Marianne & Julia, France



Marianne (7) and Julia (5) run and jump around their mother's dance school, where we agreed to meet. “We attend the ‘Vrije School’ in Leiden, but now we have holidays. Last week we had our last day of school.” “And what is your favorite subject at school?” I ask. “Gymnastics,” they both say without thinking. “And who is your favorite teacher?” “Teacher Bob from gym class.” I could have known that.


"Tell me something about your mom and dad." “Well, our father's name is Frank and he comes from France. Isn’t that funny? He's a philosopher, but we don't really know what he does. So, we are French but also Greek, because our mother is from Greece. Her name is Natalie and she is a dancer.”


“Mom and dad met in England, where I was born as well,” Marianne says. “Dad had to go to class, but he was an hour early. Then in Oxford he went to a cafe where mom happened to be waiting for a train to the airport, to go to America. They got to know each other very quickly and fell in love immediately.”


“We also have a grandmother and a grandfather in France. They visit us at least five times a year. Grandma is an actress and lives in Paris. She has her own theater show. That's quite nice. You can give her a word, for example 'love', and she will make a show about it. She uses books and music. So, every time it's different.”


“Our grandfather lives further away, in Aix-en-Provence. He owns a museum. It is a monument from the Second World War. At that place, Jewish people were imprisoned before they had to go to Poland. After the war they wanted to tear down the building, but our grandfather prevented that. Now it is a museum where a lot of people come to visit.”


“And what do you want to be when you grow up?” I ask. Marianne: “Teacher! Or a horse rider. Or work at the circus, because I'm doing that now as well and I like that very much.” “And you, Julia?” “I want to be a ballet teacher. And I also want to do horse riding.” “But first we're going on holiday to Greece for five weeks,” adds mother Natalie. “Yippie!” shouts Julia. And they run away again, jumping and dancing through the space.