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No Franglais In This House

New York living!

By Alex McCord

Hello viewers! So it's 10 p.m. on Thursday, the week before the big premiere, and although there are a hundred other things going on we are very excited to see what the show looks like. Let's get started!

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First...the suburbs. To be honest, neither Simon nor I have lived in them. We've lived in rural and urban areas, unless for me you count McLean, VA as a baby (where I only remember the inside of the house from photos,) or the college campus in Evanston, IL, which doesn't look like your typical suburb. To me, there's a uniqueness present in small towns and big cities. You see it in the varied architecture, the privately owned businesses and the camaraderie of the neighbors. While understanding the "why" behind them, I'm not a big fan of planned communities -- everything is built with one set of eyes, (or one committee's eyes anyway,) and one could argue that the evocation of sameness attracts a certain personality. Ditto the distance and the fact that most businesses outside the city close early - we love the fact that there's a 24 hour deli 100 paces from our front door, a 24 hour mom & pop-owned pharmacy that delivers should the need arise, and even if you never actually do it, it's fun to know that if you had the urge to have a 4 course meal in a restaurant at 4 a.m., you can do so on the street where you live or near enough.


Having spent time in both the Hamptons and St. Barths, we really prefer St. Barths. Simon and I both work full time, and when we go away, we like to check out completely and just spend time with our children, swim, scuba dive, sleep and eat. There is a social circle on St. Barths as well, primarily made up of New Yorkers, locals, various Europeans, and others who really just want to relax. Our favorite time of year to go is August -- there's a personality type at play there too -- almost everyone is a workaholic who just wants to stop for a while and play with the kids, eat, drink, etc.

When Simon and I run into people we know from St. Barths back in New York, most of the time we don't spend much if any time together in NYC. We all know that we're all too busy to return each other's emails at home, and also know that we'll see each other again next trip. We love the tropical climate, the fact that you can dive 70 feet comfortably without a wet suit, the food and the atmosphere of just letting go.

Over the last 6 years, we've yet to meet anyone in St. Barths who wasn't like-minded, with the same attitude toward family, work, life and food. It's also a very, very small place (8 square miles, much of which is mountainous,) and truly unique. To us, the Hamptons feels like work. You go to a house party and are expected to leave the kids in a separate house while you make polite conversation with a music mogul in the backyard of another house. The towns that comprise the Hamptons are very spread out and going there involves a lot of driving. The area is pretty similar to upscale communities you find throughout the United States, Highland Park, for example, with perhaps more visible price tags and people watching. By comparison, in St. Barths in August, a very well-known musician repped by the above-mentioned mogul is dancing on a table with her family and not caring who sees because there are no photographers -- they're all in the Hamptons.


Simon and I chose French as the language for the boys (for now) by default, because it is the language he and I are both strongest in after English. One could argue that in the US Spanish might be more useful, but neither of us is strong in it unfortunately. The other choices would have been Italian or German, but those are tied for 3rd in terms of our fluency and between the three, French is more widely spoken.The most important thing at this point is to get them used to communicating in more than one language, which develops their ear for learning more later on. At home we follow the practice currently recommended by pediatricians and educators -- in a bilingual home all the adults speak their respective native tongue around the children so that the kids (hopefully) hear unstilted syntax and correct grammar, and don't start speaking Franglais.

Life in New York City has continued at its normal pace since the filming wrapped. Simon is busy with the hotel, I'm busy at work and the boys have doubled in size since the time of the preview episode! Fashion week has recently finished (we loved Vivienne Tam's show) and we are looking forward to the new Philip Glass opera which premieres soon and will star a fellow Aussie whom we've shared many a table with at the American Australian Association benefit functions.

Fast forward to Tuesday... we had a great party last night with all the families from the show and it was wonderful to see everyone and catch up without having to do it mid-interview. Tonight we will be watching the show at home - if we can manage to stay up until 11!

À bientôy...jusqú à  la semaine prochaine... --Alex

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