Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Comment Ca Va Update

“Comment ca va” means “how’s it going.” The blog has taken a bit of a back seat to real life lately. What we are doing on a daily basis is exciting to us because a.) it’s our life, and b.) we are doing it in France! However, we realize that it might not be all that exciting for the rest of you reading the blog. Anyway, here’s a quick update on each of us...

Irie is doing better attending school taught in french while knowing very little of the language. She and her friend Abby get private time with a french tutor 3 days/week and she likes that. She seems to like her teacher, and she is generally enthused about doing her homework. She has had a couple of issues with kids picking on her and Abby on the playground so we had a problem-solving meeting with her teacher to help her feel more confident about dealing with bullies. She also started piano lessons this past Weds. and practices multiple times per day. She seems to have the aptitude for it and we’ve told her if she wants to continue back home we’ll look into buying a piano.

Lisa has gone from feeling like an isolated outsider to a full schedule in two weeks time. She took a chance by calling a woman, Nathalie, at the local Vous Accueil (welcome center) who gave her her phone number and they hit it off immediately. Now they and two other women get together at least once/week to teach each other french and english. These same women are now part of her beginner’s hula class which she started teaching on Friday afternoons. She has also joined an arts and crafts class and a french perfection class with another set to begin in Oct.

I am enjoying my experience in France, but was sticking to what I felt comfortable doing, ie. shopping at the markets, cooking, and being a supportive husband and father. I feel my language was coming along much too slowly, so while waiting for french classes to begin I took to translating Le Petit Prince. I finally found a tutor (Irie’s tutor at school) who comes on Weds. morning, and have finally started the french class at the Vous Accueil on Tuesdays. While applying for yet another french class I went out on a limb and offered my phone number to a guy who worked there who was nice, talkative, spoke a tiny bit of english, and expressed an interest in the west coast of the U.S. He called me a couple days later and we are going to meet for a drink and see what happens. Meanwhile, I also called the local kite-surfing instructor and signed up for my first lesson. I had no problem handling the kite on the beach, but once in the water it was très difficile! I felt like I got hit by a truck that night, feeling sore muscles I forgot existed, but am looking forward to the next lesson.

The Vous Accueil has been an incredible resource as it led Lisa to Nathalie and her other new friends, gave Lisa the chance to teach hula while promoting it for her, led us to our french classes, and has outside events and day trips that have been fun and created new acquaintances. We also now have 2 potential babysitters! Last Sunday we attended a city-wide event called Fête du Sports - Irie got a chance to try roller-blading, track-and-field, and we all tried fencing. We also got invited to a little party last week which was informal and fun. Everyone was genuinely friendly and despite most of the conversation being in french (obviously), they all gave their limited english a go. As the night ended, somehow we started talking about American v. French TV and the hostess said she liked this show “sheeps.” Our American friend asked “you mean les moutons?” (which is literally french for “sheep”), and the hostess laughingly described the show about cops in California and Ponch until we got it...”Chips.” Laugh out loud funny, and very typical of the kind of misunderstandings that can occur from language barriers. Today, we went on a Vous Accueil bus trip to Monaco and had a great day, but that’s another post.

Thanks to everyone who sent support to Irie for her school woes, we are all very grateful! We got our first pieces of mail from the U.S. including our absentee ballots (but are still waiting for some packages). Also, family members and friends have begun booking dates to Europe and Fréjus. We think it will be interesting to have your American thoughts on our french lives and may even make you write about it right here. au revoir for now.


Anonymous said...

Rick - let me know how you progress with the kite boarding. This is something I'd like to try as well, I've just never made the opportunity.

The fencing looked fun as well. I'm not sure if I'd let Jan attack me with a epee. She'd probably keep slashing and poking away....


Rick said...

Just finished my 2nd kite lesson. Great improvement, but will probably take 2 more lessons and then look into some used equipment. Handling the kite is trickier in the water than it looks, and today I added the board so had to concentrate on keeping the kite in the air while trying to get the board positioned and my feet into it. Needless to say, the kite went down a few times. That leads to another skill I'm learning - how to get it out of the water again without help. I did get up and ride for short distances. You can plan some lessons with Herve while you are here if you like, he speaks decent English (and I'm teaching him more!). Just for kicks here's a video of someone at "our" kite beach here: