Oct 24, 2012

Moving to Paris - everyday considerations

Dwelling on the mundane.

So - I'm back from a long weekend in Paris, trying to get our lives set up. Though I've gone to Paris at least once a year since moving to the UK (and much more often since my family moved there), visiting a place is always different from living there with a whole set of different considerations to take into account.

Food
The fresh food in France - baguettes, cheeses, etc. - is great, but the quality of the food I saw in the supermarket wasn't breathtaking. Just surveying our local Monoprix, the foods were pretty preservative-laden and the fresh fruit and vegetables are visually less-than-stunning (though that might mean less pesticides): spotty grapes and warty cucumbers, both with seeds. And it's pretty expensive, though I'm used to that from the UK. I generally buy foods with as few artificial ingredients as possible, so I'm just going to have to study labels till I've found some favorite brands - just like I did in the UK when I first got here. And with the kitchen equipment I'll have at my disposal, making my own humous, pesto, and yogurt should be easy enough. But I do hope the Organix toddler range has a local equivalent, because making my own raisin-oat-apple bars seems a bit daunting.

Schools for T
I was not impressed with the school I was dead-set on sending her to. Without getting into too many details, the school was fine but not great - had it been a state school, I would have shrugged my shoulders and thought "fair enough." But for a fee-paying school I was disappointed. It's a Montessori school so the educational principles are basic but solid - and the staff all were nice enough - but the little extras broke the deal for me. The administration was disorganized (one example: I was supposed to meet the principal, but she wasn't able to see me), the building wasn't in a great state (no toilet paper; T couldn't operate the tap by herself [it was rusty]), and there were no questions about my precious little snowflake's individual needs (I know kids are tougher than many give them credit for, but I appreciated that T's childminder and current preschool asked questions like "does your child have particular likes / fears").

T herself wasn't a fan...she's normally a tough cookie, but she clung to me and sobbed into my shoulder when we went to join a classroom. And since I was pretty sure at that stage that I wasn't going to send her to the school, I didn't see the point of leaving her alone.

So instead she will go to the Pre-K of my sisters' school (which is neither Anglo nor Francophone)...it's a lovely airy building, and the teachers are great. Though this will likely wreck my ambitions of getting T into London's Lycee Francais for the fall, I'd rather have her be happy than completely tri-lingual...it isn't the most important thing at this stage anyway.

French classes
I need to polish up my French, which is serviceable but not great - I want to be fluent again, not just able to get by. Unfortunately our timing is off for the Sorbonne's French courses, so I wouldn't be able to join a class there till February. I was advised to check the local precint's website, but that proved fruitless for me...I was able to find info on wine-tasting and silk-painting lessons, but not intermediate French. So I guess my best bet is to check with the local library since they might have more info.

So in conclusion...these last days were a bit sobering after my initial "moving to Paris!!!" euphoria. But now that T's school is almost fully sorted out (just need to get her forms in), the other things are minor concerns which can be resolved on site.

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