and the vacuums are more dominant! I will just plainly reply that it’s not about paying it’s about how I wanted my car to be washed without queuing and waiting without making any effort and to tell you honestly I love washing my car, that’s it!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Just got back from a 7 hours travel from the Region of Bourgogne and stayed two days there for the wedding celebration of our friends. It was a great wedding and will tell you more about it. For the meantime we are re-charging the car to put our stuffs and by the time you read this we will be boarding on the ship heading to Corsica. And yes we didn't have much sleep for 2 days but then tonight finally we will surely sleep well since it is a night travel. See you soon and happy vacation to everyone.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Everyone meets everyone

It’s been four months since my last EB with Hilda and daughter Mayumi and I was talking about wondering who will be the next. Eventually a long-time plan of an EB between Makis and Hilda took place. Moreover, we also met another blogger Lynneth and family who apparently spending a grandiose vacation in the South. Makis had a good idea of proposing Lynneth to meet up with everyone. After my first encounter with Hilda this time will be Makis meets Hilda, Hazel meets Lynneth and Hilda meets Lynneth(just to be giving you the exact details) biggrin. I live in Marseille, Makis lives in Carry, Hilda lives in Lambesc and Lynneth will be coming from Frejus thus we decided to meet halfway. Typically an EB take place in restaurants, bars/ cafes or someone’s place but this time is just wonderful. Hilda proposed a picnic at the park in Aix-en Provence for a change out of the ordinary.

We went to Parc Jourdan and it was already 1:00 in the afternoon that our growling stomach started to whine. And looking at the KFC we just bought on the way to Aix made us ready to famishedly devour the crispy chicken once we find a nice spot at the park. Just a bit disappointed though there’s no gravy and rice to complete the KFC Pinoy style. Okay I must admit that we were really hungry and that Hilda who lives in Aix is not familiar with the park so we ended us picnicking in the "terrain de boules de Pétanques" (Playing field of Pétanques). We didn’t even have the courage to look for a nice spot with a large area of lush green grass surrounded by trees and flowers where we could really sit back, relax and eat agreeably. Particularly for not waiting Lynneth’s and family, sorry guys we were really starving it was past one already and kids are undeniably worn-out. I know we could have gone further to verify but we discovered it later after a satisfying lunch we had under a tree and beside a bench just to put some of our stuffs. We were re-charged!

With the energy we have after dining we moved from one place to another. We went out of the play field of Pétanque heading near a fountain in search for a fresher atmosphere. Since we were still waiting for Lynneth’s & family the kids enjoyed playing near the fountain and the three of us were contented chit-chatting. While Makis never stopped in checking out if there is possible area for the kids to play with. Finally, it’s just a question of going up, take the stairs and hélas there you could see a spacious, clean and peaceful garden as well as a play pen to enjoy with. At around 2:30 Lynneth’s and family arrived, introduced each one of us. And we would like to thank them for the gifts they have given to Basti and Mimi and Little Mayumi… indeed a very kind gesture. They had a pleasant lunch while we started a fine exchange to get to know each other. We savoured Hilda’s mouth watering dessert altogether. Kids play freely at the playpen. When it was the time to leave David's been sulking because he wanted to bring Sébastien with him back home. It took us little time to pacify him. Oh poor David, don’t worry if we pass by Paris we will never miss to visit you. Looking at David, we never stop bugging Lynneth to have a second baby brother or sister for David to enjoy with. Thanks for the pictures Makis, they're wonderful !

The journey was too short to talk about everything but it was indeed wonderful to have met everyone. Then again thanks to the power of blogging wink.