Havinggrown up in South Africa, I spent most of my childhood playing outside. We would spend hours in the gardenaround the house, climbing trees,making mud pies and building tents. Wewould ride our bikes and play with other kids in the street. Summers were spentsplashing about in the pool andholidays and long weekends were enjoyed down at the beach with family andfriends.
SouthAfrica has very sunny weather like Reunion, and even though it doesn’t have atropical climate, it certainly doesn’t have cold winters like in Europe. So youcan only imagine that I find the outdoor life we get to enjoy here in Reuniongreat for kids.
I love ourregular trips down to the beach - playing in the sand, chasing crabs, swimmingand watching the multi-coloured fish in the sea. Mother Nature offers ussuch a fascinating classroom without the restrictions of four brick walls. Ilove the freedom my family enjoys while walking barefoot outside, with the big blue sky and elegant white-tailed tropicbirds above ourheads. I love sitting in the motleyshade of an old, wise tree! The year-roundpicnicking and walking in the forests and fresh air are also a real pleasure.
Apart fromthe climate and natural surroundings,I also adore the fact that Reunion has such a multi-cultural society – a groupof people that generally lives respectfully and peacefully amongst eachother. I just love seeing the kids at mydaughter’s crèche playing together. Kidsfrom African, Indian, Asian and European descent all mixed up in the sameactivity, playing as absolute equals. Ihope that these little beings willnot learn the prejudices that are so present in the world we live intoday.
A mixedrace society, unfortunately, wasn’tthe case for me when I attended playschoolat the end of the apartheid era. So these points all make raising kids inReunion quite delightful.
Being faraway from family, however, is not always so easy. The grandparents are not around to enjoy the growing up and everyday doings of their grandchildren… or to lend a helpinghand to sometimes exhausted parents!
And as youall know, travelling can be a very priceyaffair from Reunion. We have a hugetravel budget every year. Flying tomainland France and South Africa to visit family and friends during school holidays ends up costing us an arm and a leg. So as foreverything in life, there are pros andcons to all the decisions we make. The trick is to find a happy balance for a happy family!
to raise - elever
childhood - enfance
to climb - grimper
to splash - éclabousser
barefoot - pieds nus
white-tailed tropicbird - paille-en-queue
motley - hétéroclite
wise - sage
year-round - pendant toute l’année
surroundings - environnement
a being - un être
unfortunately - malheureusement
playschool – garderie
delightful - enchanteur
to grow up - grandir
exhausted - épuisé
pricey - coûteux
during - pendant
to cost an arm and a leg - coûter un bras
the pros and cons - les pours et les contres
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