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)