Monday, January 23, 2012

Josie's first day of school...

Josie survived her first day of school and even had a good day despite a bit of a bumpy start...
We missed the 7:20 am bus by seconds...the bus was parked in a different place than the last time we took it, and we stood around (like gaping tourists wondering where it was) for a few minutes before I found it... just as it pulled away. Josie was feeling a bit stressed and the next bus would make us late, so we took a taxi. Ack! 15 euros later, we arrived at IBS very early, but it was all good. And, the result is that Josie decided that the school bus is the way to go, and I concur!

Josie's school is the International Bilingual School of Provence (IBS... and is just outside of a small village south of Aix called Luynes (pronounced...loo-ee-n).  Josie is in year "premiere", which  is the year before the year you graduate.  The numbers in high school go backwards from our numbering in the US, and the last year is called "terminale".  She's continuing in the IB Diploma programme (that's why we chose this school), and there are about 60 kids in her class.  About 40 are boarding students.  And, all but two (Josie and Lindsey from Alaska) are from outside the US.  Josie said that she hears many different languages being spoken and that it's kind of crazy!  Her classes are all in english (except french of course), and many of her professeurs are British (one german, one australian).

There was another new student starting today at IBS...a young boy from Colorado! His parents (Ruth and George) and I had a great time talking and sharing experiences. They are high school teachers from Golden, CO taking a sabbatical and travelling around the world with their 12-year old son for a year!  They have landed in Aix kind of accidentally (their volunteer plans in Tanzania didn't work out) and don't have a place to live yet.  Bravely, they have rented a car and kindly offered to give me a ride to the giant-super store Carrefour, where I was headed to attempt to purchase a lamp or two for our dim apartment.  The drivers here are crazy.  Truly.  You have to be extremely aggressive to get anywhere in the traffic.

No luck with the lamp at Carrefour (I bought some super cheap battery-powered lights that didn't work and a really cheap flourescent shop light thingy that does work, but doesn't look so great), but I had a great time using my new french dictionary on my ipod to translate hair conditioner bottles! :-) LOL!  Fun in France! I really like how the new products I bought today smell! (I'm not usually into that kind of thing, but I just washed my hair and it smells so good!).

I learned today, from my iPod french dictionary, that Marseille has been famous for soap-making since the 1300s...hence the brand name soap Marseillais, and the scent Marseille on our laundry soap.  And, that you can buy a large block of "savon de marseille"...which I then found in the laundry aisle!!  But, what does one do with a 5-inch square block of soap?  Well...thanks to google, I now know that this soap is made from olive oil and is known for being very gentle to one's skin (here's a link  if you're interested...

I met Josie at the school bus this afternoon...I knew I was in the right place because I was confronted by a pack of teenagers, smoking cigarettes and speaking english.  Josie was not smoking, but was right behind them with a couple of other girls.  She was famished because the school lunch today was in honor of the chinese new year, and did not have an obvious vegetarian option.  So, we stopped at her now favorite Crepe a Go-Go so she could get her favorite Nutella crepe, then headed out to buy more school supplies.   yay!  That meant we got to go to Papeterie now favorite store where I have been spending too much money.  I love french stationary stores!

Josie said school was great, busy, long, and not as hard as she expected. She's ahead in biology and geography, and she said art is going to be her hardest class.  Her art teacher has very high expectations....thus another $100 of supplies!  But, what better place to explore art more deeply than in Cezanne's hometown??  
Studying in our dim apartment.

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