At the house of Anne Frank

Member: Christian Chanshio

Institution: University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis

1. Before coming to Europe, what stuff have you been doing back in the Philippines?
I was an instructor in the math department at the Ateneo de Manila. Also, I had been taking some subjects in UP in preparation for a PhD in statistics.

2. What stuff are you doing here now?
I’m working on my PhD in mathematics at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis.

3. What is the most demanding part of your work here?
I think the most challenging part is the language barrier. The French are highly proud of their culture and most specially, their language. As 95% of those in our lab are Francophones, virtually all of our weekly research seminars in the lab are in French. Even if most of my colleagues here can understand and speak a bit of English, I still find it awkward to interact with the others due to my lack of proficiency in French.

4. What do you like best about what you are doing here?
I definitely enjoy and welcome the accessibility to books, journals, and other research materials.

5. Which new memorable places in Europe have you visited so far and what makes them special?
I’ll just highlight the most memorable ones.

Paris, France – There’s a certain splendor associated whenever you mentioned the city of Paris. To actually be there and see the Eiffel Tower in front of you as well as visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa, these are the stuff most people’s dreams are made of.

Oslo, Norway – It was my first sight of actual snow (it doesn’t snow here in Nice) and my first experience of constructing a snowman! I purposedly went there during the Christmas season to visit a friend of mine, hoping for snowfall, but sadly, didn’t encounter any. Fortunately, it snowed the day before I arrived and there was enough snow left in the ground for us to be able to construct a snowman.

Hohenschwangau, Germany – First trip with Shine and Cherry! The two historic castles in the area, the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles (the latter supposedly being the inspiration for the Disney Sleeping Beauty castle), were beautifully preserved. But the best part for me was the backdrop behind (and above) these castles, which we could see even during the 2-hour train ride from Munich to Fussen – the Bavarian Alps.

At Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, Germany

6. Given the time and opportunity, which other places would you want to visit?
UK (London – pero hassle na kailangan pa ng visa), Spain (haven’t visited Barcelona and Madrid yet), Morocco (maybe Marrakech?)

7. What stuff about the Philippines do you miss the most?
Of course, my family, friends, and colleagues. Although there’s youtube, facebook, and skype available, even with the new friends I’ve met here in Nice, there’s still no place like home.

8. If you could bring something from the Philippines here in Europe (anything including material things, cultural aspects or values and people – no size and price restrictions), what would it be?
(a) Filipino warmth and hospitality. I miss how we try to make our guests feel as welcome and comfortable as possible, even at the expense of our own personal comfort. This is not always the case with many French people, especially if you cannot speak their language.
(b) The food. While there are Asian restaurants around, their food is not as delicious compared to our Chinese/Asian restaurants. I miss dimsum, as well as some tropical products like mangoes. In general, our food is more tasty and flavorful than those here.
(c) Hours of operation. It’s annoying how shops here are closed during the lunch hours (for about 2-3 hours) and then close quite early at night (around 7 pm), so if you need to get something, you really have to go during the usual work hours. Also, almost all of these shops are closed on Sundays.

9. If you could bring something from here in Europe to the Philippines (anything including materials things, cultural aspects or values and people), what would it be?
(a) Efficient public transport. You can easily get to wherever you want just by public transport.
(b) Cleanliness. While one might see the occasional dog poop on the ground, most of Europe is clean (and sometimes green). I can walk around not having to inhale any smoke and pollution. I wonder when this could happen in Manila.
(c) Discipline. Cars stop at the red light and give priority to pedestrians.
(d) Peace and order situation. Of course, you still have your petty thefts. But other than that, I feel much safer here. I wish we could reach a similar situation back home.

10. Favorite saying in Filipino.
Aanhin mo pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo?

Thanks, Chanshio!!! Looking forward to more Eurotrips with you!!!