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I am spending half-term in France, which is why I have been very quiet (I will catch up when I am back, bear with me).
Anyway, I have had yet another proof that my elder daughter is more British than French. She can’t say no. It doesn’t serve her well over here. We were at my Dad’s place and he offered her some Roquefort (a very strong French cheese). She answered “Ca va”. What she meant was “No, thank you, I am fine”. “Ca va” would be the translation of “I am fine”. Her grandfather understood that she wanted to try the cheese and that the size of the portion was fine. The thing is, she doesn’t like cheese, and roquefort is not for the faint-hearted …My darling daughter is slowly learning to say no, but she finds it incredibly hard. In France, you need to say “No” very clearly when you don’t want something. Tough but true.
 Signac – La Calanque

I have also decided to finally take her to the Saint Tropez Museum. It is called “Le musee de l’Annonciade”. It used to be a small church. They are showing local painters such as Signac, Derain, Camoin, etc…I wanted to explain to her that Signac started the “pointillist” movement, that he lived in Saint Tropez and that he was quite famous.
It didn’t go down very well. The problem of living close to the Tate Britain in London is that she is used to seeing Turner’s paintings. She found the painters of my childhood “very weak, and with poor painting techniques”. She might be more French than I thought, after all.
Anyway, I think that it is time to go back now.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • Learning to say NO is one of the biggest lessons ever, especially for girls!

  • Definitely something to learn when you go to France or you’ll be submerge!
    Ok I have to say I have been living more tan 5 years in Ireland and people here don’t understand NO very well – You have to be rude so they understand NO means NO and not MAYBE.

    Enjoy your time in France!!

  • Keep teaching. Those are important lessons.

  • Yet another brave sister fighting the war of no means yes and yes means no. Lucky for her she has a maman who understands these intrinsic lessons. Raising girls and young women is not for the faint of heart and yet, when I look at my 20-something daughters, mostly healthy and confident and compassionate and, mais oui, très passionné, I know the heartache and sleepless nights were worth it…

  • Ah Roquefort, cheese of the Gods and an essential ingredient in my personal favourite; Endive, Roquefort and Walnut Salad. Bon Goût!

  • Interesting and good to know!

    Ah, daughters! How truly lucky for her to learn these cultural nuances.


  • Ah well you see, we Brits don’t like to cause offense. Saying no is too risky for us!

  • It must be very confusing living on the cusp of two countries so to speak, after all, we understand right Muriel?! It’s the slight nuances that arise when speaking of certain topics or when in certain places that can be so easily misunderstood. The country in which our children grow up they really become true citizens of, even if they were not born there, so we’ll always have our work cut out for us!

  • Well you know, the influence of your story(or me) has now learnt to say no so thank you MuMuGB!

  • I am used to the Tate too but I love that Signac!

  • @ Marie – I am still working on learning to say NO…
    @ MarieHarmony – I hadn’t realised that the Irish were a little bit like the French…
    @ Thom – I will. But it is hard work!
    @ Cathy – I hope that you are right. So far, it’s only hard work…
    @ DC – you are such a connoisseur!

  • @ Stacey – I am not sure that she fully appreciated the lesson…
    @AccidentalLondoner – I know only too well…
    @ Elizabeth – You are right…What worries me is that the girls are more British than French now.
    @ Miss Agie – I wouldn’t be so sure…you see am still learning to say no!
    @ Jenny Woolf – Are you sure that you are not French?

  • Didn’t know that the French are better at saying “No!” than the Brits. Why is that? The Brits try to be nice or find it hard to say no? I always said yes to everything even when it was something I hated like strawberries, out of politeness. These days, so I’m told, I say No to everything, then reconsider.

    I can identify with your situation finding your daughter has become more Anglicized than French. Same happened when my English son became more Mexican. It’s the effect of where they live and go to school. But the French in her will out at the most unexpected moments. Just wait.

  • Wow! I always find it interesting how children and youth take in and meld different cultures. =) I still need to learn to say “No” too. =)

  • The bright side is that you’re seeing it now and you have time to teach her. ‘No’ is a powerful thing and she needs to embrace and learn this as early as she could. 🙂 Enjoy your trip Muriel!

  • I see this is my second go around…I often reread good blog posts. 😀

    Ahh youth…they think they know so much, and then reach adulthood and realize just how much they didn’t know…unfortunately that is part of growth and development, and I have been there three times with my own children, and think girls are the worst. 😀

    I have always been fascinated by pointillism and the works of Seurat and Signac. I believe one day your daughter may realize just what groundbreaking they did with their talent.
    ~cath xo

  • @Penelope – I am not sure that the french are better at saying no, but I find them easier to understand what they mean. More straightforward…
    @ Sam – I also still need to learn how to say no…
    @ Joy – Thanks! I am trying hard to teach her to say no, but at the end of the day she will do what she wants!
    @ cath – Are you sure you are not French. really, you are the first non-French to know about Seurat and Signac. Am impressed. xxx

  • This is interesting to me as I was born in Denmark, lived in Paris, went to boarding school in Felixstowe, U.K and now live in California. Oprah says American women have a hard time saying, “no.” When I say “Non Merci,” to my French relatives, they often insist that I have more, even when I said no. What do you think?

  • @ Gutsy Living – I think that you are too polite. They expect a firm no, as in “Non merci, je n’ai vraiment plus faim du tout.” Leave no other option. Good luck!

  • I am already loving the French way of behavior from the way you describe it!