We have arrived in France! We had an uneventful flight and arrived exhausted, with all of our luggage mostly in tact, in Albertville on New Year’s Eve.
Josiah with our luggage in Geneva
Eila, Brian and Josiah on the plane (Shannon and Thaddeus slept most of the way!)
Some of the students from our language school came and helped us carry up our bags and gave us a delicious and very special meal from the area where we are living. This area is called La Savoie, and is in the French Alps. These very tall mountains are on every side; it is absolutely gorgeous.
There are a few specialities for this region and the one we were treated to for our welcome feast and to celebrate the new year was La Tartiflette. It is a dish with potatoes and onions and ham that is cooked with a special French cheese.
We had just a short time (1 day) to unpack and get situated before we had appointments and school starting. The boys were able to start school on the first day back with the rest of the French students. There are exactly three American children in the boys’ school: Josiah, Thaddeus, and Thad’s new best friend. It is God’s gift to Thaddeus that he is in class with another American boy and they are both thrilled to have each other.
Josiah is in a 4th/5th split class. In the US, he was in 4th grade. In France, he is in CM2, which is the equivalent of 5th grade. Josiah’s teacher speaks a little English and so she has been giving him some alternate assignments and helping him to learn classroom directions and other important school phrases in French. Unfortunately, the TAP (afterschool care) teacher doesn’t know any English and so there is a lot of miming and guessing at what is happening. It does keep things interesting.
Eila had a test to see where she fit in school, but the results had to be sent away. The regional administration has just assigned her to a school and we will meet with the director and French as a foreign language teacher later this week. Hopefully, she will be able to start classes on Friday. There are several other girls about Eila’s age whose families are studying at the Center with us, so hopefully she will find someone to connect with soon.
Brian and I also took a test to see where we fit in school and we started our classes at the Center. The classes are fairly intense as we are in school the same times as the children, 8:30-4:30pm, minus a break for lunch. We have also been doing as much as we can to help ease the kids’ transition. We have our phones and internet set up now. We have the kids enrolled in school, mostly. We have library cards, school supplies and food. We have met one of our neighbors and explored a bit of the town too.
We have only been in France for ten days, but it seems like much longer and also much shorter. I think it might be that way for a while.
First Night in France