My son and I are leaving our small town in southeastern United States to live for a year in a small town in southeastern France. It couldn't possibly be THAT different, right?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Des amis

    There are many people who have told me that this is a wonderful opportunity for Jed, but there are almost as many who have questioned whether this year will somehow be a setback for him---either academically or socially.  I admit that I have had the same questions.  As a language teacher, I know that he is at the perfect age to learn a second language, and I feel that he will pick up French pretty quickly.  I also feel like he will be able to stay on track in his math skills.  As a mom, though, I fear that he will be lonely and that school will be overwhelming.  He is not painfully shy, but he is not a raging extrovert either, and he has never really liked the regimentation of the school year.
    Thankfully, some of my fears were allayed today when Jed met French kids for the first time.  My mentor, Caroline, came over with her entire family this morning so we met Manon, Louis, and Paul who are all very close in age to Jed but speak little to no English.  It was not long, however, before the boys were all playing with Jed's Bey Blades, Pokemon cards, and wrestlers.  They didn't say much, but they laughed easily.  After they left, Jed asked if we could go see them sometime.
    I took Jed to the park in the afternoon fairly confident that we would meet kids there, but the crowd was young so we just had a photo session, ate some ice cream, and came home.  Jed must have felt less certain at that point that friends would be in his future because he looked wistfully out of the window and said, "I guess that I'll really learn how to play by myself this year, Mom."  Lord!  That just broke my heart!  I grabbed a ball game that we had bought at the grocery store and put off making dinner so that we could go downstairs to play.
    We had not been outside very long when three boys appeared out of the woodwork.  They watched us and listened to our English for a bit and giggled on the sidelines before calling out, "Hello!"  in their adorable dropped-H accents.  I told them that Jed did not speak French, but they didn't care.  They asked if he could play with them.  I stepped aside and watched for the next hour while they played ball and chased each other and swung on the vines of the weeping willow, communicating somehow in a mixture of English and French.  Jed got his first bloody nose when a stray elbow caught him in the face, and he didn't want to come inside to clean up because he was afraid that the boys would disappear.  We ran up the stairs and got a paper towel, and I sent him back down by himself and finally started dinner.  
    All three boys will go to Jed's new school, and they told me that he would be well-accepted.  They said that people are friendly here and that anyway, they would play with him.  Jed's new friends are Lorenzo, Sofiane, and Ange (which means "angel" in French).        


  1. Margaret , Jed - great to read about your opening adventures. Sounds like Jed has made some buds; awesome.

  2. Madame (h)Owie, this story brought tears to my eyes! As someone who has been in Jed's exact shoes as a young person (perhaps just a little older), I can tell you this will benefit him like you couldn't possibly imagine. And he has you to help him out! It took me literally a month before I could understand that Air-ee Po-tair actually meant Harry Potter, and even with that steep learning curve, I had a BLAST and continue to visit my french family to this day. You're doing the right thing Mom!
    --Danielle Betras

  3. Thank you, Danielle. School is so hard for Jed at the moment that he wants to throw in the towel and return to the U.S., but I keep telling him how brave he is, and I'm also using ice cream bribes. Maybe between those two motivators, we can make it past this rough patch.