Tuesday, February 2, 2010


So last week, the French O.F.I.I. (Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Integration) finally and after a whole lot of faxes, letters, visits and hassles, granted us the small yellow pieces of paper that validated our visas. It required a trip to Toulon, chest x-rays and medical exams, and several hundred euros worth of funny immigration stamps. Bill wore a tie to the appointment, just in case, and was understandably thrilled by the final resolution of The Visa Problem.

Then two more, just yesterday:

Bill, to me, just after he spent two hours reading and researching to prepare for our trip, tomorrow to Marseilles:

"You know, actually planning to go to a city really makes a lot of sense! Why did I always insist that we just drive in and look around and be "free" all the time? What was up with that? We're going to have a much better time now that I have these directions and ideas for places to eat and things to do!"

And, then, later that same day…

Abigail told us that that day in class she had raised her hand four times in class, answering four different math problems. In French. So now our daughter is not only learning multiplication a year earlier than her peers back home, but can also answer provide answers like "cent vingt-sept" when I would just say one-twenty-seven.

According to her, the teacher didn't really say anything one way or another (that's how she knew she had said the right answers.) But the other children in the class all looked her way, astonished and thrilled, mouthed, "ABIGAIL!" and mimed silent, joyful clapping on her behalf.

So perhaps this French school business has not been a total disaster.

Happy February, everybody.


  1. So many wonderful posts this week, Launa. So much to smile about and groan over and applaud for on your behalf and on behalf of your family. Trips and meals and math visas and seafood in French. Lovely!!! Perfect.

    I know you write for yourself - but thank you for sharing yourself and your writing with those of us who are following your adventures online.

  2. We have been struggling with teaching math in French at home while they're simultaneously learning it in English at school. Picture, if you will, young Max doing a math problem: 82+17 = ?

    Seems straightforward, right? Until I try to get him to say it in French: 'four twenties two plus ten seven equals....?' 'That's right! Four twenties ten nine!' At which point he looks at me like I'm bonkers and says, 'ninety nine is a lot easier to say'.