Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

A reconnecting Thai Week end


Ms Attila and “Spud my best best friend”

Forward, forward. New mission, new place, again trying to make new friends.

Cebu has been the most challenging assignment so far. We’ve been here for almost a year and I seem unable to make friends. I don’t fit the regular local Filipinos chart (no we don’t have a driver, we take the jeepney. no we don’t own our apartment and I won’t tell you how much we pay for it; and no again, we are not going to Church). Basically no way to make friends with the other parents at the Attila school or ballet classes. Expats ? challenging to find any under 65 with kids of the Attilas’ age..

Last week, when the rumors of a super typhoon coming to Cebu amplified, I decided to take my most precious belongings and fly back to Thailand! BP
We don’t know anyone in Cebu, no idea of who to call in case of emergency, so Christmas before Christmas would be in Bangkok.

It was the very first time I went back to a place where I used to work. I am so used to press on Forward that I actually never had the chance to press Pause, let alone Rewind, just for a day.

It felt awkward to wander in those Soi that were mine for years. They still hold the memories of friends who have left for other missions, sweet happy feelings I had forgotten about (Mr Attila was born in Bangkok), dropping Ms Attila at the nursery every morning and picking her up for lunch.. We left Bangkok last January, yet it seemed it was such a long time ago. My toddlers have became kiddos, I am not jumping on scooters when I am late for work, will I ever be able to work again??


Its spicy, crunchy, savory, not more than 50 Thai Baht, yet it’s imbued with the potential to evoke powerful memories of things past. It’s the humble madeleine, no, Pad Thai!

My eyes and my heart were going on different tracks. Again, the Attilas proved to be my best Zen Teachers. Their energy and incessant questions would pull me back in seconds into the “here and now”.

Some things never change though. Meeting with my Bangkok friends was like reconnecting to pieces of myself. Finally being able to speak my heart out, to share the last ones of the kids with people who really care (and realize that mine are actually much more normal than I thought!), having stimulating conversations about the human rights situation of the country, making plans again, feeling empowered and most of all so blessed to have this band of super mamas and super dads around. It feels so damned good to say “what? You too? I thought I was the only one!”

The kids did not even nap. They were too excited playing with their buddies. As for the parents, it seemed that time had not impact on their friendships. They were the most cooperative travel companions, the mere « if you sleep tight now, we are meeting with Spud, Irin, Leela and Ange again tomorrow » was the most efficient good night story.

We came back yesterday night, batteries all charged with positive energy. No need to wait till next year to start fresh :

fly aways


20 comments on “A reconnecting Thai Week end

  1. Nends
    December 9, 2014

    Sweetest things! Yep. Some things never change. Xxx.

  2. Amy
    December 10, 2014

    I have so much about Thailand, all are positive. I love Thai food. 🙂 Hope to visit there in the near future. 🙂 Wonderful vacation, Estelea!

    • estelea
      December 11, 2014

      Arghhhh, the food…. I made huge stocks of Pad Thai and Tom Yum soups… Plus the massages…the smiles, the weather… Hope you’ll get there soon, also because it will give me the chance to admire the beautiful pictures you’ll take there 🙂 Thanks a lot for stopping by!

      • Amy
        December 11, 2014

        Ooooh, Pad Thai, my favorite! Thank you for your compliment, Estelea 🙂 Enjoy the rest of the week.

  3. smalltowngirlsmidnighttrains
    December 10, 2014

    Can I just say it’s cool that you take the jeepney? 🙂 I mean, I take the jeepney all the time, but I’ve been doing that forever so I’m used to the heat and the dust. I hope you eventually find chums here in Cebu. 🙂

    • estelea
      December 11, 2014

      I love the jeepney! It is so convenient, stops anywhere and the fresh air is better than the aircon, no? ok, depends at what time you take it though 😛 You should see how my kids ask the driver to stop with this strange kissing noise I will never ever be able to do!

  4. Sasha
    December 11, 2014

    What precious girls! So happy for you! 😉

    • estelea
      December 11, 2014

      Thank you 🙂 We had such a great time, and fun to see that the girls had not forgotten about each other after almost a year and were still so closed and so happy to be together 🙂 One of those awesome times, great friends, great food, great weather in a great place! Love at every level 😉

  5. luciledegodoy
    December 11, 2014

    I’m happy you made the best out of the scary time with the typhoon approaching..Best decision as it also gave you all a good time.
    Was missing your posts though…Nice to have you back!

    • estelea
      December 11, 2014

      And it all turned out for the best: the typhoon was far less terrible than it seemed, great news for the people here. And I had a blast in Bangkok, great news for the people around me here who won’t hear me complain at least till next year 😉 Glad to reconnect !

      • luciledegodoy
        December 12, 2014

        Isn’t that wonderful? All for the better. I’m glad you had such a good time. Friends are the best way to sooth our hearts.

      • estelea
        December 14, 2014

        Oh yes! Hmm.. You just gave me an idea for a future post on Cultural shock.. Btw, I thought of a post of yours when we rushed to the airport , the one where you mentioned the adrenaline rush before taking the plane. No time for pictures, but will definitely take some next Feb on our next trip to Korea so I can reblog your post and share my version 😉

  6. Cool_Eyes (ChrisV)
    January 4, 2015

    Hi Estealea if you wanted to stop the jeepney you don’t have to knock your coins on the roof just say “Kuya Para Po Sa Tabi” it’s means “Brother, please stop/pull the jeepney at the side” Actually, knocking coins and saying psst or hoy is not good or kind a rude (sorry) to the driver. You can use the below tagalog words at your convenience.

    Manong (Old Man)
    Kuya (Brother)

    I’m sure you can find your ways to find a friend in Cebu. Keep well and safe.

    • estelea
      January 4, 2015

      Well noted, thanks a lot 🙂 I have to show off with a few words in Cebuano, but the problem is that people think I can speak fluently and start talking to me soooo fast! All I can reply is “sigue, sigue”. Well, I guess I should just learn more! on the list of my good resolutions 🙂

  7. Frédéric Umar Letellier
    September 29, 2015

    “Para po” is what people say in Luzon (note the Spanish word “para”: stop)

  8. Bouaziz
    December 9, 2015

    Que de jolis souvenirs!

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