From The Mouths of Babes

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Nov 11, 2019

It has been really interesting arriving in New Zealand and watching the girls adapt to life in a western country. I wouldn’t say they have culture shock (...yet), but there is certainly a lot that takes them by surprise and/or purely delights them.


Just after we arrived I took them to a coffee shop near where we are staying for a hot chocolate treat. We had spent the morning in the playground until the rain came in, so it was lovely to have a warming hot chocolate. The look on their faces, the sheer joy when the hot chocolate came out… with a fish shaped marshmallow, covered in chocolate (aka the kiwi icon the chocolate fish!). “Oh mummy, have you ever seen something so cute, yet so delicious!” 


The first day of the school holidays I took them to the cinema. We have been to the cinema before, in Taipei and in Chongqing, but I guess because we go to the English language screenings, and because there are so many choices, we were often one of only a few people in the cinema. Well this day, it was packed! To the girls amazement, when something funny happened, everyone laughed at the same time! “Oh my god, isn’t amazing, we all find the same things funny… even though we come from different countries!” and “it’s so loud when everyone laughs, it’s unbelievable!” That took the movie experience to a whole new level. They can’t wait for Frozen 2 to come out and see what that’s like!


When the girls started school, I overhead Miss J introducing herself to her buddy. “So were you born here?” she asks. “Yes, of course!” is the reply. “Well, I was born in India, but I don’t look Indian because my mummy is from Australia and my daddy is from here”. Her buddy pauses, “So do you catch the bus or does your mum bring you to school?” And their conversation continued. 


Or when I was helping FIL back a trailer to collect a load of wood. “Keep coming… yep, keep coming… woo… wooo!” were the instructions I was giving him from behind the trailer. Miss J was standing nearby and absolutely lost it. “What is this word you’re using?” She was cracking herself up. “Which one do you mean?” I was confused as to what she was getting at. “This word, wooooo… woooo.... What is it? Why did you say it?” Oh, of course, you’ve never seen us back a trailer before! “It means stop”. She was aghast “What, are you kidding me? It’s like you’re making up a new language!” Miss J still cracks up when we use it!


Which makes me reflect on a crazy conversation with Madam S just before we left Taipei. There had been a baby Cobra in the paved area opposite the school the day before. As we walked through, I mentioned to the girls to be aware “where there’s one baby snake, you know there will be more”. Miss J agreed with me, “of course, there will be a mummy snake too, I wonder where she is?” Madam S reflected “well, what about the daddy snake, we know he doesn’t go to work, so he must be here too!”


Kids really do cut through it, the conversations are so honest and straight! What’s the best comment from your kid? Please do share in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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