As I sat on the plane on the way to Toulouse with our daughter it felt like the beginning of the adventure. We were going to see our new home, strange to think that we had seen it for not much more than a couple of hours. This was real! This could soon be my new commute. There was also trepidation, would my Del-boy French be good enough to get us around, steer us through the school registration system and get us fed. Could I navigate the tram and the Toulouse underground? I had always had Liz to do the talking when we have been in France before.
It also felt right. That unexplainable feeling that this was ok, this was us. There will be a lot of challenges and it will be hard, but it feels right. Sometimes you just have to go with that!
….. until you get a message from Ryanair cancelling your return flight!!!
Oh well it’s amazing what you can sort out with an ipad but it did take the shine off what should have been the first and for our daughter, most important, part of the adventure; finding a pancake in Toulouse.
Our first encounter with the Toulouse Mairie was the Elèves Allophones Nouvellement Arrivés (E.A.N.A) to assess our daughter’s French. She has had some lessons with Alliance Francaise but will need more support (a lot less than me though!). After our crepes, we set off on the underground to find the office. My one-legged pigeon French seemed ok and our daughter was fab. The assessor had taught at Alliance Francaise, which gave them something to talk about. He loved her folder of French work and before we knew it, I was looking at a map and deciding between two schools that were near the apartment and had the additional French support. Seemed like I was making a huge decision on the hoof and how did I know if it is ‘good’ or not. That was probably me thinking that it’s like the English system, so we just went with it and the nearest one it was… our daughter was allocated to a school.
However we then discovered that we needed to go to another department to get our fische d’admission. So that was our second challenge, but that would be for the next day.
This was another challenge that did test my French, we were working well as a team….we found the right office and managed to get the right ticket and saw somebody in a few minutes. It seemed that I had all of the right paperwork to hand…. Except that one crucial document to register her for school; the insurance for the apartment! Which could have been a minor disaster as without it we could not register her. But thanks to the having all our documents on a cloud I could access the right document and email it to them… another lesson learnt; make sure you know what documentation is going to be needed and can access any other documents as you probably will need them as well!
I was quite chuffed with our success; we now had a school! Time for the Natural History museum and the park!
The other great part of our trip was seeing the apartment again and going for a swim!.. yay! She has picked her room and agreed to look after the fish. It was also good for me to see our new home, as to date we had only had a 20 minute look round. It is amazing how we make these kind of decisions.
So her first trip went really well, a few ups and downs and a bit of French bureaucracy… there’ll be a lot more of both of those to come!
However it did make it real and now there is more excitement than fear, but I am sure that may change as well! I did feel very alive, we were doing something to change our lives, this is it, we are on our way and it feels like the right thing… however it turns out.