A new class started at my school today for children under ten. They are so cute. Their teacher is doing lots of creative activities with them, like giving them questions to ask other students. They are fearless and eager to try out their new French skills. Before school I introduced myself to a family (Grandmother, mom, and daughter) who were speaking Spanish. The mom said she was from Colombia and said “My daughter speaks English.” This is usually a cue that the parent wants the child to practice their English skills, so I turned to the seven-year-old and slowly said “What’s your name?” She answered in perfect English and as the conversation continued I was amazed at how great her English was. Turns out she lives in Virginia, USA. (But her mom and grandma are from Colombia and they all speak Spanish to each other.)
Sometimes I really miss my own children and wish they didn’t live so far away. Yesterday when I was telling people about my family, a man remarked. “Americans are so mobile. If the job is in Boston, they move to Boston. Or Houston. Or Seattle.” I said “Wouldn’t a French young person do the same?”
“Of course not! None of our grown children have left Rouen. Why would they put their job before family?” Heads nodded around the table. This was a new concept for me.
“But if they couldn’t find a job in Rouen, and they could in Grenoble, wouldn’t they move?”
“How would they know there’s a job in Grenoble? They wouldn’t look there because they don’t live there.”
Of course, I’d love for our family to be all together every week, but I can’t imagine putting their future ahead of my desire to be with them. But trying to explain it made it seem like Americans put financial success ahead of family. I feel close to my kids and I FaceTime, visit in person, and vacation with them. Although I miss them, I’m glad they are pursuing their dreams and living their lives the way they choose.
At school, I moved up half a level. (I’m now in a C1-/B2+ class.) This is fun because it’s all new people. I spend much of my time amazed at the creative teaching techniques these teachers have. They force the eight of us to use the language, but in such a natural and fun way. They are continually correcting our written and oral production, but they do it in a way that is so kind that we appreciate the correction. They have good explanations that make this beautiful and frustrating language a little less crazy. Today we discussed technology. We were each assigned a question, took a survey of other students and summarized the results. An interesting question was “What was the first piece of technology you received?” This is hard because I’m so old, but I said “electric typewriter”. (My grandfather invented the electric typewriter.) I’d love to hear your response in the comments. Later I remembered that I got a transistor radio when I was pretty young, and I LOVED it. My question for others was “What technology do you hate?” Also hard since I love technology so very much, but people answered “Hover-boards”, “loud stereos”, “machines that take away jobs from artists or other workers”, and “vacuum cleaner”, (because it’s noisy and because her mom makes her use it.) I agree!
The exterior of my school.
A typical class session. Ironic that we all have our technology out as we discuss technology.
A poster I liked on a church: Because the world really needs peace.
I like this checkerboard house.