Meet The Team
Well Hello there! If you haven't already done so, go and read the about page to learn a little about what this site is about and how we ended up in France. I promise it's not what you think.
In the mean time, here is a little bit about our brood of 5.
Annie & Blake
My name is Annie and my husband's name is Blake. We met while working for the same company in silicon valley California.
Blake was the director of software QA in the engineering department and I worked as a database marketing analyst and web traffic optimizer in the business-Development department.
Blake is American born and attended UVM (university of Vermont in Burlington). Aside from doing a year abroad at Heidelberg University in Germany, he has always lived in the US but has travelled quite a bit. I think he was actually a Francophile before I ever met him.
As for me, I was born in Thailand to a Thai mother and French Canadian father. We moved to the US when I was about four or five years old and lived in Santa Clara and San Jose. I then went to Montreal to live with my aunt where I attended a Francophone High school so I actually spoke French before I even came to France. I attended UC Santa Cruz but started a little late because I took a gap year to live in Japan and travel which actually ended up lasting almost 3 1/2 years.
We have a blended family. I have two boys from a previous marriage who Blake has helped raise since they were ages 5 & 7 years old. Blake and I also have a daughter together
I kept my maiden name and my boys have their biological father's name so between the five of us, we have three different last names. To make matters even more confusing, one of my son's first name is my maiden name which makes some customs officers at airports scratch their head.
We originally moved to France for what was supposed to be a one-year sabbatical because we thought it would not only be a fantastic for our family to experience together, but also to recharge our batteries after a bout of unemployment due to the recession that hit most of North America which you can read about here.
4,5,6,7,8,9, 10 11 years old
Catherine lived in France since she was four years old and was already bilingual- well as much as a 4-year-old can be at that age. She spent the first three years of her life living in California where she was born and then a year in Canada.
Because she has spent so little time in the US she knows very little about American culture except for what we show her at home and from what she sees in the movies. You could say that she is a third culture kid. If you don't know what that is, look it up. It's really interesting. She knows more about Canadian culture because we return to Quebec Canada to visit my family almost every summer.
Catherine originally spoke with a Quebecois accent (because we spent a year in Montreal before moving to France). If you don't know what Quebecois is, it is the dialect of French spoken in the province of Quebec Canada. She lost her Quebecois accent and now speaks like someone who was born and raised in France.
15,16,17,18,19,20, 21 22 years old
When we arrived in France, Kieran was just 15 years old. He spoke only a few phrases of French which he picked while living in Montreal for a year and from hearing me talk to Catherine.
Kieran attended French high school when we first arrived in France. His Junior year, Kieran decided he wanted to give American high school a try so we sent him to live with his biological father. I thought for sure he would never return to France but he did after only a year and a half. I think it wasn't what he expected. American high school is often glamorized on the television so this might have had something to do with his disappointment.
Now he attends the University of Montpellier and is majoring in Political science. All his courses are in French, needless to say, he is bilingual.
13,14,15,16,17,18,19, 20 years old
Andre is the middle child and was just 13 when we moved to France back in 2011. Andre, like his brother Kieran, spoke just a few phrases of French.
I mainstreamed him in public French schools where he struggled with the language and his coursework which was all in French. Andre has always been one of those children who doesn't do well in a structured classroom.
After we moved to a smaller town, Andre made a bunch of new friends and within a few months, his French went from almost non existent to non stop French chatter box.
Andre has since finished High school and has no plans for higher education at the moment. Instead he is working on his freelancing career as a graphic artist. He does logos, brand identities and other things. Here is his website.