The last scooter ride to school.
I've been rather emotional this week, knowing that the school year has come to an end, and this is it for us. The kids won't be returning next year. We will be returning to our hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
It's not because we haven't had a fabulous year. It couldn't have been any better. Seriously, it's been like a dream. From the beginning, Parisians have been so kind to us. We found a great apartment within scootering (and walking) distance to the kids' school. Our location allowed us to take buses almost everywhere we needed to go which was just wonderful. The metro is efficient, but the buses are more humane. I have totally enjoyed the feeling of safety of riding the metro until midnight and walking alone along the quais of the Seine alone in the early evening. And dare I even begin (again) to sing the praises of the easy and fun velibs?
Despite my daughter's teacher's cold exterior, she has been a wonderful teacher and M has learned to read in French and later, in English. The first report cards home encouraged M to speak more French. I checked with her teacher after they recently presented a play for us, and her teacher said "are you kidding? she speaks nonstop now!" Q and M have even taken to speaking French at home. Of course, they speak it with a very silly invented southern American accent which is hilarious to listen to.
Q has quite enjoyed his year of year-round soccer and swimming, increased reading proficiency, becoming a spelling bee champ and challenging chess player. He enjoyed computer class and became proficient at reciting poems by Jaques Prevert. He especially enjoyed making friends with Mason, Parker, Takaki, Will, Sasha and Pierre Louis, a very nice group of boys who really made the transition to living in France and attending a French bilingual school so much fun.
I am sad to leave, and yet am grateful to have had such a wonderful year. We are returning for various reasons. It wasn't an easy decision. Family and friends are a strong pull home, as is our home in a great neighborhood with friendly neighbors. My husband will be happy to walk down the street and speak his language to friends and strangers alike. Our kids will be thrilled to see our little dog Pearl again as well as play outside in the yard and down the street with friends.
Our departure date is July 31st, so there will be several posts before we bid adieu to this amazing city. We are off to the Basque area tomorrow, so stay tuned for some entries from Southwest France, and perhaps Spain.
Until then, enjoy these end of the school year shots of kids enjoying themselves.