Monthly Archives: June 2012

Trusting in the Process


The little girl tugs at her mother’s sleeve.

“You”re not listening to me, mummy,” she says imploringly with a sense of urgency.

The mother looks up from her work and asks again for the little girl to repeat what she had said.

The little girl continues, “If Sophie has 2 more friends come to stay, we will not have enough chairs.”

“Oh, we will, we will, don’t worry,” the mother says absent mindedly, trying to steer the little girl away from the conversation. The little girl is adamant to finish her story.

“But mummy! Listen please!  Sophie and me makes 2, Ayaka and Emma makes 4, so if Sophie has 2 more friends over, that will make 6. But we only have 5 chairs in the kitchen. Where will I sit for dinner?”

It took me a few seconds to register what she had said. (For those of you who know me well, kawan kawan, numbers are really not my forte.)  She’s right, I remember thinking to myself. Hmmm! It took me some more seconds to realise that my little girl was doing mental maths. She’s right…. of course, she’s right, we have only 5 chairs at the dining table in the kitchen, so, indeed, where would she sit if Sophie had 4 friends over for dinner?

By the way, RN is only 6. She is still adding with her fingers and toes. How she understood this difficult concept of addition and subtraction within the context mentioned above is beyond me. But she was right in that if 2 more of Sophie’s friends came, we would have one chair too few. Indeed, where would she be sitting for dinner? Even if this mental gymnastic was based on selfish motives, I had to applaud RN. She was actually worried enough about her stomach to bring up the subject! Hahahahahaha!!! Is she my kid or what?

Why am I recounting this story, you ask. Well, this has something to do with me trusting in the process of my daughter’s education. She may not always get 2+2=4 or that 5+6=11 because she has only 10 fingers but she has understood that 6 people and 5 chairs just don’t add up. She has managed to work out that there will be 6 children by simple mental addition within a specific context. Okay, okay, she may have used her fingers to help….. but….

Mamma is soooooooo proud!

RN has had a good year at school. Apart from an apparition in the form of a  little blond girl who torments her from time to time, RN has grown taller, she has found her voice, learnt to take her friendships with certain individuals in her own stride, learnt to read and write, can add and subtract numbers up to 10 and can communicate her likes and dislikes. She can articulate the PYP Programmes of Inquiry by saying that she prefers Units to Maths Workshop and she can tell you why.

Mamma is soooooooo proud! Mamma is trusting in the process.

Mamma is also trusting in the process with regards to the teenager.  The teenager has blossomed into a more agreeable young lady with lesser tendencies towards severe mood swings. She is now pleasant to converse with and even has lots of interesting things to say.

I trusted in the process and left it to take its natural course. It was a difficult year for the mother and teenage daughter but they overcame it. That dark brooding cloud of lack – lack in self confidence, lack in self believe, lack in self worth – has finally drifted away into the far, far distance…. and may it always hover over there far, far away.

The teenage daughter bagged the first prize in her year group for a writing competition. Her story was about a dying artist fighting a relapse in memory who wants to capture the essence of his first love. His impending amnesia impedes his recollection and all he remembers of her is the colour red and all he manages to do is streak a white canvas scarlet. Entitled Scarlet, the story delves into the head of an old man capturing his frustration and anguish as he leaves this world torn between an impressionable experience and trying to recapture it through a fading memory.

The MYP has really contributed to a great l’anee scolaire for SS.  She is embracing the Learner Profile with each passing year and I can see that her learning is evidently becoming more inquiry based.

 Mamma is sooooooo proud once more. Mamma is trusting in the process.

 

When I first arrived in Paris and tasted my first morsel of Chinese food, I felt a sense of depression slowly seeping into my bones between mouthfuls of riz cantonnais.  How would I survive on such low quality Asian food?

You see, kawan kawan, I grew up in Singapore with the best quality street food in the world, in my opinion. Then I moved to London where Cantonese Roast Duck is even better than what you’ll get in Hong Kong. Oodles of noodles served with a whole lobster chopped up to make shelling easier and soaked in a ginger and spring onion sauce is so mouth wateringly delicious and affordable that I developed a craving for it during my second pregnancy and eating lobster noodles at the Mandarin Kitchen at Bayswater became a religious fortnightly ritual.

Yet I trusted in the process in Paris, kept an open mind and three years into my sojourn here, I will report that I’ve managed to find Thai food so authentic it’s like dining in Bangkok. Korean food tops any that I’ve tasted outside of Seoul and Japanese Ramen eateries galore serve up the best soup noodles in a broth so tasty that I look forward to my next bowl for the coming winter. Chinese food still has some catching up to do. However, if you are fan of rustic Chinese cuisine, there are plenty of eateries here in Paris to be found.

Kawan kawan, I’m no longer depressed when it comes to eating Asian in Paris. I trusted in the process and the process has given me eating buddies in the newly formed Lunching Ladies by mny. Through this group of gourmandes, I’ve discovered hidden gems where gastronomic treasures are prepared to outstanding quality.

I would like to end this academic year on a sweet note, kawan kawan. Today, I discovered Toraya, the japanese dessert chain store. Lunching there with the beautiful Jayde, blooming with pregnancy hormones and looking chic in her robe en noir and Chanel bag, I bit into my petite bouche size sesame filled mochi and was immediately transported to heaven. Teamed with sencha so pure and clean, I relaxed into my leather bound bench and sighed with immense pleasure. Sometimes, the best things in life are just so simple, just trust in the process.

Simple Pleasures

Kawan kawan, thank you for your support and for following my blog posts in the past year. I hope that I’ve managed to entertain where entertainment was necessary.  I hope that for many kawan kawan far away, it was a way for all of you to catch a glimpse into my Parisian life.

I will be back in full force at La Rentrée, energised by the sun in S.E. Asia and raring to discover more places to chow away in the City of Light.

Dwelling on Delft


I took myself on a mini break in Mach with a couple of girlfriends to Delft in Holland.  It was a super easy and painless train ride, coupled with a short métro ride to Delft from Rotterdam. This was all possible due to the superb organisation of my friend, M Van Opstal, who in her spare time as alumni mum to the ISP organises tours around central Paris and sometimes even beyond.  Her Paristours has gone from strength to strength, an activity she started when her daughters were at the ISP as a way for her to visit Paris and get to know other parents at the school.  She has became synonymous to Paris Walks, the company that supplies her the animated English speaking art and fashion tour guides who talk about their passions with in-depth references and knowledge.

For her efforts, Mona collects only a 3€ buffer fee to cover some costs and an average of 12€ for each tour.  She doesn’t make on any of the tours organised, the 12€ fee goes to Paris Walks.

The trip to Delft was organised for girlfriends,that means sans enfants et maris. So the gang only consisted of me, CB and Mona.  We had a fun filled weekend, staying the Leeuwenbrug Hotel.  This is a charming little hotel housed in a 15th Century mansion house typical of Delft.

Delft is famous for amongst other things, Vermeer and the Delft Blue Pottery.

Vermeer who was born there, painted the daily scenes in Delft that made him so famous. His most famous painting to date is “Girl with the Pearl Earrings”. This sits in the art museum, Mauritshuis, at the Hague.  “Girl with the Pearl Earring” made literary history when Tracy Chevalier wrote a book entitled the same, a romanticised story of the subject in Vermeer’s portrait based on the life and times of Vermeer.  This novel has since become a motion picture star Scarlett Johannson.

It was interesting to read the copy of the book that I had purchased at the Vermeer museum and finding the references that Chevalier wrote about in her novel.  For example, the star in the main square that she referred to and the New Church built in 1381 and 1496 where some members of the Dutch Royal family are buried.

Delft is also famous for Dutch pancakes!  Well, Delft is as famous for Dutch pancakes as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, being in Holland.  Lunch on the day of arrival was at a Dutch eatery that serves traditional Dutch pancakes and other Dutch delicatessen. The difference in the Dutch pancake from the French, bretagne one is in the consistency and the thickness; the Dutch version is more dense and the ingredients  are mixed into the batter. Secondly, the Dutch love to combine their savouries with fruits, usually cooked fruits. This is the pancake that CB ordered which is filled with ham, onions and cheese topped with pineapple.

Going Dutch on Pancakes

Mixing flavours is actually a rather Asian thing. In Szechuanese cuisine, mixing sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavours is very common. The magic is in the mix of the right amounts of everything. In Thailand, main dishes are served with a variety of condiments that include sugar, chillies, fish sauce and lime juice. I love making a dipping sauce of naam plaa (fish sauce), sliced chillies, sugar and minced garlic. It’s totally divine served with pan fried fish or doused over fried hor fun noodles, if you were me! 🙂

I had a wonderful time in Delft. It was a short trip which worked out well because the Italian only had to feed the children for 2 nights. I returned home tired but elated to a happy husband and satisfied children. They missed me but not that much!

** We went in March just before the Pâques vacances. It was an agreeable time to go, the weather was a little chillier than anticipated but I had my warm coat and a scarf with me, so it was a rather toasty trip. So if you are considering travelling at this time of the year, dress warm, even if the weather forecast promises bright skies and sunshine. CB will vouch that this is the best advice.