Today was the first day back at school; “la rentree” as the French call it (with an accent which I cannot find here). In France it is akin to Christmas in importance. It is something you prepare for weeks in advance. I remember once a French friend of mine was thinking about getting a job in June. “But of course now it will have to wait until after la rentree,” she told me.
I have taken on this French custom and been planning today for weeks. For example I bought all their school kit in France to save me struggling to find it here, especially as all the shops are shut during daylight hours for Ramadan.
As we drove them to school Rupert and I remembered the rentree last year. We arrived at school in a taxi sweating and fretting, we had nowhere to live, no friends here, the children were not happy and we all felt totally unsettled, poor and miserable. I was ready to turn around and move back to France. It is amazing how much has changed. Sad as I was to leave France yesterday, I am really happy to be home. The children were perky and excited this morning despite the fact that I woke them up at what was 5am European time. Here they are ready to go.
We have a lovely home, our jobs are great, we have two cars and tonight we are invited to a big party with friends. We won’t dwell on Rupert’s mid-life-crisis-vehicle (Ford Mustang if you must know, with red leather seats) but the point is, if you had told me a year ago where we would be today I would not have believed you. I hope that doesn’t sound smug and of course our lives are not perfect. But it is nice to look back and feel you have moved upwards instead of downwards.
The major difference (apart from Rupes’s car) being how happy the children are to be back and how well they have taken the rentree this year.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2009