Last night I confronted my fears and phoned the principal of the primary where we would like the boys to attend school in Quillan.
Although the official process does not require you to register with the school in advance – indeed does not allow you to – I’d been thinking it would be a good thing to touch base with the principal. But it never felt like the right time to call. I’d be distracted, then I’d forget. With daylight saving I couldn’t work out the time difference. One night I called and got the answer machine – I’d missed morning break by 5 minutes. Oh dear what a shame, I’d have to call another time.
Even for those like me, reasonably fluent in language, talking on the phone is the last bastion. Without the benefit of body language and visual clues, a small silence feels like a week. A stumble over a word makes you feel retarded even if you’re just taking your time to find the right word.
Finally, last night, I faced up and phoned. And got through. And it was fine.
The lady who answered the phone first was very friendly. ‘Yes’ she said, she would pass me to the principal. There were sounds of children playing (happily?) in the background. I think she may have passed him the handset in the courtyard. The principal came on the line. He was very kind about my French.
We talked about the enrolment process. He confirmed that we need to register first, on arrival in Quillan, with the Mairie (town council). He will email me the details of the documentation we need to bring with us for enrolment. Despite arriving in the school holidays, we can register straight away, then turn up at school on the first day of term. He asked where we would be living and confirmed we would be registered against his school. He asked for our exact street address, and said he could pop by in the holidays with the school paperwork so that is in hand before the first day.
It all sounds very un-French, but I think I’m going to like this town!