Homecoming or Paris I missed you

We arrived in Paris on the 15th. It has been great so far. We are missing Papa and family but it feels so good to be home. My home. My mother and sisters. My streets. My smells. My shops. My people. My weather. So far we have enjoyed seeing family, a wonderful weather, daily strolls, Starbucks and simply living life…

I can’t believe how much good a little bit of sun and social life can do.

A Thank You Letter To Air Canada

I flew to Paris on the 15th of March with baby Sixtine. I was very nervous about pretty much everything related to the trip and I have nothing but compliments for Air Canada. We flew from the airport of Charlottetown, the smallest airport I’ve ever been to but also the less stressful and most friendly. We were allowed 50 pound (23 kilos) each (baby and me), plus a carry-on each and a stroller.

  • I was allowed to check-gate my (huge) Graco jogger stroller as well as car seat.
  • I wasn’t charged for overweight luggage – I honestly don’t think it would have been more than a couple pounds but I did cross my fingers and held my breath.
  • The airport staff in Charlottetown was very helfpul. They carried the baby for me whenever needed.
  • On both flights – there are no direct flights to Paris from Charlottetown, PEI – I was able to check-in first.
  • The Air Canada air hostess were wonderful. Smiley, helpful, and very friendly. I had a ton of things to carry everywhere with me; stroller, diaper bag, laptop (the one that died), purse, sweater, coat…and I don’t know how I would have done it without them. I was so stressed and tired that I kept forgetting stuff. Laptop in stroller, coat in plane, I really was absent-minded then and they never made me feel like I was bothering them.
  • The bassinet was great as it allowed me to eat, and have a little nap.
  • Finally, I should thank my own daughter for being a delightful co-traveler. She slept, ate and was the happiest little lady on board. Her ears didn’t bother her during take off and landing.

10 Random Facts About Canada

 

  • Phone plans are shockingly expensive. As in feeling ripped off. I have to pay an extra $10 (about 8 euros, 7 pounds) for unlimited incoming calls. Pay. For. Incoming. Calls. How crazy is that?
  • They use dish cloth to wash their dishes. I still don’t get it. My husband and I have our own dish washing gear and we don’t share. It is just as well.
  •  Canadian eh? Their accent is very close to the American one – only words in [u] sound different (like “out and about”) but in my opinion, it sounds better ! They are also vocabulary differences (ie. Ca. says pharmacy, Uk says chemist), they use words like loonie (one dollar), toonie (two dollars) and tuque (knitted woolen hat).
  • You lock the door from the inside. First time I went out by myself, I couldn’t figure out (for the life of me) how to close that bloody door. I tried, and tried, and tried, missed the bus and ended up staying home. Angry. Stupid, me? Let’s put it on culture shock. When I told my now-husband, he said: “you should have left it unlocked. It is pretty safe here. ” Having lived in both Paris and London, I can assure you that I would never leave the door unlocked.
  • Poutine. It’s French fries, with gravy and cheese. Doesn’t look good but tastes amazing.
  • Maternity leave usually lasts a year which makes it difficult to find care for children under a year old.
  • Canadian French doesn’t sound like “proper French”. Proper French being French from France. I sometimes want to pinch myself when I request French service on the phone (what is a French girl to do if she can’t have a little fix?!) and end up not understanding half the things I am told because of an extremely strong accent; Acadian French being the hardest to understand, and Québécois French the easiest. However, please, don’t be offended French-speaking Canadians: I love you ! It is just hard to understand you on the phone.
  • It is rather cold out here. (Duh !) But whenever the temperature hits 0+, it actually feels warm. Last June, my hubby and I were cruising around in the Jeep when I suddenly realized that summer had come. It was 13 degrees out and it felt actually warm. I swear !
  • The cliché that Canadians are “laid-back” is true. They are generally very friendly with a relaxed attitude. I don’t know what it is (the outdoors, the fresh hair, the culture?) but I love that about them.
  • Don Cherry. He deserves is own bullet point.

Summer in Prince Edward Island, Canada

Prince Edward Island, Canada beaches in the summer.

Click here to see Prince Edward Island, in the winter

It will be a month today that I have started blogging and it’s been a great experience so far. I love interacting with fellow mamas and dads about everything parenting and the little things. I am not sure why I started writing in the first place but it sure does me a lot of good. It is getting a little easier to write each and every day and I am hoping to get better with time. Thank you for showing interest in it and welcome to the new followers ! Stay in touch:

The Little Red Farm Worldwide Cultural Exchange

I have recently come across an amazing blog called The Little Red Farm; the author had the wonderful idea to organize a Worldwide Cultural Exchange which we have just signed up for. So what is the objective of this cultural exchange?

The objective is to share information with a group of other families about the country in which you live (or that you will be representing) so that they can get a feel for the culture of that country. This is achieved by sending a package to the family (usually addressed to the child or children) with bits and pieces that you have chosen to give a good overview of what it is like to live there.

I remember the excitement of receiving letters from penpals, and postcards from other young kids like myself when I was a girl and I believe my daughter will benefit greatly in doing such cultural exchange. I want her to be aware of the rich diversity of the world and feel that she is part of it.   I will keep whatever she receives in a special treasure box, until she is old enough to do it herself. I am so thrilled about this, I thought I would share with fellow culture/languages enthusiast readers.

I will keep you updated !

homesick: adj : “longing for home and family while absent from them” (merriam-webster)

“Quand je te quitte un peu loin, ca ressemble au chagrin, ca fait un mal de chien.” M.Lavoine

I left my douce France in July 2010. Before leaving, I managed to see all the people I loved and cared for, and organized a Goodbye Party for myself. Yes, I did that. We celebrated with baguettes, wine, saucisson, fromage and everything oh-so-French ! I asked everyone to come dressed in either blue, white or red. Yes, I did that too. We listened to Edith Piaf and other classic French singers and we all had a great time.

I was sad to leave everyone but I was very excited to go to Canada, reunite with my now-husband. The future was promising, exciting, and foreign…Since then I have worked a couple jobs, I got married and had a baby. I couldn’t be happier with my life – I have the most wonderful husband and an amazing daughter. But something is still missing. Other than a career for myself, I miss home, terribly.

5 random signs of homesickness:

  1. I heard a French girl talking while I was waiting for my baby to get her immunization needles and I couldn’t help it. I had to talk to her. It felt so good to speak French with a French person. She said “ca suffit” to her daughter and I thought that was so French. I loved it.
  2. I have been listening to French music a lot – including music I didn’t use to like.
  3. “Midnight in Paris” made me cry. When we left the movie theater, I was surprised to hear people speaking English. This movie made me travel.
  4. I watched Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain) three times and I am thinking of watching it again.
  5. I felt emotional when Jean Dujardin won the best actor award at the 84th annual academy awards. He’s French, we are family.

10 things I miss about home:

  1. My family and friends. I have three younger sisters and I haven’t seen them for so long it hurts.
  2. The food. I miss “boeuf bourguignon”, “tarte a l’oignon”, “raclette”, “fondue au fromage”, “creme brulee” and many other French delights.
  3. The streets of Paris; cafes and bars, bridges and museums, shops and tourists. Ses beaux quartiers, and bien sur, the Eiffel Tower.
  4. I miss the French language.
  5. The bakery downstairs.
  6. Watching the world go by sitting at a cafe terrace.
  7. The culture.
  8. London. (It is not home, but I have lived their long enough to miss it.)This city is very dear to me and so close to home.
  9. My hairdresser. She’s done my hair for over 10 years and I can’t believe I haven’t done anything to them since I arrived.
  10. Myself. I miss my old self.

Click here to listen to “Je ne veux pas travailler” (I don’t want to work) by Pink Martini. It is an American band but the song is in French. Sixtine and I have been listening to this song a lot lately.

I would love to hear how you cope with homesickness and what are the things you miss from home…Please share !

10 Reasons Why You Should Marry a Foreigner (Like I Did) by Corey Heller

I have recently discovered the Multilingual Living website and I am hooked already. The author of the blog, Corey Heller, wrote this post:  10 Reasons Why You Should Marry a Foreigner (Like I Did) and I thought I would write my own version here. For those who haven’t read my mini-about me section, I am French and my husband is Canadian English (or I should say Canadian Irish !). We met in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2008 while traveling. He was traveling in Europe and I was traveling in the Nordic countries ! Our relationship is so rich from sharing different cultures and languages. It brings back so many nice memories just writing about it.

  • 10. He had me at “Hello”. There is a little “je-ne-sais-quoi” about foreigners. When I heard him speak for the first time, I was so charmed by his accent. The Canadian accent is so clear, sounds like water.
  • 9. His looks. Foreigners look different in a good way. He had this big white smile, this cute Canadian flagged hat on his head, and those muscles.
  • 8. Different traditions. I used to watch Friends a lot when I was younger. In fact, I knew pretty much the whole script (you never know, they may have needed extras on the show) and demanded my mother cook a Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas eve. On top of our regular Christmas dinner. I would have celebrated Hanukkah (like Ross & Monica) had I known how they did it. I actually love Jewish cooking (their bread is to die for!) Anyways, I am deviating from the topic here. My first Thanksgiving here was very special.
  • 7. Learning or perfecting languages. My husband doesn’t speak much French but he is keen to learn which is a good start. My parents’ English is a little rusty (to be nice) but they try really hard to communicate with my husband and his family.
  • 6. Traveling. I agree with Corey. It is part of your life when you are a bilingual (trilingual, polyglot) family. You take the time, the money to visit your loved ones.
  • 5. The little things. My Canadian husband makes me pancakes with maple syrup every Saturday morning. They are to die for. And it adds to the long list of the reason why I love him. He loves my French crepes. And I will be making some today to celebrate Mardi gras – it was yesterday but he was away for work. I also love shmores (marshmallow, Graham crackers and chocolate in a sandwich melted over a fire), and many other Canadian things I had never heard about before we met.
  • 4. Bilingual child(ren). It is a blessing for them to benefit from both parents heritage.
  • 3. True clichés. Canadians are laid-back, friendly people. It is true. Especially here in Prince Edward Island. His family and friends are so adorable.
  • 2. Our child is beautiful.
  • 1. Love.  ” …transform(ed) you stranger into a lover from far away.” Matt Mays

What are YOUR reasons? Where and how did you meet your foreign other half?

Europe I love you : Traveling with baby

In a little over four months, baby, daddy and myself will be flying to France ! How exciting ! I am so looking forward to it. There are a million things I want to do with them ! I don’t think I will be able to stay in one place.

So far, the prices have been up and down but it is looking like we will be landing in Brussels, Belgium which will make it more affordable. My best friend lives there so it won’t be a problem at all – we will take the time to give her a visit, have some Belgian waffles and chocolate, and go for a walk around La Grand Place.

Then we will take the train to Paris, France and stay at my mother’s place for a few weeks. This is gonna be memorable ! None of my friends and family have met my daughter so I know it is going to be a very emotional time for everyone. I am so looking forward to walk the streets of Paris with them, and enjoy cafes, croissants, and all the little things I have been missing dearly.

I am definitely going to take a MILLION pictures !

I will also be visiting London, UK – it will probably be just me – and get a well-deserved shopping fix !

The only thing I worry about is traveling with baby. She will be about 8 months old then and there are no direct flights from where we live which is going to make it an endless trip. I hope she will be all right !

As for baby gear once I am “on site”, I am lucky to have a friend who offered to let me borrow some of her things so we should be good.

I would like to travel with her stroller and car seat. Is it realistic?

Please share you travel with baby tips with me ! Thank you !