21 September 2009

Last weekend,  I managed to enrol the children at the local music centre for lessons. It was great fun, the director of the school was still refusing to speak English with me and I reached unknown peaks with my French…. The same happened with the violin and the piano teacher.  However, when we finally got down to do the paperwork, the director actually tried his English on me!!! He got very carried away and insisted on saying everything in English, or at least try to say it in English. (His  English is at a similar level as my French, so we got on really well 🙂  ).  I can only wholeheartedly recommend my clever tactic:  I just speak French until the French lose the will to live and discover that they actually really like to practise their English with me.  I would have loved him to carry on in French, because I am always keen to learn, but no, it had to be English, and he actually got the piano teacher to speak English as he happened to walk past his office. They said their goodbyes in English. Have I started a trend?

By the way, have I told you that French men are soooo effortlessly chic? It’s so amazing, they are slim, tanned and mostly well dressed without looking as if they are trying very hard. (Although they are probably pretty vain??)  A lot of the men are a pleasure to look at when you are used to tracksuit bottoms and topless hairy chests and beer guts as soon as the sun’s out. I think I want to move to Italy next. Anyway, I am digressing, and I suppose the same goes for a lot of  the women here, as Rolf said the other day: hotbabes seem to grow on trees in France. I hope we don’t stand out too much…

I am just talking about the French guys because Linus has never had a more attractive piano teacher in his life. Let’s hope he also teaches him a thing or two about piano playing and gets him excited about the instrument again. The children both start their lessons next weekend and I am very curious how this will work with the children speaking so little French still.  I am hopeful though, because Linus had his first climbing lesson today and he got on really well, he absolutely enjoyed it and understood very well what the instructor was saying and showing.

I had a very busy day today  but somehow every day is rather busy at the moment. I have to network very hard at present and this morning was another superb opportunity: It was the parents coffee morning from the English section. I really enjoyed this meeting, because it made me feel so at home, it was quintessentially British in the way it was organised and the head of the English section is a wonderful man. He could be with the Pythons, he is so funny in a very British sort of way. I left the meeting with two volunteer jobs at the school libraries (élémentaire and collège) and a feeling that we have done exactly the right thing by enrolling our children in the English, rather than the German section.  I am now convinced that they actually get the best of both worlds, the French discipline and standard of teaching and the English creativity, fun and wonderful attitude towards individuals. Now that the strike is off and the school seems to be back on track, I hope that Linus and Lucy continue to settle as well as they have done so far.  I also think that the school is very special in that it is a true melting pot of all kinds of nationalities. This appears to affect the children and their attitude towards ‘otherness’ profoundly: There  seems to be a very accepting culture and I have not known Linus in particular to be so at ease with his classmates. Sabine, come and settle in Lyon, it’s fab!!! 🙂

I am starting my French lessons tomorrow and I am looking forward to it. I really want to get a feel for this language. I have two new words which I really like: Stupéfiant and éblouissant. Don’t they just look and sound wonderful?

Rolf and I are also educating ourselves by watching French films with English subtitles. I have to recommend ‘Bienvenue chez les Cht’is’ to everybody. It is such a funny film. If you can get it, watch it, it’ll brighten up your day.


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