Day 65 (3 September 2010) – Ella’s First Day of School

You know that gentle September breeze you felt this morning in Seattle? It first crossed the Atlantic and then made it’s way westward across the US before coming down through Snoqualmie Pass. That was me exhaling. You see, Ella just got home from her first day of school and had a smile on her face. That’s a good thing. No, that’s a very good thing. When asked to describe her experience she provided a one word reply, “Confusing.” But the classic Ella eye-twinkle wasn’t too far away so we knew her day had other elements, too.

Today’s photo was taken at approximately 10:30. You can see Ella in the center of the picture wearing both her glasses and a smile. Melinda’s last piece of advice to her was to smile and she acted on it here, not even knowing she was being photographed. At this point in the morning Melinda and I had moved to the side, almost as curious to see the school manage this large crowd as we were in wanting Ella to have some positive experiences on her first day (okay, the positive experiences were WAY more important). One such experience had taken place about 15 minutes earlier when a thoughtful girl named Aude, a girl Ella had met on Wednesday, approached and introduced Ella to a group of her friends. That’s when Melinda and I started to make our exit.

After answering that things were “confusing,” Ella went on to say that her teacher is very nice and that a girl named Lucy or Lucille was very helpful all day long. She said that lunch was too long (it lasts like two hours here and a normal school day is roughly 8am-5pm). And she thinks she may have been assigned a paper to write but isn’t sure. For Melinda and me, we just want Ella to make some French friends and begin to absorb the French culture.

As Melinda and I left the school this morning I commented that this day was among the most significant of our year in France, given the importance of Ella having a positive school experience. By early accounts, school started on the right foot.

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