Monthly Archives: February 2014

Mother tongue – how do you define yours?

Interesting breakdown of different terminologies used to describe your comfort level with multiple languages.

multilingual families raising bilingual children

Mother language Happy International Mother Language Day! There could not be a more appropriate day than today to reflect on the term ‘mother tongue’ – but what does it really mean, especially if you speak more than one language? How should the term be defined in general and what specific meaning does it have to me? Warning: there will more questions than answers in today’s post.

There is a wonderful proverb in Swedish “Kärt barn har många namn”, the literal translation being “A beloved child has many names”, which is very true for what is generally called the ‘mother tongue’. One of the definitions is that it is ‘the language which a person has grown up speaking from early childhood’. This is generally a viable definition, but what if you for example move to another language environment or get adopted and forget the language you spoke when growing up – are you…

View original post 686 more words


Phuket (Meridien) with toddlers 子連れプーケット旅行(メリディアン プーケット)

The Beach

Here we go again, We are off!  This time to Phuket for Marc’s birthday/Valentine’s Day weekend.  We kept this one short and sweet and headed to a large resort with all the amenities.

We were again joined by my sister, who is doing a tour of Asia and using our place as a hub.  We maintain a SPG membership (Starwoods Preferred Guest program) and once a year do a trip with SPG hotels, we decided this time to go to Le Meridien Phuket resort which had an excellent rating on TripAdvisor.  I actually debated between Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi and Phuket and made the decision based on the review of all the SPG hotels in the areas.  The hotel is about an hour away from the airport, which has a single taxi operator. We approached the operator desk, asked for the flat fee, paid upfront and the assigned driver brought us to our destination.  Easy enough, can you find a cheaper deal on a tuk tuk? I’m sure you can, but nothing beats the ease of a pay-upfront system when you have the energetic littlies with you.

The flight was only an hour and a half and both Mila and Nina were exhausted from the early morning, so they were both very easy on the way there.  (I regretted underestimating them on the way back) We arrived at Le Meridien with no problems.  The hotel was beautiful and clean, with a perfectly pristine private beach. They just finished their renovation work in 2013, so the hotel feels new.  Since it’s a bit isolated, as SPG resorts tend to be, the beach is pretty solely reserved for the hotel guests. As an outside guest (my sister stayed at a cheap hostel by Patong Beach to save the points on more expensive destinations), you are required to purchase a guest pass to use the hotel facilities that will set you back 2000 baht (77.7SGD, but includes a decent seafood BBQ lunch. We did have to argue to let her into our room to babysit our kids for Valentine’s Day dinner, but they were generous about accommodating our slightly unusual request.  The hotel also has a relatively shaded outside playground and kids club, though we never made it to either.  They also offer babysitting services. We spent the mornings on the beach in the shade by some rocks and afternoons in the pool.  The children were plenty entertained. The parents took turns doing a bit of snorkeling, though we seemed to be the only people there with the equipment.  It did require us to swim by the rocks, if we wanted to see anything, which wasn’t necessarily recommended by the “swim in between the flags rule.”  There were some fish, but the area was not a coral reef, so nothing spectacular.  Enough for me to enjoy a calm time following small schools of fish though, if you’re lame like me.   The water was warm and beautiful and super refreshing to swim in, plus the white sand beach was soft and smooth on the feet.  Not as fine as the beaches in Bohol, but it’s a perfect beach for a weekend getaway.

The highlight for the children was the twice a day visit from Valentine, a 4 year old elephant with a same birthday as Marc.  Adorable little (big-little) friendly gal that came and hung out at noon and again at four.  Although the kids would get too scared if they saw the front of the elephant, the two toddlers followed around the elephant’s butt.  Nina would describe how big the elephant’s bum-bum is for a long time….Mila goes BUUUM now.  Great, first word list, Ma-ma, Da-da, BUUUUM, Pop-Pop (from the Hop on Pop Dr.Seuss book).

The  standard room was pretty large, big enough for a family of four with the staple comfy SPG hotel bed and some room for the kids to roam around. They also provided some welcome fruits for kids snacks and extra bottles of water for the children. Well, we also brought two loaves of bread to avoid any hungry angry toddlers moments. The kids finished one loaf over the long weekend. The service was great and they made extra efforts to make sure we were comfortable. Without me saying anything, they brought a large piece of cake with four small plates to our room with candles.  We sang Happy Birthday for Marc in all three languages and Nina was very happy to show off her Chinese.  Clean, modern, and they have the universal plug socket as long as you have a converter for your device (i.e. any laptop, smart phone charger, ipad charger etc.).  So no need for extra adapters to plug in your stuff. My only complaint about the room was the lack of a bathtub, but it really didn’t make much of a difference since the kids were so tired by the time we got back to the room, it was shower and crash.

Since we arrived on Valentine’s Day, my sister volunteered to put the kids to bed while Marc and I had dinner, to enjoy a few hours of peace.  We went with the Thai option for the restaurant, Wang Warin.  The food was pretty good, wouldn’t say it was the best Thai food around, I kind of love the junky sweetness of Thai food from food carts and the night market, don’t know much about sophisticated Thai food, but for a quiet dinner for two adults, it was a great choice.  We ordered the scallop soup, roasted duck appetizer with pancakes and a stuffed squid, polished it off with the sticky rice and mango dessert. The hotel also offered a private dinner in a tent on the beach; it was a beautiful setting watching the waves and the lighting around the pool made you feel like it was second Christmas. They even had a special lantern at the end of dinner that you fly with your partner over eternal love or some cheesiness.  I’m sure it would be great for a romantic couple, but let’s face it, we’re tired parents, quiet dinner did it for us.

Come to think of it, I think this was the first time I didn’t hear any Japanese on a trip.  I heard a lot of Russian, some French, and American accent.  Wonder why, it’s such an awesome place.

After a nice quiet dinner, back to the AM beach, PM pool.  Repeat.  This was the first trip Nina cried at the airport, “I don’t want to go home~~.”  Mila must have agreed with Nina cause she threw a tantrum for half of the flight home.  It was an evening flight, plus it was delayed an hour, so Mila was overtired from the wait and refused to sleep.  We were THAT family with nothing, no tricks left in our bags.  Fortunately, people on the flight were quite nice and many of them were the same people as on the original flight, so no one gave us a hard time. The flight itself was pretty short, so it wasn’t too painful for us either.  At least Nina was well behaved and helpful.  Overall, I’d say it was a splendid family trip location for a short weekend away from the hustle and bustle.  Definitely recommend the resort for young families.

またまた子連れ旅行。今回はマークが金曜日にお休みをとって二泊三日で行って参りました。バレンタイン=マークの誕生日な我が家。毎年この時期になると色々悩むんですが、今回は旅行で落ち着きました。いつもは少々強行な我が家も今回は短い事もあり、アクティビティは特になし、シンプルに大手のリゾートへ向かいました。うちはSPGクラブのメンバーなので、口コミ情報も良かったMeridien Phuketに決定。実はコタキナバルやランカウイ等も候補に挙がっていたのですが、SPGのホテルの中ではこのロケーションが一番評判がいいので決定。



子供達に大ヒットだったのは、一日に二回お散歩に来てくれる、バレンタイン(誕生日がマークと同じ~)という名前の4歳のベビー象さん。ビーチから来て、プールを一回りして、いろんな人と握手したり、水浴びしたりのんびりリゾート内を歩いていきます。この象さんがとってもかわいくて、親子揃って大興奮。娘たちは遠くにいるバレンタインちゃんに駆け寄っては、顔をみて、びびって走って戻ってきて、また追っかけて行く、を繰り返し。好きなの?嫌いなの?って象さんにまで呆れらておりました。新菜に関しては、興奮して”Big bum bum, biiiiiig bum bum” (大きいおしり、おっきーおしり~)とずっと騒いでたおかげで、ミラの新しいの言葉として、ママ、パパ、Pop-Pop (Dr.Seuss の本)の後くらい?がBum BUUMMMMM(おしり おしーり)になってしまいました。ええええええ、それなのぉ。っていうか、結局そこしか見てないのね。


バレンタインという事もあり、妹がベビーシッターを買ってでてくれたので、14日の夜にはマークと二人でホテルのタイ料理レストラン、Wang Warinでお食事しました。流石に朝早く出発した事もあって、疲れてはいたのですが、二人でゆったり食事が出来て良かったです。バレンタインパッケージで先着10名様、ビーチに特別テーブルをロマンティックな白いテントの下で、というオプションもありました。とっても絵になるし、プールのエリアも夜はライトアップされているので、ロマンティックに楽しみたいカップルや、ダンディーなちょっと年配のカップルなんかが素敵ディナーされておりましたが、新米子連れは、疲れてるし、下手に頑張るのやめよ~、とこちらに落ち着きました。食事は全体的に上品な味付けでおいしかったです。貝柱のスープ、ローストダックのアペタイザーとカラマリのえびとチキン詰め、最後のデザートにマンゴーとココナッツライスを頂きました。美味しかったんですが、ジャンキーなタイ料理大好きの私には、少々パンチが足りないかな、と。すいません、お上品なタイ料理ってあんまり食べた事ないので。このリゾートにはレストランが10か所程あるんですが、プールのエリアにあるレストランも、こちらのタイ料理もおいしかったです。SPGホテルは食事の面では、余り外れがない気がします。

我が家では朝は岩の近くの小蔭のあるビーチ、午後はプール、で三日間あっという間に過ごせてしまいました。他には何もせずに済んだのもよかったです。でもやっぱりちょっとタイに来た気がしない、というところはありますが、ファミリー向けラグジュエリーリゾートとしては完璧でした。キッズクラブは写真を撮るためにちらっと覗いただけで終わってしまいました。今回の旅行は初めて新菜が”I don’t want to go home”と空港で訴えるほど楽しかったようです。やっぱり親の趣味であんまりバタバタしなかったしね。旦那も珍しくリラックス出来たね~、と喜んでいました。実良さんは、新菜と同じ事を考えていたらしく、帰りの飛行機で大暴れしてくれました。(泣)行きも帰りも同じ人も多く、皆さん優しく対応して下さいましたが、申し訳ないです。短いフライトで良かった。こちらのリゾート、日本人には余り知られてないのかな、一人も日本人を見ない旅行は初めてでした。ロシア語とフランス語が良く聞こえていたような。でもとっても素敵なリゾートなので、プーケットに訪れる際には是非お勧めです。

Our favorite spot on the beach in the morning

Our favorite spot on the beach in the morning

Not quite beach ready

Not quite beach ready

The Romantic table set up for Valentine's day

The Romantic table set up for Valentine’s day

Pool view at night

Pool view at night

The pool view



Still stalking



Still Stalking

Balcony with the semi-beach view

Balcony with the semi-beach view

Everywhere we go, we either find a shop with our kids' names in it.

Everywhere we go, we either find a shop with our kids’ names in it.

Playground.  You have to get the timing right to get the shade.

Playground. You have to get the timing right to get the shade.

Trampoline and the kids club. 2 rooms with lots of toys and arts and crafts

Trampoline and the kids club. 2 rooms with lots of toys and arts and crafts