July 4, 2008

Maple Syrup

The nice thing about an only child is you can raise him on Maple Syrup. There’s nothing wrong with Log Cabin, I turned out alright, if you consider a penchant for fois gras and butter cream frosting healthy. But when there is just one mouth to feed, one can afford Maple Syrup.
Actually we can afford Oscar’s gourmand tendencies easily enough; he apparently has some sort of French speed governor built in. Unlike me, or most other kids, he hoards his goods. Oscar still has Halloween candy, he still has M&M’s his birthday party, and it took him all week to finish a tiramisu! I’m not sure where this comes from, it may be French…. it may be Californian…. it may be the child of stupid-thrifty parentage???? He continues to be happy with second hand clothing and penny candy, library books and adaptive reuse. Someday soon he may start insisting on new clothes, or a cell phone, but for now we are the blissful parents of a happy 10 year old.

Today is the last day of school for this Franco-American, suitably on Independence Day! Oscar is finished with primary school and starts at college next year, the confusing name for what America calls middle school. It’s a big deal here, a larger school and a new format. The college is here in town, walking distance from home and we are all excited about the change. He finished the year with excellent marks and a nice comment about his appetite for learning. We have seen some of the strange effects of his having skipped a grade, while he did well academically, he is the youngest and in some ways that comes apparent from time to time. The biggest problem was inserting himself into the older class and their lukewarm acceptance. Next year their class will be mixed with several other schools and we expect all these lines to blur further. The process has perhaps given him some important social skills.

Otherwise he is walking the line between sweet kid and surly adolescent, unsure on how to respect his parents and be a cool kid at the same time. I’m dreadfully afraid it’s karmic payback time and what the next few years could bring. Oscar is entering what were dark years in my childhood. Fortunately half of his genetic makeup comes from Pat so we should be alright.

Madame McBain was honored at the end of the school year. The other teachers gave her some gifts, the parents gave her a rounding ovation, and the kids were all appreciative and happy to try out their English hello’s. She shined and continues to do wonders for our status in this tiny town. Next year she hopes to get involved at the college and perhaps start an “English club”.

Every step we make gives us new entrees into the community here. After five years we are more comfortable with our status and able to speak more English with friends. Everyone speaks some English, it seems like many were waiting for us to establish some command of their language before they were comfortable enough to try ours. Every few weeks someone else talks to Pat about helping them with their English. Every new door gives us an entrée into another level of society here, Oscar’s school, Pat’s teaching, or my new door.

The door came out well, getting compliments, beckoning visitors and still slamming behind them. The arch is way out of level so the door is too, causing it to pick up speed as it closes… pending.

Summer starts for us today; we are off to the beach!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Still my favorite American/French bloggers.

Happy 4th!