Rentrée - The Second time Around
Sept 2006. The first week in September there is a greeting which you hear from everyone; "Bon
Rentrée or Avez vous un bon Rentrée" "Good entering into school or Have you had a good entry?"
Last year we felt like the blind leading the blind trying to figure out the reentry system into school and afterschool activities. It took us a month to figure it out and get settled in with the proper outfits purchased, forms completed and schedule known.
The month of September is also known to be the month you can try things out. Go to one or two classes and see if you like them and then commit for the entire year. This was quite different for us as commiting to take a yoga class or an art class for an entire year was a bit challenging. In addition we soon found out that in most situations taking a dance class or a horseback riding class is serious business. It is not about self-esteem building as much as it is about training for a possible career, a profession or at least a serious student. It surprised us when a friend told us a story about a young girl who was enrolling in her third year of horseback riding and jumping and the topic of conversation within the family was that it would be a possible career option or at least a good summer job.
We'd like to report that we have been successful at reentering and have managed to make decisions, fill out forms and pay our tuition by mid-September for the most part. Zoe-Pascale is going to continue with ballet with an ultimate goal of "doing pointe" (toe shoes) when she turns 10. The teacher, a past ballerina from the Paris ballet is serious and disciplined and tough, but Zoe also knows how much she learned last year and will learn this year.
In addition, she agreed to try Karate and fell in love with it. She is so excited to learn to kick and hit and bounce off walls. Jean is thrilled as he loved it as a kid and has told her stories of her Ouma winning Karate medals. (I'm not quite sure how embellished they are). Meanwhile she plans on competing with Ouma when she sees her in December.
These are all her Wednesday activities which fills up the day quite quickly. On Tuesday afterschool she is also interested in taking a modern dance class just to be with some of her girlfriends in the local centre sociale. She saw the modern dance show last year and saw what fun they had, but also said, "They don't really know how to dance. No one can even do a pas de bourret."
As far as Jean and I, we are establishing a routine once again that summer is over and have enrolled in yoga twice a week -- yes it is all in French. I find myself throughout the class moving my yoga mat so I can see the instructor better without bending my head in a contortion and since I have learned just about every body part in French I've gotten better at following the directions. In addition, I may take a design class except my biggest problem is that it is so hard for me to pronounce the word "dessin" (don't ask me why , I don't know) that when I tell someone I am taking the class they have no idea what I am saying. Oh and of course, we are both continuing our private lessons in French. The teacher told Jean he really doesn't need to, which made him feel great, but he wants to continue to learn more vocabulary and slang so will work with her some more. I have decided after numerous years to set a goal for French this year and memorize and use correctly the present, past and future tenses of the verbs etre, avoir, faire, aller, and a few others to include some reflexive verbs. In English it means I am going to hopefully be able to correctly use the "to be, to have, to make/ do, and to go " correctly.
I 'm fine in present tense but ask me about the past or future and all I've learned goes out the door half the time.
In terms of our personal work, Jean has completed all his course work and comps for the PhD and is now in the dissertation phase. A major process that unless you've gone through it it is hard to conceptualize the amount of work and discipline required. I at least can have empathy for Jean and hopefully help him with everything but the statistics. More later on exactly what he is going to research as it comes together.
We also are continuing to work on our book and have made a bit of a shift in it's direction. Instead of writing on our experiences over the past 12 summers and how it has changed us, we are focusing more on the transition before we came to France, being her and what is next. We believe (with our editor's agreement) that it has more marketable value and is more relevant with the baby boomer generation going through midlife at this time and a need for books on this topic. The backdrop of course will be living her in France and how a change of place and pace is making a difference in our lives at this point in time. More later as it progresses and if you have ideas or thoughts on your own transition, let us know.
And so our day goes... how fast it goes... when did we have time to work a job I don't know. In addition to everything else we are doing homework, continuing with reading and writing in English at home, practicing riding her bike, new scooter, training Pantoufle and planning some more trips. We continue to love the simple parts of our day when we walk Zoe to school, have leisurely family dinners and read in the evenings. I continue to love the fact that we have no TV and only a DVD and believe that it does give us alot more quality time as a family, that I can buy fresh food at the Friday local marche or at the shopi grocery store on my way home from school and that our days just seem to flow.
We are grateful for this time !