It’s Monday…

21 June 2010

and boy, Lucy is a wreck. She didn’t make it to school until a quarter to twelve, just in time for her lunch break. She has had a busy weekend with the school fair on Friday, then a sleepover Friday to Saturday at a friend’s house. From there she went straight to a birthday party and wasn’t home until about seven on Saturday night. She still managed to watch a Harry Potter DVD before collapsing into bed. Yesterday we were invited to a BBQ. It turned out to be such a lovely afternoon, we didn’t get home until about midnight. By that time Lucy did go to bed without demanding to
a: watch a Harry Potter DVD,
b: have Harry Potter read to her and/or
c: have an extensive massage with rose oil
these would be her regular demands on a normal night. But last night she just collapsed in a heap and slept until half past ten this morning. Luckily we’re winding down here in France, getting ready for the holidays, so the head of school and her teacher were incredibly understanding when we arrived so late :).
But I fear that tonight might be a late one again. The annual fête de la musique is on in Lyon and I certainly don’t want to miss that. Basically you have free life music of various genres all over the town. The kids and I are meeting up with some people tonight (poor Rolf has a busy day today, he has a deadline to meet) and even the weather is now getting better, so it should be fun. I just fear that Lucy might be late again tomorrow morning. Alternatively, I leave both children at home and go by myself. It all depends on how she is when she gets back from school.

Meanwhile Linus is well rested and pleased to be off school. He won’t be going to the holiday camp now, the last places went a few days before I called. Very annoying. But I am getting ahead with the French tuition, I am about to book something for him. On top of that he will have to do some work with cahiers de vacances. These are special books to prepare children for the next academic year or to repeat topics from the previous year. Normally I am not a fan of getting children to work during the holidays, but I feel that this year he will have to do some work, I have no idea how many classes he will be attending next year and he will just have to prepare a bit if he wants to pass his brevet (a compulsory exam taken in English, Maths and Social Sciences at the end of 3ème but which includes continuous assessment in 3ème in most subjects) next year. While I am not in the least concerned about his maths and English, I am not so sure about other subjects — he simply hasn’t had many other subjects this past year. But we’ll see, he is not the only one in this position and I am sure other children have mastered this challenge before him.
Now on a more positive note, it’s not long until we go to Britain! 16 days to go and I am counting down. We haven’t been back since we left (Rolf went on a few occasions, but the kids and I haven’t) so we are extremely excited. It feels like we’re going home, Linus will be able to spend a full day at his old school and I hope we can arrange the same for Lucy. Oh, we just can’t wait to see everybody. In the meantime though, we have other super things lined up. It’s Rolf’s birthday this week and we’re planning to go camping to Provence at the weekend to celebrate this. Then I will be going to Munich just by myself the following weekend, and in between we’ve cool things like the fête de la musique and my second appointment at the pôle emploi to keep us happy and entertained. I have some sort of group meeting with people who can help me to apply for jobs tomorrow. So I am excited about that. Although to be honest, I am not sure I will get a job via these official channels. I think a bit of networking might be more fruitful. I am working on that front as well, but these things take time and I don’t intend to find work before September anyway, so there is no mad rush.

Before I go, I just need to tell you about the school fair on Friday. This was great, I spend hours there, setting up, selling cakes and helping with cleaning up afterwards. This fair is very different from the one we were used to in England, which used to last for two hours. Our fair here started at 3.30pm and when I left about 6pm, the party was still in full swing. I had a great day there. Since the school is so big (the primary section has about 460 children on roll) there were plenty of customers for the various stalls. All the food you could by from various countries was superb. I was really sorry I had eaten before I left home. Linus also had a good time, he manned the coconut shy along with another boy and they were extremely busy all afternoon. The stall that I found most remarkable though consisted of a hospital bed. Yes. And guess what this was for? Not pretty butterfly-face paints, no, the children could go there to have fake black eyes, gashing wounds, blood stained bandages on various parts of their bodies, or if they wanted it to be a bit more subtle, bloody dressings on foreheads. I was a bit shocked when I saw the first child with a bandage round his head and a big black eye, but soon the hall was full of happy children looking battered and bruised… A bit macabre, but the kids loved it. The stall was extremely popular. I think I would have loved that too as a child, because I ALWAYS wanted a plaster cast on my arm or leg, so I can understand this, but I don’t think this would have gone down well in Britain…. Humour is a cultural thing (by the way, this stall was run by the Spanish section). This also shows in the theatre performances at school. I heard that one play by a different year group from Lucy’s was about wife beating. How weird is that. I find this so strange and so did a number of other people I talked to who had actually seen the play. But a French friend I talked to about this said that she found it a bit alienating at first, but then came to the conclusion that it was a good opportunity to raise awareness of the topic. I am not sure I agree, I suppose there are other issues that may be more relevant to children. But there you go, I am a stranger in a strange land, I need a few more years to get used to the culture and different view of life :).

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2 Responses to “It’s Monday…”

  1. Sabine Says:

    Do you know that at the school my children went before in Bracknell, they had exactly the same sort of painting, with all sort of blood, bruises and so on ? And I was shocked as well and thought that it would never worked in France ! So, here we go, it’s more complicated and maybe with kids, its just a question of opportunity !

  2. birolilu Says:

    Haha, Sabine, that is really funny, I NEVER thought that this kind of thing would be allowed in Britain where everything has to be so PC… I guess it is something that kids LOVE, and after Friday I think ‘why not let them have it’, because for kids it’s just dressing up and I suppose it’s just adults who think it’s somehow weird because it’s not cute, pink, glittery and sanitized. If I think about myself as a child, I reckon I would have thought it much cooler to wear a scar on my face than a some pastel coloured princess face paint. So maybe they should be given the choice at every school fair, to go glittery or emergency, just as they wish…:)


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