Spring Tease

Posted by Analyse at 9:59 PM

Monday, April 28, 2008

A teaser. We had a taste of spring this weekend. Sunny at 23°C. The lawn mowers around the neighborhood were out Friday night perfuming the atmosphere with this cool spring breeze. Plants and trees, despite the sudden decrease in temperature early April were displaying their flowers and leaves with pride.

Days like these don't pass unnoticed. We had our weekend fully booked. We invited some friends over for lunch Saturday afternoon.

Louna enjoying the afternoon sun with new-found friend lil K.

Frenchguy did a 10-km run Sunday morning.

Louna waiting for her Papa then showing the flowers she picked afterwards.

Then we attended a birthday party in the afternoon.
Louna learning to blow her new toy.

Today. Inside my office. Looking outside my window. Gray and raining outside. 12°C. End of Spring.

So before I get depressed with this uncomprehensible Dijon weather, I'll go pack my stuffs and enjoy the Italian sun this weekend. Leaving on Thursday morning. On the itinerary: picnic at the park viewing the Leaning Tower of Pisa before we indulge ourselves with arts and culture (and pastas, and gelatos, and limoncillos (with moderation, svp..) in Florence and Rome. We will end our escapade enjoying rural life under the Tuscan sun.

PS: Mahirap ng ma-depress si buntis.

Régime de Solidarité

Posted by Analyse at 7:17 PM

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Like most, if not all of the EU countries, France takes social solidarity at heart. And the Frenchies would go on strike on all the streets of France metropolitan to keep all their social benefits intact. But France is spending more than it earns. A social reform is more than necessary but the Frenchies just won't let go.

Left-wing parties and supporters would criticize today's government as pro-rich because they reformed taxes so as these chosen fews wouldn't give 50% of their income to the government. Considering that revenu taxes comprise 20% of the total revenu, they need to smoothly lighten the burden to keep the remaining chosen fews in France. It's not uncommon to hear that a certain rich kid had transferred its fiscal address to Switzerland or Monaco because of fiscality reasons. Because aside from tax revenus, these rich kids are also liable for solidarity tax on wealth (assets amounting to 760,000€ on January 1, 2007). So why stay in France and pay a lot of taxes when they could go elsewhere and keep their moolahs?

So it's a fact. These rich kids are financing the majority of revenu taxes. They fund monthly allowances for kids, daycares, retirements, etc. They're cash cows. We need to keep them. Underpriviledged populations should slow down a bit on their whining and think a bit. The real victim of this social government are the middle class - like me.

So ok, I'll rant. Our household income falls on that painful 30% bracket and we get almost no financial assistance from the government. Not even the 800€ government gift for each birth. When we searched for a daycare, we learned that it will be more expensive for us to leave Louna there rather than hire a nanny (who takes care of 2 other kids). And that's because of our salary bracket.

So whatever we get from the government: monthly nanny allowance and free medications (vaccins for Louna, all pregnancy expenses, etc), we deserve every single euro of it. We pay 30%!

FYI. I normally laugh at them when I hear them complain. Spoiled brats. I always compare their social advantages to what we don't have in the Philippines. But the heck. They pay and they just want more from their money (though most of those who really complain are those who don't contribute). But I'm open to compromises. I know that we're on deficit so an intelligent reform is more than necessary. And I said intelligent reform!

Family on the Limelight

Talks are on going on the reform of family allowances. The government proposes a one-time increase of allowances for teenagers starting at age 14 (+60€) as opposed to the old version wherein, a first increase is given at age 11 (+50€) then at age 16 (+60€). The savings which will be gathered from this reform would be used to increase the number of daycare centers and to increase government assistance on nanny pays.

I was starting to get excited on the news when I heard that it will again be indexed on the household income. Darn!

4th Month Visit

Posted by Analyse at 6:58 PM

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Our visit to the gynecologist is always an exciting event. She's got a 3D doppler machine (or is it 4D?) so we get to see not only the black and white images, but the 3D image as well. She's even saving the images on a CD, great for sharing with family and friends.

Continue reading.

Buying Power

Posted by Analyse at 8:09 PM

Friday, April 18, 2008

I was discussing with a friend a week ago and she informed me that the price of rice she normally buys increased by 1€. Me who doesn't really pay attention to this detail shrugged. Anyway, I consume my 10 kilo sack of rice in a span of probably 4 months.

My father cultivates a small piece of land, enough for us to have a supply all year round and a little amount to sell for extra income. My family won't be hungry. I have my peace of mind.

But what about those who eat rice three times a day? Those who regard it as a sort of means of survival? Those who prepare it as a porridge so every hungry mouth could have a taste of dinner? Like for a lot of poor families in the Philippines, for example?

I don't even have the courage to ask mercy from God - like most of the Filipinos do. We could always pray but rice will not fall from heaven. Nasa Diyos and awa, nasa tao ang gawa. Does the government have any measure to save our nation from starvation?

I was actually about to blog how prices soared high here in France. The skyrocketing price of gasoline is taking its toll. It's effect starts to reflect on our everyday lives. Like a disease slowly propagating in our system, it's now attacking to our basic needs - food.

But in France, the government distributes financial aid to less-priviledged families. They apply some measures to control prices. Prices are indexed to the average wages of the people. I mean, one could still live a life - probably close to survival - but they survive.

I've read that even NFA rice has joined the bandwagon. But in the Philippines, everything is expensive. Clothing, jeepney fare, rice, galunggong, probably even kangkong..

An example: My sister's paying P1000 for a monthly subscription on DSL internet connection. And that includes phone line. I pay 30€ (P1950 at P65 to 1€) for my DSL (with Wifi) connection which includes phone line with illimited calls to France metropolitan and to over 70 countries worldwide plus cable TV. And I was told that her connection was a good deal based on what's being offered there. Hayyy.. and I complain that prices are too expensive here..

Dalaga Ako Ngayon

Posted by Analyse at 9:42 PM

Monday, April 14, 2008

No daughter. No hubs. Just plain pregnant me.

We braved the long 6-hour drive last Friday night, amidst the rain to bring Louna to her grandparent's place. It's her cousins' spring break so we decided to bring her there. That way, she could spend quality time with the family, escape the monotonous everyday life in Dijon, breath fresh air and sleep longer hours.

She's apparently enjoying her time there. And the family's really having great fun with Louna's new tricks. She suddenly became the clown.. and she's loving it.

It's also great for the family to get to know Louna personally. I mean, beyond what they hear on the phone and what they read on her blog. At least now, compared to what I had as a feedback before, they know and even heard how Louna talks.. a lot even. She's not talking like a 4 year old, alright, but she's NOT 4 years old yet. No rush.

Frenchguy and I took the same train to Paris this morning. Then took separate Metros (underground Paris train) afterwards. He took the airport direction (off for work travel this week). I took the lakwatsa direction.

I met a friend in Paris. We ate out, talked a lot, then watched a movie. Tagal ko na kayang di nakakapasok sa sinehan. And to add to the fun, the movie was in VO, as in version originale. That's refreshing. I mean, I don't really care if it's in French. But hearing the movie in English was like a breath of fresh air.

Back to Dijon now. I know, I haven't been bloghopping lately.. and I know you understand ;). This week, the buntis will strike again. See you around ;).

Oh Merde!

Posted by Analyse at 9:05 PM

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rule #1: If you want to effectively educate your child, don't forget to educate yourself first.

Continue reading here.

4 Months On the Way

Posted by Analyse at 5:28 PM

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Check out my latest preggo pix at the Crèche Privée. Click here.

Confort de Vie II

Posted by Analyse at 5:27 PM

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Please read this link first before reading this entry.

I'm a woman. A pregnant woman at that. I'm allowed not to go direct to the point. Feel kong mag-inarte. Buntis e. My last entry was destined to attract compassion - a tap on the shoulder sabay sabing Wawa naman si buntis. Sige, pahinga ka na pala. Gusto mo ng popcorn at orange juice?

And what did I get? Aba, pinagalitan pa ko ng aking mga blog friend mommies. Reklamador daw ako. Ouch. Napaiyak tuloy ako kagabi. Lagot kayo sa bébé ko.

Kidding aside, I focused too much on the housechores when what I really had in mind is that - Louna will soon be sharing that 6-9pm precious time with her sibling. I'm being selfish. To really get to the point, I think I'm having mommy blues. 28 months had gone by too fast and now, Louna's a toddler, soon to be a big sister and a pre-schooler, and Maman's guilty for not spending too much time with her. Spending time with her is never enough. And I remember, we were even criticized because we put her to bed too late at 9pm. Naman, bitin na nga sa kin yung 3 hours a night e.

Oh, and by the way. I don't do all those chores alone (except when Frenchguy's on work travel), every housechore is being shared at home. Even Louna is helping us arrange the dishes in the dishwasher or putting back boxes of milk and fruit juices in the fridge. If there's one person who is not really working a lot at home, it's me. Lakas ko pang magreklamo. Buntis nga di ba?

And yes, independence is one thing my daughter has mastered early on in life. She wears and removes her coat and shoes on her own. She could remove all her clothes when it's bath time. She could even wear her swimsuit alone, she loves the pool. She eats and drinks alone. She goes to bed alone. She switches off all lights when not needed (she's even environment friendly!). She does the potty alone at daytime. She could get out of the car alone (so we implemented the car lock system). Sometimes, she would even take her bag and tell us bye. When asked where she would go. She would say le pain. Oh yes, she wants to buy bread alone now. And she's not even 2 and a half years old! Though I'm really proud of her, I'm having this selfish impression that she doesn't need me anymore. Can you blame me if I want to baby her more just before the baby arrives?

And oh by the way, to console myself, I'm buying myself a Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi) with Sigma Wide Angle AF 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 Macro Autofucos lens to congratulate myself for the pregnancy. Frenchguy agreed to pay 50% of the price. I'm sad and I need a new toy :(.

And if you have a US-based internet site to recommend which offers international warranty, please do so. Why US? Obvious and simple. 1€ = $1.57. Those who already know me knows that I'm not kuripot, just a wise spender. Thanks in advance. Ayan, masaya na si buntis ;).

Confort de Vie

Posted by Analyse at 6:07 PM

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Having a second child had been a hot topic at home. Frenchguy had been wanting another one since Louna blew her first candle. I was on the other hand taken into a whirlwind of work and was enjoying it. I was given more responsibilities, given a challenging project.. and I'm the kind who respect engagement at work.

Close family and friends started to ask for a little brother or a little sister when Louna blew the second candle. I always answered with a shy smile, justifying my indifference with reasons like : Louna's still too young or life in France is difficult. Frenchguy thought I wasn't interested. Then the topic died a natural death. Frenchguy not daring to ask avoiding disppointment, afraid of my negative answer.

Then my project had taken a lot of delay. And Louna's now approaching her 3rd birthday. I thought, there's more to life than burning my ass off at work...

Frenchguy was teary-eyed upon learning about the good news. It came as a surprise. Finally, he talked about his sentiments about my reactions when we talk about having a second child. He thought I would never be ready.

Announcing my pregnancy at work was another exercise - I hate to leave my job half-done - but it's time to set priorities. My boss wished me a healthy baby boy with a little survey on the side - What if it's a girl?

The question caught me unprepared. What if it's a girl? Without too much reflection, I told him that we only plan for two kids. Then adding that Life in France is difficult.

The last sentence surprised him. How on earth could life in France be more difficult if the only reference I have is life in the Philippines? He removed his glasses and looked at me inquisitively.

So I explained.

In the Philippines, it's just normal to have stay-in all-around maids and yayas even in lower middle class families. Families are always around to give us a hand especially in taking care of our kids. School buses are available to take our kids to school.

In France, it's another kind of lifestyle, thus another type of comfort. Both engineers in a multinational company, a leader in its domain at that, we cannot really claim that we receive a miserable salary. But all we could pay is a househelp who works 3 hours a week, cleaning and ironing included, and a nanny who takes care of 2 other kids aside from Louna, 8:15am - 5:45pm Monday to Friday.

With that, a load of houseworks still awaits us before and after work:

- Prepare breakfast / dinner.
- Clear the table (Even this tiny bit of housechore counts when you know Louna has to be at the nanny's place at 8:20am and on bed at 9:00pm. And yes, sometimes, it's left unclean in the morning.).
- Bring / fetch Louna at her nanny's place (Check the time. Avoid paying overtime.)
- Teach Louna ABCs and car colors while on the road. Time is gold.
- Bath time for Louna. Oh and yes, we still do baby massage till now. Tho it takes time, it sure gives us more bonding time.
- Prepare clothes for the next day (I loss a lot of time thinking about what clothes to wear in the morning so I prepare it the night before).
- Play/DVD time in between other housechores. Story time before going to bed.
- Breakfast / Dinner. Good thing Louna's independent in this aspect.
- Wash clothes if needed.
- Do some groceries once a week.
- Please don't ask about the bed. It's quite a mess.
- Add more minutes when I need to scrape off snow from the car in the morning.

All that are simple chores but certainly entails time. We normally arrive at home around 6:00 - 6:30pm so I need to shrink all those listed above up to 9:00pm.

A typical pinoy employee working in the Philippines would watch TV with his kids upon arriving at home (or other activities, of course) - oh well, that's what I would do. This typical pinoy employee working in France would prepare dinner and/or bath her daughter and dress her in pajama during that same time. (Imagine having two kids and a husband on work travel!)

No, I'm not complaining. Grrrr. Errr, am I not?