Thursday, October 25, 2007

U.N. Day

...or Meet My Neighbor!

Today it’s UN day…. Well I know you probably didn’t know and I would be in your shoes if it wasn’t for Chloe and Jeremy’s school big celebration today.

Everyone was supposed to dress in their national costumes… so what do you do when you have a French mother, American father, was born either in Argentina (for C.) or Scotland (for J.) and live in yet another country? I’ll tell you it’s a headache….Chloe wanted to even choose another country, Australia to dress up like her friends as Surf chick (her words, not mine). Why did I decide to tell you all this; well because as I was taking my kids to the bus stop all dressed up (Jeremy as a French Soccer player and Chloe as a French girl, i.e with a beret!! - This year they’ll be French we’ll see next year!) I was introduced to my neighbor who had moved a few weeks ago in our building. (top floor, the really big apartment, the duplex… am I jealous? Are you kidding?)

So let me give you a little background about my new friend. Yolande, originally from Cameroon, grew up in Paris and London and spoke French and English with her parents, and for some obscure reason she mentioned she also spoke German at home…. Already I’m impressed. But the story doesn’t end here; from our conversation I learned that she also learned Portuguese and after meeting her husband decided that she’d better learn Spanish (her husband is Spanish!). I know all this from just making conversation and one of the top thing you usually ask when you live in the Expat’ community is where the people have lived before. So when she said they moved to Beijing from Tokyo, I casually asked her if she spoke Japanese as well and she said that since they lived there for 5 years she had to learn it even though she's not fluent, she can manage. Well after our conversation I’m sure her "not fluent" in Japanese means darn good in my book…. I forgot to mentioned that she worked as a translator (at the UN I think) so her Japanese might not be good enough for the UN but it was good enough to travel within Japan without a guide and mingle with real Japanese families.

And now I’m going back to my Chinese lessons because I need to keep up with the Yolande’s of the world!!!! Zai Jian…