Valentine Date

Posted by Analyse at 3:34 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I’m not the romantic type. Take it or leave it. So when Frenchguy gave me the reservation card on one of the most reputed restaurant in Dijon, I started complaining... till he said it’s for me and my mom.

Oh (pause). That made me stop complaining… till I realized it’s still Valentine’s Day and it’s still baduy! The complains continued till I finally found a parking space and parked my car - probably a hundred meter from the restaurant! What an idea to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day!

Well, okay. I’ll stop complaining..

The restaurant is set in a lovely décor situated in an old wine cellar at the basement. The ambiance required a certain level of standing, Burgundy snobbism at its best. I told my Mom, Let them do the job. Just go with the flow. An employee took off our coats and accompanied us to our table. She then pulled the chair back to help us sit comfortably. My Mom started to observe the place, overwhelmed by the thickness of walls surrounding us – not even a bomb could destroy them, me thinks.

Dinner was officially announced when the amuse bouche were served. I have this bad habit of counting the hours when I dine in fine restaurants like that (we dined for 3 hours, 6 servings). I also checked the list of wines which almost made me choke. But anyway, I couldn’t take a bottle, I’m driving palusot pa!. Each meal were finely prepared, beautifully decorated and well presented. I told my Mom to just smile and say merci pour each explanation of our meal. She then asked me if we could take a picture. I said yes if she wouldn’t mind being looked at - it’s like announcing that we don’t belong there. It’s not a restaurant where common tourist go only those who want to taste Bourgogne gastronomy at its finest. With that, she suddenly changed her mind.

The conversation was the highlight of the night – it was Valentine-inspired, what else. You wouldn’t believe it but we talked about our ex-es, our crushes, those who courted us, about my Dad and about my Frenchguy. We were like young girls talking about our respective prince charming. My Mom’s 65 year old and so what? Lol.

What about you? Anything special on Valentine’s Day?


Posted by Analyse at 11:01 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When Louna’s former nanny announced that she’s pregnant, we felt real happiness for her for around a second. The seconds which followed were realizations of a long process of nanny hiring à la française.

A lot of questions were asked on what solution we would take? Will we hire an assistante maternelle (a chid-care provider who could guard 3 kids in her place) like what we did for Louna? That would mean that Louna should eat at the canteen everyday and stay at the nursery after school because that nanny would only take care of Kyla and not Louna. What if we’re both on travel and couldn’t fetch her from school before 6pm (nursery closes at 6pm)? Will we hire another person, a périscolaire to fetch her from school? Another concern is that Louna should stay from 8:30am to 5:30-6pm everyday at school. That’s pretty much for a 3 year old!

Though that solution is financially more interesting, the time constraints and the lack of flexibility are frightening us. We progressively looked at another option.

Garde d’enfants à domicile. Yaya almost-pinoy-style (not the stay-in type). Somebody who would take care of the kids in our place. In addition to being a nanny, she would take care of the different household chores like cleaning, ironing and even cooking. Another advantage is that, she could fetch Louna from school at noon and have her lunch at home. Kyla could stay in bed and won’t wake up early in the morning to go to her nanny’s place. We won’t need to hire a cleaning lady.

We long hesitated to succumb in this solution because of the economic aspect but after an analysis, the little amount of euro we would add for this option would mean comfort for the whole family.

We had been actively pursuing this solution since two weeks now. We posted an announcement at the ANPE (employment agency) which transmitted a good number of CVs and letters of motivation to us. Frenchguy and I started to study the CVs and eliminated those which didn’t reply to our criteria. With that, we were able to cut down the number of candidates to 8. A series of phone interviews followed and 4 of the candidates caught our interest. We will meet them this Thursday and Friday for a face-to-face interview (yes, we will even take a leave for that! – but hey, one of these person would probably take care of my kids.)

While studying the CVs, I had this uncomfortable feeling of responsibility knowing that the future of those candidates depended on my decision – especially in this hard moment of economic chaos. There was this African applicant who seemed to be motivated and hardworking but lacked a driver’s license. There was this woman, a former office secretary. She’s almost perfect but I don’t need a secretary! There were women who live far from Dijon but were willing to drive more than 30km to bag the job. There were those young ladies, too young to have job experiences and old enough to have kids of their own.

In this selection process, I probably practiced racism and discrimination in one sole objective – that is, to find the best nanny who would take good care of my girls. And that’s one tough job!

My Mom is quite overwhelmed of this whole process. Overwhelmed by the fact that we will pay social charges for the nanny, that the candidates are mostly diploma holders specialized in child care, that interviews are even fixed, that even a retired teacher and a secretary applied for the job.

Aba e, sa probinsya namin, wala daw lahat nyan no.

Almost Widow

Posted by Analyse at 4:49 PM

Friday, February 06, 2009

Frenchguy almost fainted last week while playing squash. His left arm felt numb, he had difficulty aiming the ball, he lost equilibrium then thought his toungue was bloated (he had difficulty talking). Somebody applied first aid on him and when he thought he was okay, he then threw up everything he had for lunch.

He had doppler examination the next day which showed that his left vertebral vein was clogged. He had anti-coagulants from then on. His head was scanned two days ago which showed that everything was normal. Everybody's relieved with the results, and him, he's again thinking of pursuing sports.

Everybody at work knew about the news. No wonder, he played with a colleague. Here's some sympathizing conversations with them:

Colleague 1: So, the poison's starting to take effect?

Colleague 2: I heard that you're almost a widow. Too sad. Try again next time.

Colleague 3: Did he already sign the heritage certificate?

Colleague 4: Whoa! You'll be single again!

After the brain scan:

Colleague 5: At least now, he has an evidence that he's got a brain.

That's French humour! I reply them with the same humour, of course, and now they describe me as a young happy widow.

But kidding aside, that incident made me realize all the more that I'm a foreigner in this country. I don't even know my rights in full detail. And how would I proceed if something bad happens? Will I stay in the same house? How will I take care of the garden? I don't even know how to start the lawn mower! How will I do with the kids without any family around? What if I need to travel because of work? And would I be able to keep my job inspite of the economic crisis? What if? Will I stay in France?

Nah! Too much questions unanswered. I told Frenchguy that he's still not allowed to go but should sign the heritage blahblahs, lol.

PS: Frenchguy's doing great and says HI.