Monday, January 4, 2010

Educating Caleigh

We arrived real early to her school, as all the alarm clocks were set for 6:00 am, and her school starts at 8:45 am. We were up with tons of time and all showered, separately. We had breakfast and I went out and started and preheated the car. Once in, we started the drive to Duras. Not only was it pitch black, but what little we could see was fog. There weren’t many people on the road, and we sped to school. Caleigh was giddy and nervous, so we ( I ) teased her about all the new boys that she would meet. A father’s humor knows no bounds, or an insensitive father’s humor….well you get the drift. Once in the quaint town of Duras I found a suitable parking space, and then was directed to get a more suitable parking space so we moved the obligatory 20 feet closer. All being happy at this point, other than the disgruntled driver my wife had married, we waited. When there was movement in the school and adults started filing in, we joined them. The main entry to the schools goes through a steel and glass structure and into a common waiting area, a fishbowl if you will. The students file through there and out into a yard. There are steps from the fishbowl, to the yard, and a landing on either side. So we sit in the center seating area and are watched by all the eligible young boys, even those who aren’t eligible probably. Caleigh is the new girl in school and looks like a light bulb to these boy moths. I’m mildly amused. I’m also thankful that through the crowd of innocent bystanders come two of the young girls that Caleigh has befriended. They approach and all say Hi to Caleigh and the boys look discouraged as these two girls have taken the new little guppy out of the deep end and steered her out of their mini shark tank and into the reefs.
After a while Mr. B arrives and introduces himself and indicates that he has to get the typical Monday morning logjam sorted out but that he will be with us shortly, just stay here in the middle of the fishbowl. Caleigh rejoins us and a couple minutes later the morning bell sounds and all the students roll by on their allotted rounds. The young ladies size up Caleigh, and the boys check her out. I will be happy after the first few weeks when Caleigh has gotten to know her fellow students and learned that she is really a lot like them, just wanting to socialize during what free time school allows her. When Mr. B return, we go with him to the Principals office, we being Caleigh and I as Cindy has chosen the exact time to search out a powder room. We proceed in and The Principle starts with the questions and asks for Caleigh’s grades from her previous school. After hand gesturing and saying in broken French that my wife will be right back, and she has the papers he nods. He then asks me what I do back in the states, and I tell him the start of the huge concrete…Cindy walks in and she hands him her previous report cards. They go over her report cards and question her about the courses, how much French she speaks, who she knows in the school, what’s up with the note about chewing gum in school. It was just once in class, and they go on to the next observation, this was done all very politely, friendly even, as they wanted to know where she was on the scholastic food chain, unlike the moth boys earlier. They were impressed how many of her past teachers had commented on what a joy she was to have in class - a little money goes along way - just kidding. Caleigh earned all those compliments. Long story short, for now she would remain in her grade. But if the language was to much of a hurdle, they may recommend placing her one level lower to facilitate the language barrier. I was impressed. Caleigh will have her work cut out for her, but if she maintains their level of accomplishment and stays in her grade, I will be amazed. If not, I’m still amazed at her going to a foreign school. At that point Mr. B explains the days order throughout the week for Caleigh and the different classes and teachers. He then takes her to her first class after having Caleigh talk with a couple other girl students who go over any questions she may have. I hear in the background a friend of Caleigh’s who is helping Mr. B with questions for her. We are left with the “Secterarie” of the Principal, and Vice Principal, she says a few things in rapid French and I agree. Essentially that Mr. B will return shortly and help you fill out the required documents; or for a people who subsist on French fries and lard we look quite fit.
Mr. B. indeed returns and goes through a stack of papers that require filling out. He is methodical and very helpful. We follow along nodding and saying “Oui” whenever we actually understand which side of the paper he wants filled out. I know this because he shows me the blank side and shakes his head at me. ( Joking) He is a delight and guides us through the process, we feel relieved on our drive back to the farm that it wasn’t the daunting task we thought it very easily could have been. Tomorrow we will go to the local bank and open an account, that will then allow us to acquire cell phones, as the Carte Bleu credit card and the NIB is required to obtain cell phone service. I really want to get Caleigh a basic cell phone so she’s not left in Duras waiting for a lift one day. But, that should be another interesting process - getting the “Carte Bleu.”

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