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.

Why would a French lady ever want to be Asian?!



Tomorrow, we are flying back home: the City of Lights, the  land of gastronomy, the paradise of wine connaisseurs and literature passionated. My beloved Paris, here we come!

Actually we are going to MY home.

My children are born and raised in Asia and know Thailand and the Philippines far better than France. Sushi, pad thai, pancit and even kimchi are much more often on the menu than ratatouille or clafoutis.

They eat Asian, speak Asian, but much to my daughter’s despair, they’ll never look Asian. All the compliments Ms Attila can get on her curly golden hair, her long black eyelashes and her priceless white skin are meaningless to her. All that she wants is to look just like her classmates!

A month ago, her school had 4-week program called “Continents”. They invited the parents of the foreign students to run a short presentation on their country to their kids’ classmates. Guess who was the French Ambassador?

I took the kids on a trip to Paris, dressed them like French people in winter and we had a snack with Petits Beurre and Chocolate (Mr Attila Sr being Swiss, Toblerone was a must share!). It was hilarious to see the kids trying the winter socks, most of the Filipino thought they were long gloves for summer (“like the ones of the habal habal (motorcycle) driver M’am“). The Japanese, usually pretty shy, were so proud to complement my stories on “what winter feels like”.  Ms Attila’s best friend Isabella eventually summed it up :” I got it M’am, it is like in Frozen“. Thanks Disney for facilitating cross cultural communication!

I told the kids they would have chocolate only if they can ask me in French. They are amazing at mimetic accents and repeating sounds they are probably hearing for the first time. The youngest the best, they are not shy, they don’t think their accent is not good enough. They are natural born communicators.


Spot the foreigner!

Ms Attila was my assistant. She helped her classmates in repeating the French words, and was so happy to share her little knowledge about France. She would actually talk more than me (yes,  gotta be my daughter !). We had a lovely time, and I really appreciated how confident she’d become.

When I picked her up at school at the end of the day, she was so proud to tell me that all her classmates and all the teachers wanted to visit Paris ! (who wouldn’t want to visit a town where we can have chocolate even for breakfast and as many French fries as we want, any hour of the day?).


We are living tomorrow to Paris and on top of the excitement to hug the whole French family again and eat all the treats her mothers is fantasizing about, Ms Attila is on a mission: To take pictures and collect stories to share with her classmates. I noticed that since our little session, she does not care about straightening her hair anymore, and she even told me she actually loves her blond hair now. “You know Mum, in France people have so many different colours of hair. Plus, Briana said my hair is like Anna’s“. (Frozen, thanks again for easing our way in Asia!).


Girls will be Girls !

Some day, we’ll move back to Europe, and I tell her this story again. Once upon a time, she and her brother were the foreigners, and they looked very different from their classmates.But their friends welcomed them and we shared our stories and our snacks. I’ll remind Ms Attila how she’d felt after our session, and that she has the power to make people feel as content as she’s been since then.

(In response to W Daily Post on Friends)










35 comments on “Why would a French lady ever want to be Asian?!

  1. Oh, I love this story! I especially loved this part: “Once upon a time, she and her brother were the foreigners, and they looked very different from their classmates.But their friends welcomed them and we shared our stories and our snacks. I’ll remind Ms Attila how she’d felt after our session, and that she has the power to make people feel as content as she’s been since then.”

    (And good call on the winter socks! Seriously, one of the things I look forward to the most when I go to other countries is getting to try wearing something other than cotton T-shirts and flip flops. Although I admit all the layers get old after a while…) 🙂

    • estelea
      May 19, 2016

      Thanks for your sweet comment dear 🙂 it was a little easier for the Attilas to wear socks this year in Europe .. Only because it is part of the school uniform 😉 And me, I love it. The chance to wear so many different kind of clothes in a single month, and because of the differences of temperatures, eating so many kind of different food too. One day ice creams, next raclette, and obviously chocolate every day 😉 X

  2. SnowSomewhere
    March 21, 2016

    What a beautiful story!

    • estelea
      May 19, 2016

      I am so glad you liked it 🙂 Sorry it took me so long to reply, we are still on holidays – well, the kids are! 4 months! 😛

  3. LDG luciledegodoy
    March 21, 2016

    It’s a beautiful experience, and she won’t ever forget that. They are educated as world’s citizens, although many expats don’t do so, and would have their kids at the French school. You’re giving them the best life education a kid can get. Chapeau.
    Have a safe trip back home and enjoy it! Of course, you will.

  4. lexklein
    March 22, 2016

    Have a great trip!!

  5. syllabubsea
    March 23, 2016

    What a fantastic experience. Great to hear the school is doing so much to foster good international relations in the future. My school has links to schools in Ghana and China. We have learned so much from the children especially when they visited our ‘cold’ English school. It was summer we thought it was warm!

    • estelea
      May 19, 2016

      Waou, what an interesting experience. Did they come all the way from Ghana and China? How old were they? 🙂

      • syllabubsea
        May 19, 2016

        Yes, they did. They were an amazing. Mainly around 10 and 11. We learned so much from each other.

      • estelea
        May 19, 2016

        I bet! What a great opportunity, and as you say such a unique chance to learn frm each other and be more open minded 🙂

      • syllabubsea
        May 20, 2016


  6. equinoxio21
    March 23, 2016

    Charmant. Dis-moi (nous) que vous êtes bien arrivés, sans grève des contrôleurs aériens et sans passer par Bruxelles, au malencontreux hasard d’un escale…

    • estelea
      April 13, 2016

      All safe and sound 🙂 On fait le plein de familles et de super bonne bouffe, et je ne te parle pas encore du vin et du beau temps … Je ne me connecte quasiment jamais pendant les vacances, donc plus a la fin du mois ..XXX

      • equinoxio21
        April 14, 2016

        Me voilà rassuré. Combien de temps prévu pour ces congés annuels? A +

      • estelea
        May 1, 2016

        Deja revenus depuis 2 j! les Attilas et moi sommes totalement decales, et je dois dire que c est presque agreable. J’adore les levers de soleil, et pour le coup j ai la parfaite compagnie 😉
        Heureusement que les lunettes de soleil sont de rigueur ici, ca me permets de faire croire que la nuit blanche n’a pas d’effet sur moi (ou en tous cas c est ce que je veux naivement croire 😉
        A tout tout bientot! X

      • equinoxio21
        May 2, 2016

        Depuis le Mexique ça fait 13h de décalage, depuis la France ça doit faire 8h. On s’habitue vite. Je suppose que les vacances se sont bien passées? A +

      • estelea
        May 5, 2016

        Ohhhh oui!!! C est peut etre pour ca que je suis toujours decalee, pour en profiter un peu plus 😉 Je vais rediger quelques postes la dessus ces prochains jours (pas le manque de sommeil, juste l’Europe ;). Ici a Bantayan la connection internet est tres mauvaise, donc je tente une fois par semaine .. Et comment va la vie au Mexique? Il fait aussi chaud qu’ici?
        A tout tout bientot!X

      • equinoxio21
        May 7, 2016

        Je viens de voir qqs images de bantayan. Avec ça, je crois que je n’aurais pas d’internet. 🙂 Ça a vraiment l’air superbe. 🙂
        Ici, il fait bon. 25-28, c’est la meilleure saison au Mexique, avant la saison des pluies. A +

      • estelea
        May 9, 2016

        il est des endroits ou effectivement internet n’est pas vital 😉 je posterai quelques photos la semaine prochaine quand nous serons sur Cebu. Aujourd’hui il fait 35, et comme c est jour d elections presidentielles, personne dans les rues ni sur la plage. Le paradis juste pour nous! Belle semaine et a tres vite!

      • equinoxio21
        May 9, 2016

        Elections présidentielles? On devrait les changer tous les 15 jours… 😉

      • estelea
        May 17, 2016

        Le pouvoir aux poetes!!!

      • equinoxio21
        May 18, 2016

        Au moins la langue sera mieux parlée… 🙂

  7. Ann GrubbsnCritters
    March 27, 2016

    The perfect ambassador! She’s Swiss German, too! 😉 Have a fabulous time in Paris! x.

  8. dennyho
    April 1, 2016

    How wonderful your children are welcomed and adored for their differences! A lovely lesson from our little ones who see only friendships with every new face they meet. Nice post!

    • estelea
      April 13, 2016

      Thanks a lot 🙂 I wish we adults would never forget how easy it actually is, to make friends with people slightly “different” from us. How boring would life be if we all looked and thought the same, don’t you think? 😉

      • dennyho
        April 13, 2016

        Agreed. Again, a great post.

      • estelea
        May 1, 2016

        Thanks a lot 🙂 Happy Sunday to you!

  9. Fabio
    April 9, 2016

    Another beautiful post, and with your poetic touches! Have a safe trip and enjoy your family, your city, and your wonderful country! All the best, my friend! 🙂 X

    • estelea
      April 13, 2016

      Thanks a lot my dear 🙂 All the very best to you all too! “Talk” soon XXX

      • Fabio
        April 14, 2016

        Best regards to your Mum and all the family! Enjoy everything on your home turf! So great to be home, right? Visiting my Mom and siblings on April 24th. Take care! XXX 🙂

      • estelea
        May 1, 2016

        Well transmitted, they are all sending their best wishes ! How was matzot week 😛 ? I felt so sorry for all those gluten allergic people who have to do it non stop ..
        So you must already be in Brazil ? All the very very best to you all! Talk soon XXX

  10. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Day 14 – “Flowing With Affection” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

  11. petakaplan
    September 26, 2016

    I love reading your posts…so interesting to read about the lives of your adorable kids as “foreigners” and the impact of their growing up in a foreign country. Great job! Man she is such a cutie!


    • estelea
      September 27, 2016

      Thanks so much Peta ! They are learning Tagalog this year, it is so hilarious to see the face of the other passengers in the jeepney when they show off with their basic Filipino or when they sing the National anthem..

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