Monday, June 13, 2011

The sling, ex-stroller, de-stereotyping

Here's the best self-portrait I could manage of my new sling, taken in our spacious bathroom. Franklin likes riding both in front and on my back. On my front gives me more back support, but on my back leaves my hands free. So I'm not sure which I prefer, either.

Our stroller was damaged beyond repair during our stay in Belgium. Luckily I'd brought said sling, or our journey home might have been a lot more difficult. As it was, I had to mail a 4kg package of my own things to our house, and I left pretty much all of Franklin's clothing behind (of my own clothing I only had two shirts and some underwear and socks). The heaviest thing on the jounrney was the food bag which got lighter and lighter during the day, though by about 8pm I was wishing it was still heavy! We left Oostende at about 12pm and got to my inlaws' house in London at about 10pm. Long trip, especially with a baby on my front, a backpack on my back, and a bag on my arm.

I managed to have something like a conversation in French while waiting for our train in Lille. We sat down next to another mother with an older baby and after conveying the second of two sentences I know in French: "I do not speak French" (the first is "do you speak English?"), we proceeded to discuss our children. We told each other how old ours were, she admired Franklin's walking, I admired her child's crawling; I asked his name--not sure if it was a French name or a Muslim name, but phoenetically it sounded like Yunis--and also asked if he slept well (apparently not).

I believe it is the stereotype that the French are rude and xenophobic. Partner says that's more confined to Parisians, and I've never been to Paris so I couldn't say. However, all the French people I dealt with on our holiday were very friendly and helpful. I didn't meet anyone rude or have any bad experiences; I think people are the same everywhere, really. I'm glad I was able to do this trip on my own and broaden my horizons a bit.


Kim Zuch said...

Sounds like you and Franklin had a fun trip! ...but it also sounds like a ton of work. We get a lot of French, German and English people here and I think for the most part they are pretty nice and easy-going, partly because they are on vacation!

Gilbrides said...

I am sorry to hear your stroller was damaged beyond repair. Having a stroller can be such a life-saver. I LOVE your new sling. Great job!!!

I completely agree with you about French people. After being in Nice, Cannes, and Paris EVERYONE we met was very friendly and helpful. I don't think we met one rude person.