Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Little Macanese Dragon

7 months old Maria Dee in Mira beach, Portugal
On our “Princess Dragon” Maria Dee's first Birthday is drawing near, just a week before the day we expect to live on board. During my pregnancy I was blessed and everything went well and smooth. I had few times morning sickness, one time a simple cold, accurate due date and a short labor. As she is growing a toddler, we only visit the hospital once because of being constipated but that is, probably, because she got the genes from her mother! She is healthy so far and we hope she will be very healthy with her coming lifestyle.
My pregnancy photos
I can’t say that I do not worry about our little girl on our “Sail Around The World Trip”. Much of the families who sail with kids are accused of being irresponsible. But trust me, we are not! Why we will torture our baby? We also want to give them the best education, it's a different way of living, different from what is consider as "normal". Our case is somehow special due to our languages issue. João’s mother tongue is Portuguese, mine is Thai but our language at home is, mainly, English sometimes French, however, the birthplace language is Cantonese!
Macau population consists of Portuguese people, Chinese and Macanese and some other nationalities. Macanese people is an ethnic group originated in Macau since the 16th century, consisting mostly of people with some Portuguese ancestry. They have the Portuguese-based creole language what we called Patuá which is almost disappearing (On February 20, 2009, the new edition of UNESCO’s Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger classified Patua as a "critically endangered" language. The Atlas puts the number of Patua speakers at 50 as of the year 2000). However, we only calls Macanese to a person who has Portuguese ascendant and born in Macau. For local Chinese born in Macau we don’t consider them as Macanese but as Chinese from Macau. Not all Macanese can speak Patuá, as I mentioned before it's almost disappearing and the ones who can are less than 10% of their population.
Maria Dee sailing with her father under Macau flag
Sometimes I feel sad seeing Macanese people who can’t speak Portuguese. Some Macanese parents, because the language they speak in Macau is the Chinese, they put more emphasis on the kids learning English because its an international language, putting aside the Portuguese from their ancestors.
We planned how to deal with Maria Dee language skills even before we conceived her, this been always one of our main worries. João’s parents speak Portuguese and French and that’s the reason I had to learn Portuguese before I met them for the first time, so we could at least be able to communicate with basic sentences. My mother only can speak Thai, it's easy to understand that João and me became full time translators for our parents! At least Maria Dee should be able to speak Thai to the grandmother on her mother’s side, Portuguese to the ones on her father’s side and English to João and me. I think positive and believe that nothing is impossible since I saw João’s niece who can speak Portuguese, French, English, Luxembourgish, German and Italian. I was impressed!
On board experience
What we do at home is: João speaks Portuguese, I speak Thai and when we are both together we speak English to Maria Dee, that’s the essential. For Cantonese, Mandarin or French we thought that she could learn if she wants when she grows up. I tried hard not to speak “Thinglish” to her!

Only myself, I always try plan her future, what kind of school we would like to put her, but João always remind me that I’m too anxious and what I need is just to plan one year in advance, no need a ten year plan. Then I realized that the fundamental and the most important is to raise the baby to be good person. The following are the main points that we always keep in mind: 
- Food is to eat, not to play.
- We do not raise our child to fulfill our dreams, or to have what we didn't had when we were young.
- Wherever we go, we go as a family.
- We believe that the person she will became it's dependent on the way we educate her.
- As we are mixed Catholic and Buddhist, our child will be the one who choose her own religion.

Yet, we can't say, for sure, that this choice of life is the best for her first stages of growing up like many of the couples out there always say. But for sure, she will have a great opportunity to see different environments, which we hope contribute for her growing healthy both physical and mentally.  
Maria Dee with mother and Noel
Happy Beach day!


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