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.

Where is “Home” for my Multicultural kids?

TCK

Born and raised in Asia, they flew before they could walk. French by their Mum, Swiss German by their Dad, 6 y.o altogether and already fluent in English, French, Bärn Deutsch and Mandarin. Thailand taught them how to bow before Buddhist altars, we celebrate Hanukha and Christmas, and they already understood that God has many, many houses. Meet my kiddos, Mr and Ms Attila!

Our little tribe has been always from (my!) home forever. When I asked Ms Attila where is home for her, she raised her eyebrows and said “which home? the one of the Philippines? Swissor the one in Paris with the cousins and Mamyvette?” Heu.. “or Dad’s home with the snow?“..

We have been moving from a humanitarian posting to another every other year. If there is no place our family have ever called”home”so far, it’s probably because we don’t stay there long enough. I came to think that our children would probably suffer from this “lack of belonging”, but my daughter proved me wrong. Like her brother and all kids of their age, they are like little sponges, absorbing the culture, the language, the positive attitudes of their surroundings. She made me realize that we are actually more fortunate than I thought: no, we don’t have a place we call home. We have several! My home means a lot to ME. There is nothing comparable to the joy of “going back home to my family” every year.Supergirl The more I travel, the stronger I feel connected to my roots. I am not sure my kids need to have “their own home”, at least for now.

But I need to share mine with them. I want them to know all there is in their “French home”: a big place to build memories with their loving French family, to savor incredible fruits and cheeses (they already know the perfect meanings of Pains au Chocolat and macarons) , to wander among giant trees and breath the pure air of the forest, to thank Mother Nature for the marvels of the seasons, to admire the meanings of Arts and History …

We don’t need to live in France all year long for them to feel their French heritage. My kids are also fluent in Skype/Facetime and Viber to connect with their grand parents and cousins! We have lots of books in French, and my country has enough castles to host all the Disney Princesses. According to my husband, the kids even speak Swiss German with a French accent! If we can not go to France now, let France come to us!

We are currently considering our next move. Our contract in the Philippines comes to an end next year. Should we get closer to Europe, to our families? or keep on traveling before schooling gets really serious?..

After all, Home is only where our stories begin 🙂 islandhopping

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56 comments on “Where is “Home” for my Multicultural kids?

  1. brittabottle
    May 15, 2015

    Your children are so lucky to be able to experience so many places and cultures at such a young age. Loved reading this post!

    • estelea
      May 16, 2015

      Thanks Britta 🙂 You are right! sometimes I tend to worry about my lack of productivity, “real” work. Then I look around, see them running on the beach and I realize that less money on a bank account does not mean less fun! 😉
      (but hey, don’t think I am right before you finish your studies and work at least 10 years ok? 😉 X

  2. tinyexpats
    May 15, 2015

    Wonderful post! Will be reposting this!

  3. tinyexpats
    May 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on TinyExpats and commented:
    This is a topic close to my heart and Estelea talks about it in a very inspiring way.

  4. LifestyleswithLia
    May 15, 2015

    Estelea, this is such a joyful post, full of love, gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities you and your family have experienced in life. It is an absolute gift you have given your children by teaching and exposing them so many languages and filling their lives with diverse cultures and vistas.
    As you contemplate your next step where to live, it is so true what the old expression says…”Home is where you hang your hat.” A home doesn’t mean the address or the zip code…it means the love and emotions that fill 4 walls!
    What a lovely post — thank you for sharing it with us!
    Much love,
    *Lia

    • estelea
      May 16, 2015

      I love it so much, when you say that a home means the love and emotion that fill 4 walls ! Wish I would have been able to write it so perfectly 🙂
      Thank so much for your very precious comments, always ❤

      • LifestyleswithLia
        May 16, 2015

        Thank you my dear! Your comment fills me with joy too!

  5. Ann GrubbsnCritters
    May 16, 2015

    Super like!!! Especially how you ended it “home is where our stories begin”. That tugs at my heart-strings.Xxx.

    • estelea
      May 16, 2015

      It is so true, don’t you think? Cheers to beautiful stories 😉 XXX

  6. Amanda Afield
    May 16, 2015

    Great post! Even though I don’t have kids, sometimes I feel that way about myself, being a little confused about where I belong! But your children are experiencing so much and technology helps so much with keeping in touch!

    • estelea
      May 16, 2015

      Thanks so much! Are you too a “third culture kid” or where you born and raised in the same country?

      • Amanda Afield
        May 22, 2015

        Born and raised in the same country, but after turning 18 between work and university I moved around a lot, and our posting here is turning into the place I’ve lived longest as an adult!

      • estelea
        May 25, 2015

        Waou, but you still consider the country you were born in as “Home”?

      • Amanda Afield
        May 26, 2015

        Yes because I intend to return at some point! 🙂

      • estelea
        May 27, 2015

        I like that 🙂 food for thought for me…

  7. lexklein
    May 16, 2015

    They are very, very lucky kids. What they have “lost” in the way of a permanent home, they have gained in life experiences, attachment to many places, and dearest to my heart, all those language skills!

    • estelea
      May 16, 2015

      Oh yes, those language skills never cease amazing me! when I hear them switching from English to French and B Deutsch, I am totally speechless, still, especially with their perfect accent. And believe me it takes a lot for me to be speechless!
      When they sing in Mandarin, I still have a hard time believing this actually means something!
      When you hear me speaking English, you know in a sec where I am from 😛

  8. creakingbones
    May 16, 2015

    Your youngsters are fortunate indeed. Their multilingual ability is a wonderful asset for them as they grow into adulthood.

    • estelea
      May 17, 2015

      Thanks 🙂 This is only at their age that they can learn so easily, they are like little sponges, copying perfectly the accents around.. Far better than I ever will 😛

  9. The Greenwich Mummy
    May 17, 2015

    You are so wonderful and this blog post pretty mum sums up how I would love to be – I’m Vietnamese, my son’s dad is Congelese and so speaks French as well as his native tongue while our little one speaks English, understands Vietnamese and coming to terms with French too – sometimes I feel sorry for him that he has to learn so many languages but thank you for assuring me that it is very possible for him and I’m not asking too much of him 🙂

    • estelea
      May 18, 2015

      Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂 No worries at all, the soonest the best to learn a new language. Kids do it so naturally, and they re so fortunate to be able to learn so many different languages. French, Vietnamese, English, your son won’t have to look for a job, the jobs will be running after him 🙂 At first I felt like you, a bit worry. But you are actually giving them a great chance to “muscle” their brain (as kids specialists say) by learning so many new sounds, and be able to understand and reproduce.

      So no worries, Supermama, you are doing just great ! And not only because your son speaks French 🙂

  10. Nath
    May 19, 2015

    Beaucoup d’émotions dans ce post. On sent l’amour d’une maman et toutes ces questions qui viennent du désir de donner le meilleur à tes loulous.
    Moi, je sais que tu leur donnes le meilleur. Mais le plus important c’est que eux, tes Attilas, n’ont aucun doutes sur le fait que tu leur donnes le meilleur.

    • estelea
      May 19, 2015

      Tu sais que j’t’aime toi ?? Merci pour ce doux message qui me fait tellement chaud au cœur! Je t’embrasse très fort ❤

  11. that traveling nurse
    May 22, 2015

    Home is where your heart is. You and your family are blessed to have the experience of living in so many different countries. And your kids will surely be thankful for this opportunity once they have all grown and raise families of their own. 🙂

    • estelea
      May 25, 2015

      We hope.. Funny to see how their tastes are different than ours though; I am mesmerized by the Pinoy sandy beaches and pristine waters, and everytime I point them to Ms Attila, she looks at me as if I had just landed from Mars and say “Mum, I know what a beach is”.
      Same looks I actually give her when she is totally out of word admiring the Eiffel Tower.. “It’s just iron, girl, come on!” 😉

      • that traveling nurse
        May 25, 2015

        Ha, now this is funny! Just iron? 😛

      • estelea
        May 25, 2015

        For us, we live by it, so OK it’s nice, but it does not impress me as the sunset in Bantayan 😉 I guess we always crave for what is exceptional for us … The Attila is a real tourist when we visit France, they are even surprised to hear people speaking.. French!

      • that traveling nurse
        May 25, 2015

        I totally agree! Hey, Ms Atilla’s mom speaks French! I guess she is much more used to hearing Bisaya then eh?

  12. Pingback: Photo 101: Home | Estelea's Blog

  13. justbluedutch
    February 26, 2016

    Someday, your Attilas will thank you for rewarding them with great adventures, they will just look into your eyes & smiled whenever they would look back at their old photos from every country you touched on. As long as you are there by their side & nurturing , Home is where your heart is. Enjoy this moment !

    • estelea
      February 28, 2016

      I couldn’t agree more with everything you wrote! Home is anywhere we are as a strong and happy family, they are the suns I always carry with me. So no matter if our next posting is rainy UK ! And whenever they ll feel the need to fly away from the nest, that will be fine .. I ll go with them!! 😉

      I appreciate your comments even more knowing that you are feeling the same with your family. Thanks again for your precious words!

      • justbluedutch
        February 28, 2016

        You are always welcome..I find comfort also in your comments. Sometimes I thought my thoughts are odd but whenever I hear logical and reasoning from your side it helps me feel that I’m not the only one in this situation. Inspiration like the way you’re raising your child in my country makes me appreciate your character even more.Keep it up, I’ll be following up your adventures wherever you may go & your family.

      • estelea
        February 29, 2016

        I have to share with beautiful quote with you, sent by my Mum, because I know it s written for you too : “Rest easy, real mothers. The very fact that you worry about being a good Mum means that you already are one”. ❤

      • justbluedutch
        February 29, 2016

        Why so sweet? Thank you…you have given me enough inspiration already? The one thing that I struggle as a new Expat mama here in Kw is that I couldn’t find (i mean rarely) a total person who thinks like me & share my common interests..Really! Most of the friends I get to know here have different priorities..nobody would even bother to watch the sunrise as I did, or write a Blog. I am grateful that I have found a soul sister in you. Your life experiences & attitude really amazes me at same time make me smile. Thank you Estelea.That was a beautiful Quote..likewise to you.X

      • estelea
        March 2, 2016

        Tell you what, I can totally relate to your feelings!
        I had been feeling just the same for months, and it was actually hard, because there is nothing really to complain about but this weird feeling of loneliness in a foreign country . When I met the expat community, I felt pretty disconnected, as I am not a party animal and I am more excited about exploring my surroundings than spending money on booze ..
        But blogging introduced me to some great people, from so many different horizons. Then I added a bit of yoga and meditation. And you ll see that the special relationship you are knitting with your daughter is so special. I had no idea my kids could teach me so much, and how beautiful it feels to be able to spend quality time with them.
        Eventually, we don’t need much beside being surrounded by people sharing the same kind of energy and inspiring us, right? Your very precious comments are the best encouragements, thanks Soul Sister 🙂

  14. equinoxio21
    March 5, 2016

    Keep on traveling. Mon conseil. 🙂
    (Mais chuis un peu biaisé…) 😉

    • estelea
      March 5, 2016

      Quelque chose me dit que c’est un bon conseil qu’on va suivre … (et bien sur je ne suis pas biaisee du tout!)

      • equinoxio21
        March 8, 2016

        Bien sûr… 🙂

      • estelea
        March 8, 2016

        Affaire a suivre …

      • equinoxio21
        March 10, 2016

        Quand prenez-vous votre congé annuel déjà? En Mars?

      • estelea
        March 10, 2016

        Mes enfants te repondraient “Dans 12 dodos” !!!

      • equinoxio21
        March 12, 2016

        Charmant. Dans une semaine presque… C’est bien. Ça fait du bien de se retremper…

      • estelea
        March 12, 2016

        … dans le bon vin, les fromages et les pains au chocolat 😉 Je me suis inscrite a un site de cours de yoga online pour me donner bonne conscience .. Cocorico!!!

      • equinoxio21
        March 13, 2016

        Ah, les pains au chocolat. Nulle part ailleurs ils ne savent les faire… 🙂
        (On ferme les yeux et on rentre dans la boulangerie à 4h de l’après-midi… Hmmm)

      • estelea
        March 14, 2016

        Dans une semaine !!! On arrive le matin, je sais deja ce qu’il y a aura sur la table du mega “petit” dej 😉

      • equinoxio21
        March 14, 2016

        Super. (Des chouquettes aussi?) 🙂

      • estelea
        March 15, 2016

        Bien sur 🙂 et passage obligé par la case macarons framboises.. le fruit le plus exotique qui soit pour mes enfants!

      • equinoxio21
        March 16, 2016

        Je les comprends tout-à-fait. Quand on étaient petits, habitant en Afrique, et venant passer les congés en France, une amie de mes parents avait une maison dans l’Oise, avec des framboisiers… Hmmm.

  15. equinoxio21
    March 5, 2016

    Ps. J’aime bien les photos “minmalistes”, un peu comme des ombres ou des reflets. Joli.

  16. gretalamfel
    March 15, 2016

    I was captivated by your post and feel that my children will have the same blessing to be multicultural, it is indeed a blessing! Belgian, Congolese and South African culture all in one. Planning on teaching them French, English and Dutch 🙂

    • estelea
      March 16, 2016

      Waou, this is so great! you are giving them so much by exposing them to those wonderful cultures.. You’ll be amazed by how fast they can learn a language and I am still puzzled to see them switching from one to another with so much ease.
      My 5 yo has been watching Pipa Pig and she could imitate the Brit accent so perfectly after 5 mn. When my 3 yo pretends to speak like Tigroo (in Winnie the Pooh), his American accent is simply perfect. Wish I could do that… But for some reason, people never ask where I am from.. My French accent is heavily obvious 😉
      Multiculturalism is a blessing, it transcends the stupid social bariers and children won’t notice what is normal to them: there is nothing like a foreigner, difference is inspiring and you ll see how easily they will blend in any group 🙂

      All the very very best, and looking forward to chatting here or there

      • gretalamfel
        March 16, 2016

        🙂 Very true, keep in touch!

  17. akansha1991
    May 25, 2016

    Wonderful post! you children are so cute

    • estelea
      May 26, 2016

      Thanks so much 🙂 Yes, they are my best cardio coaches and little zen master residents 🙂
      I tried to access your blog but seems that the link is broken? But at least I could admire your pict, so very beautiful! Was it at your wedding ?

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