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I had a very French education. Some of it was good, other stuff, well, a bit too narrow-minded. What can I say? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What worries me is that my daughters will not go through the same process. They have a very different education.
As a result, they will have very different memories. Take field trips, for instance : almost all my field trips were in Porquerolles (see picture), a small island near Hyeres. One time, it was to study the ecosystem; other times, we ‘studied’ the geology or the vegetation, and then had a lovely swim…My daughters have been to British parks and forests, sometimes under heavy rain. They are disciplined and have never swum anywhere other than at a swimming pool with their school. Not really the same. It was always sunny in Porquerolles. We climbed trees and hid in bushes. I even got lost in Porquerolles (not my proudest moment, I must admit, but I am terrible with a compass). This couldn’t happen in London, could it?

This is why I decided to take them to Porquerolles. Selfishly, I thought that they needed to have a taste of where they are from. Or rather, where I am from. Anyway, I think that it is too late, they are already far more British than French. They were surprised:
“Mummy, the cicadas are annoying me. They are making too much noise.”I grew up with cicadas. How can you find their ‘noise’ annoying ?
“Mummy, the Mediterranean is really salty. It’s disgusting!” Well, darling, it is the sea…
“Nobody speaks English over here. How come?” Welcome to France, my dear!
And best of all:
” Mummy, all women are topless on the beach. I will kill you if you do the same.” It looks like the bra police has infiltrated the family. I have brought up two future British ladies without even noticing.
Maybe I should have been more careful. Maybe I should have fought more for their ‘Frenchness’. Well, it is too late now, that’s for sure. Next time I am taking them to Brighton or Whitstable, and I will stuff their faces with fish and chips (did I also tell you that they don’t really French cuisine?). Things have changed. Maybe my trip down memory lane wasn’t that good an idea. I will never get it right.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • It was your trip down memory lane! That’s the first thing we have to learn. I am always surprised that my children are Virginian in their outlook- tempered by their religion (which clearly makes them other)- but, still Virginian. And, their worldly travels just makes them more worldly.

    I am sure that is the same issue with your two…

  • jonesbabie

    well, I just got back a couple weeks ago after a cross country trip with my whole brood to meet their great grandma…thirteen of us, in three vehicles on a 4000 mile journey that could have been hellish but oddly wasn’t. It didn’t take me long to realize that my kids and grandkids are VERY southern…so I just sighed and put my California upbringing back in the box. I have managed to sneak in some liberal views to their upbringing, so all is not lost…

    Think of it this way Muriel, you have introduced them to their heritage…maybe when they get older they will seek to understand and appreciate it more. 😀

  • Do it! Burn that bra! 😉

  • Carolina HeartStrings

    Aw. Amusing but kind of sad too. I would just keep exposing them to their heritage until a little more sinks in. Guessing that field trips that included swimming and tree climbing are probably more of a thing of the past than a cultural thing. We (at least in the US) are all so liability aware that the thought of an accident (or law suit) prevents a lot of “freedom”.

  • Carol

    Keep them exposed to other cultures, that is. In hindsight they’ll love it.

  • Ann Mullen

    Taking the kids back to an old vacation spot of the mum. Did they appreciate it? I agree with Carol. MuriEL, they will always remember this even though they complain. My sister is regaling a friend of hers right now about a trip she made with mother 40 or 50 years ago.

  • Suerae Stein

    Keep trying! Kids need to be reminded that just because things are different than what they are used to, they can still be special. Sometimes even better. I don’t think it was a bad idea – they are just typical kids!

  • You need to keep doing it. They might not like it now but I believe in my heart you are doing the right thing by trying to preserve your heritage. I am guilty of the same and every single day, I try to remind myself to at least teach my son some simple Filipino words and have him eat Filipino food. What perplexes me MOST about your post is your revelation that your kids prefer British over French food?????????????????? heheheehhehe……(sorry but you have my French vote!)

  • MuMuGB

    Thanks for your support, Joy! As for the food, I must have done something wrong. That’s the only explanation I have!

  • MuMuGB

    You are right. Of course you are. But I have to admit that I am a bit disappointed with their reactions.

  • MuMuGB

    I hope that you are right, Ann. In the meantime, I feel a bit tired and disappointed…

  • MuMuGB

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It is such a shame that they didn’t really appreciate the trip!

  • MuMuGB

    It is hard work. It really is. Maybe, after all, they just don’t want to be French.

  • MuMuGB

    I would get arrested by the bra police!

  • MuMuGB

    I really hope they will. Why can’t they see it now? What did I do wrong?

  • MuMuGB

    Well, they are even less French that I thought they were. Maybe it is normal, but I can’t help being a bit disappointed!

  • jonesbabie

    Because they see and think through the eyes of children right now. With age comes insight and a different perspective on things. You will see. I saw it in my children. 😀

  • MuMuGB

    I can’t wait! I almost wish I hadn’t taken them. I came back exhausted. Let’s hope that, eventually, it will pay off…