Posted by Analyse at 6:36 PM

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

No matter how adapted I am to the french culture and their way of life, am I Frenched? Nope, not really. I don't complain over small things!

I just received a document from their Social Security System a week ago stating all my pregnancy expenses will be handled by their organization, everything will be reimbursed at 100% from the 4th month till my baby turns two months. In return, I have to submit myself to series of medical visits (thus blood and urine analysis + ultrasounds) up to 2 months after giving birth, and so is my baby. Hmm, not enough to make me complain though.

Anyway, if it's not 100%, my complementary insurance will reimburse the rest. The company where I work pays a big part of my complementary insurance, do I have to complain?

I'll be sending my pregnancy file to the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales which in return will evaluate my financial situation. If they judge that I need financial aid, then I'll have monthly allowance from my 7th month till my baby turns 3. In addition to that, I should normally receive a welcome incentive amounting to a considerable euros. Do I have reasons to complain? Hmm, nada! But hey, I just checked and I don't think my financial status allows me to receive the monthly allowance, nor the welcome incentive. Will I complain now? Ah, I guess I would rather help than be helped in this case. The law here is, the more you gain, the more you pay (taxes!). Socialization daw. I'd rather work and have constant cash inflow than aim for government aid (and be pregnant every year to have the incentive! hehe).

So much things to be thanked for, just got no time to complain.

Bakasyon na naman..

Posted by Analyse at 3:59 PM

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I hate it when I have highlighted email messages which stays for days or weeks on my outlook to-do list, it’s either a WIP (work in process), or emails which demands calming down before clicking that reply button, or emails which demands availability for possible rendez-vous or an email which demands information to which I have no answer, or worst, no idea where in the world I could dig for possible answers.

One email has been hibernating in my inbox since two weeks now. You won’t believe it. It’s an email from our secretary asking everyone in the department to fix our summer vacations!

In the Philippines, funny how most of the people working in industries had formed an allergy to the word ‘vacation’. We always have the tendency to work more and play less. A lot even converts their vacation and sick leaves to, you got it, cash!

Here in Europe, aside from our daily agenda, vacation management is one skill indispensable in our corporate life. In the company where I work, the corporate calendar starts on June 1. That means to say that we have to re-zero our accounts at the end of May. As I have no vacations yet, I only have few days to liquidate - my RTT days (due to work time reduction, we gain in average 0.83 days/month vacation). And mind you, I still have 5 days!

June 1 marks my official 5 weeks paid vacation leave. It also marks my skill on vacation management! Hey hey, do you really think it’s that easy? Let me guide you how to organize a vacation in a European mindset:

1. Choose the best date – if you’re single, that simplifies the process. If you’re in a couple, synchronise the dates with your partner. If you’ve got children, then you have no choice, you only have scholastic vacations to choose from. Once the dates are chosen, then proceed to step 2.

2. Choose the activity – cultural, sportive, leisure, adventure, tourist itinerary visit, visit families or friends or just a mix of all of the above.

3. Choose the destination – note that Europeans don’t limit their long vacations to their own country, it normally stretches out to the whole globe.

4. Check weather reports – once destination is chosen, please don’t forget to check the weather. If forecasted weather is not to their liking, they don’t hesitate to go back to step 3.

5. Check for best deals – the best gear is of course the internet, where last minute prices, promotional packages and a lot of cheap stuffs are posted. Never neglect that most Europeans are kuripots. They want fun at the least possible price! Best deals include transportation and hotels.

Looks simple but not really. I just organized our May vacation, and now, I have to start thinking about our July vacation. Heck, can’t I just stay at home?

Wanted: Yaya

Posted by Analyse at 3:57 PM

Monday, April 18, 2005

Reality is slowly getting into the picture. The question is, who would take care of the baby?

If only I was in the Philippines, for sure, di pa ko kinakasal, me yaya applicants na kagad ako, not even knowing if I’m baog or what!

Much as we want to be cool, this problem has been haunting us since we learned about the good news. It’s a known problem here in France, if you want your child to be enrolled in one of the nurseries here, better register now. I mean now, not 3 months before the D Day!

There are actually different options that we could take, it’s for us to measure the applicability of each solution to our current situation. Talking about anticipation!

Les Crèches (The Nurseries) – public or private, it could be a good solution for us. The fee though is exorbitantly high, and immediate registration is a must. They could normally take infants from 2.5 months to 3 years old, just in time when I finally restart my so-called active life.

Les Crèches Familiales ou Crèches à Domicile (In-House Nurseries) – it could be an ideal solution, considering our bébé will grow in a more agreeable environment. In fact, we will have to bring our child in the nanny’s place where she guards plusieurs children. The schedule could be more flexible too.

Les Assistantes Maternelles Agréées (Professional Nannies) – the same regime as that of in-house nurseries in terms of condition and flexibility but they are not under the community administration.

Nounou (Nanny) – another ideal solution but costs a lot higher. It’s like a personal yaya who would stay in our place while we’re out. She’ll do little house works too! Ideal if the couple have tight schedules. An advantage is that, our baby will grow in the same environment – in our own house. No early wake ups to go to the nursery. The problem is, will we entrust our very own abode to somebody else?

Jeune Fille Au Pair (Au Pair)– the best solution (well, for us). A young student who would want to learn another culture and language and willing to take care of babies and do a little household chores at the same time. The host couple will pay for her French lessons, food and lodging and some weekly allowance. The advantage: higher flexibility as she will stay in our house.

We have been contemplating for quite a while on which solution we should take, and Au Pair is gaining more votes. We only have 2 problems actually, 2 BIG PROBLEMS!

- None of his family resides near our place.
- Both of us could be in another part of the planet in one point or another because of our work.

I could of course slow down, but little voyages in Paris for a short meeting have been part of my routine already. Frenchguy, my workaholic counterpart does a lot more than me, responsibility oblige. Honestly, waking up early morning everyday to prepare your baby, bringing him to the nanny without forgetting to refill his milk, diapers etc etc, going out of work early to fetch him and other bladiblahblahs is not life. I guess we could do better.

But another problem resurfaced. I’ve heard that issuance of au pair visas has been stopped by the Philippine Government, and honestly I have second thoughts on taking European or American/Canadian au pairs. Don’t they love partying? I want somebody I know or my family knows, somebody I could trust. It will be an exchange program anyway, so both of us will gain from the experience.

Just wondering how other working moms cope up? YELP!!!

Life's Update

Posted by Analyse at 3:56 PM

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Somebody pushes me to eat more, drink more, sleep more and work less. In the afternoon, after work, instead of lurking on the net, I stay bedridden in front of the TV with my eyes closed. I have sudden urges to eat citrus fruits with salt (frenchguy finds it weird), my taste buds are not functioning anymore. I have acne all over! I feel tired! Somebody is trying to invade me!

The Culprit: A 2.5 cm budding creature, diagnosed to be 8.5 weeks old, with a heart pumping at 171 bps and surprisingly capable to bring so much happiness to anyone hearing his existence.

Color Coding

Posted by Analyse at 6:14 PM

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A friend of mine just had her former ex-pinay-now-Amgirl mother-in-law here in France and this morning, she was so eager to finally tell me her inis and relief that her mother-in-law finally left. She was so fed up as her mother-in-law went overboard by being so mayabang, and most especially, as she was told to be tsimay look-alike for having that baluga color.

After doing everything to be as hospitable as possible, that was what she gained. Honestly, when she told me about her adventure with her mother-in-law, I just couldn't help myself from laughing. I was just knocked by the idea that after long years of being in America, this poor mother-in-law still have the same standard of color / social discrimination - branding morenas as lower class citizens and fair-skinned as socialites. Oh well!

Here in Europe, we could trace back this kind of social classification in the Medieval Ages where tanned population were mostly the farmers while the noble families stay as pale white as they could. They even apply talc powders all over their body to get even whiter.

Now, the trend has completely inversed. If you've got a tanned skin, that would mean that you could pay yourself a vacation. If you've got a perfectly uniform tan all over your body, that would mean that you could even pay yourself a vacation in one of the European Nude Beaches. Sosyal ka day! And finally, if you've got a tanned skin all year round, that would mean that you've got a lot of bucks to pay yourself an artificial tan (tanning cream, tanning bed, sun lamps). O di ba.

In my present entourage, everybody envies my natural tan. Hehe, i don't have to pay expensive vacations to have that.

Well, is stereotyping normal? Ewan. The last time I was in Pinas, I was really nognog as I just came back from a long vacation, and most of my colleagues had the same remark: Ay, nakakaitim pala sa France. Buti na lang, I'm not really affected with such remark, proof, I never used whitening creams.

There's one remark which affected me though: Ano ba yan, hanggang ngayon, di ka pa rin tumataba. Well, it's past tense now, no more vitamins, appetizers, food supplements, etc. I just learned to love and accept who I am, and who wouldn't, lahat sila dito, inggit sa kin. I could eat anything I want without worrying about my weight :).