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