Monday, September 08, 2008


One kind blogpal has asked if my kids actually LIKE their new schools. Good question.

Eldest daughter weighs in with a resounding "Non!". She is not liking it one bit. She is known as "The African" and random groups of people wander up to her to ask "Are you from Africa?" and when she answers politely, they wander off smirking and giggling. Idiots. As you may guess, she's really not comfortable with the attention and is becoming pretty miserable. And as a result, she even pretends not to speak English very well.
That's right!
She doesn't want anyone to know that she's half American and speaks perfect English. She couldn't hide the fact that she'd transfered in from Burkina Faso (all the teachers knew and mentioned it in class the first day) but she CAN avoid being an English-speaking "freak" by staying silent in class. I just hope that these kids get bored and move on to something else. I also fervently hope that Valentine will eventually assume the mantle of her freakishness and shine in English class once again.

And the boy Sev? He's floating above it all, as usual. On the first day he easily found two pals to show him around. And by the second day, he was making an impression the female population. He was passed a pink piece of paper with hearts drawn all over it. It was a masterpiece by two girls in his class and read "We are watching you!".
He later showed it to Valentine who remarked: "Ooh! Stalker girls. Kind of creepy, don't you think?"
Trust Tya to discern the dark underside.

As for the twins: the tiny one-room school caught them by surprise, even though they'd been warned. And it was not a good surprise. At lunchtime the first day, Alexa was crying and wishing for her old school and myriad of friends back in Ouaga. But all was well by the end of the day, as the teacher complimented both twins on their skills and fine handwriting. (Good move on her part. Brava!) So, the academic front is going well. But socially?
Well, the twins are finding the locals rather provincial and had some cutting things to say about their clothes ('the girls look like boys!') and their amusements.
A particular subject of disdain was the apparently very popular game called "Wall". It involves throwing a ball against (yes, you guessed it) a wall. The kids all play it during recess and can talk about nothing else, so I am informed. The twins decline to participate and positively yawn when forced to listen to the endless chat about it.
I tried to explain to the girls that their conduct may not exactly win them a big fanbase here in the Valley, but I don't know how all this is going to play out. The whole 'bored sophisticate' stance might offend, of course. It can do that.
But on the other hand, the twins are pretty convincing and charismatic. The girls might just get away with this and have the other kids competing for their attention, the Wall forgotten.
Stay tuned...

5 comments:

La Framéricaine said...

Are the children able to maintain and Blogger bridge back to their friends. It boggles the mind to think that they are only SKYPE or a blog away from their recent past, if their friends have the good fortune to be connected to the Internet.

I went from Boonville, Oklahoma to Santa Clara County, California at 15.5 years old and while our ages are decidedly different, the culture shock had to have been very similar--I had an Oklahoma accent that you could cut with a knife.

I wish all of your children the very best French acculturation process while simultaneously keeping alive all that Africa means to them in their heart of hearts and their understanding of the earth and its inhabitants.

Amitiés,

Beth said...

Thanks for the kind wishes.
Yes, the kids keep in touch with pals back in Ouaga- but since school started again, Tya's friends are a lot less quick to answer her emails. I guess it's normal... She has so much homework that she doesn't have much time to write, either.
Sev and the twins are very connected, blogging and emailing almost daily. As a result they are feeling much happier than their big sister.

MLW said...

Wow, you must be in serious rural France if kids from BURKINA can play the sophisticates.... This may be an even more adventurous first-overseas-trip-with-baby than I imagined (no, no news yet, but that doesn't stop me from already making travel plans for Baby X).

Sorry it's hard on V. But being the new girl in school can be really cool -- nobody has any backstory on you, so you can make everything start fresh.

But what are you doing for clothes now that pagnes would be a bit, umm, different?

Beth said...

Considering the fact that we are in La France Profond (aka SERIOUS Rural France) I do my best to BLEND. Don't want to frighten the neighbors. They might blame me when their milk cows go dry.
And after surviving the start-up of the HLC, it would be a shame to die burned as a witch, don't you think?

oreneta said...

I am sorry that Valentine is having a rough go...it can be odd, we are know as the Canadians rather than by name, though some folks are confused and think we are French, German, whatever....Someone even turned to me and commented that I was the famous Canadian wasn't I....a bit of a stretch, though I guess within the world of the village....

Hope things get better...eldest starts a new school on Monday...la Canadenka...we'll see how it goes.

Glad the others are doing well anyway. Hope it gets better all around. I too have made comments about the bored sophisticate not really making friends and influencing people....