Monday, September 24, 2007


It's true that the French are unique.

Sometimes you get so annoyed with their arrogance, but it is difficult to deny that these lot of people are very cultured. They are interested in other people's culture, colour, food, language and history. Their fine cuisine is undeniable with a wide range of palette consisting of spices from all over the world and fresh seasonal ingrediants. Their artistic superiority is obvious and their chic style is well known all over the world. Their languange is sexy, to say it bluntly, and their literature is rich.

Often you get frustrated with their inefficiency and relaxed attitude towards life. But, at times you can't help but admire them for cherishing life every single day. All the shops are closed for at least a two hour lunch break because they can't accept lunch that is less than a 3-course meal and without wine and coffee! When you walk at the park, you can't help but feel envious when you see a group of teenage friends frolicking on the grass, munching on berries, laughing, singing and dancing away with the tune that comes out of their lap top. When you see a couple of elderly women who look like good friends dressed so elegantly while walking their dogs and probably talking about everyday mundane things, you think to yourself that this is how you would like to grow old. Then, you see a group of young mothers comparing notes on parenthood while their children having a time of their life running around the park, and you think what a healthy society this is!

On the weekends and especially when the weather is good, their favourite pastime would be to have an all-day lunch or coffee in the evenings, while watching people pass by. I mean, I know that in many places we do it too - but somehow we're not as confident as the French as to line-up the chairs and tables in this manner so you can just enjoy people-watching!

Friday, September 14, 2007

life in france - part 2

We've settled back in Fontainebleau after the summer holidays, but this time our life feels very different than the first half of the year.

Firstly, Imran is at a completely different stage than he was before - much stronger, sociable and eating almost anything! He is enjoying the playroom at INSEAD like he never did before - getting into the walkers, crawling into the tunnels and tents, pushing the tricycles and (unfortunately) 'ransacking' all the toys from the shelves. He relates to people much better too. So, I can stop make-believing that he has friends here because he really does now!

Then, it's the new house - I just love it. This view from our bedroom of our courtyard entrance and the neighbour's gorgeous garden creeping up the wall is just heaven for me. The neighbourhood is typically French with tiny streets and neighbours in such close proximity. I've always walked into these streets before, peeping into their windows and wondering to myself how it feels like to be on the other side of the window. And here I am, cooking Imran's food every morning while he's playing in the kitchen and watching people pass by with their dogs and children. We greet each other and they can tell exactly what Imran is having for lunch as I'm chopping and cooking away on the kitchen stove! How strange and interesting it is to be in your private world in such close contact to the public domain.

Lastly, I have now started to drive around. We changed our leased car to an automatic one, so it is not so daunting for me to be driving on the other side of the road. I feel much more mobile now compared to before, which is just great!

Friday, September 07, 2007

a very difficult goodbye

It was one of the most difficult goodbyes I've had to do, when I left for France two days ago leaving my parents and family after spending two months of the summer holidays with them. I know very well that they are going to miss Imran and me tremendously, especially during this trying times of Mama going through chemo.

They will miss having Imran as the centre of attention at the dining table when we have breakfast together. Imran too will miss having his Dada feed him his biscuit in the morning, his Dadi's very interesting 'toys' dug out from the kitchen cabinets, his Tita Theresa talking to him in Tagalog and his Aunty Nelly playing hide and seek with him in the evenings. He will miss the sounds of the ice-cream van, the motorcycle horn of the bread man and kids playing around the neighbourhood. He will miss the house, his room and definitely his 'jungle gym' where he plays at every day!

But, as they keep reminding me - life has to go on. And the longer I stay, the harder it will get for all of us - which I guess is true.

The only thing that makes it a bit easier was to see the expression on Dino's and Imran's faces as they reunite. Sometimes in life, we just have to be strong, no matter how hard it may seem.