Know Where You’re Going

by Kelly · 4 comments

in Notes On Culture

south_african_cross_country_roadMy oldest son is starting first grade this year.

In France, children start school in the September of the year they turn three; they go for three years to nursery school, or maternelle, before going to elementery school, or primaire. So while starting first grade this year isn’t quite as emotional for me as it was when he went to school for the first time, it is still a big deal.

But I digress.

In fact, my son will not be going to the same school that he has already been attending for three years; he’s been accepted into the international public school. This means that he’ll be doing most of his classes in French, but will also have some classes in English. More importantly, it means that he’ll be with other bilingual, bicultural children.

However, enrolling him in this school, although he’s already been accepted, means dealing with French bureaucracy, which, I’m sure you’ll understand is a frustrating affair, to say the least.

The other day I decide to tackle the unpleasant chore of submitting his paperwork. I decided to leave the kids with my in-laws, so I drove from my end of town to their house. Then I drove from their house to the Prefecture, or city administration headquarters, to enroll my son. Once I got there (and paid for parking), however, I decided to look at the letter of admission one last time before going inside. Lo and behold, it said that I needed to do the paperwork at a local branch of the Mairie, or mayor’s office. When I looked at the map, the place I needed to go was back on the other side of town, near my in-laws’ house.


So back in the car I go, in the sweltering sun and heavy traffic. When I get to the mairie, the woman informs me that I need to bring a whole slew of other documents, photocopied and in triplicate, before she will accept our file.

The point of this story is that, had I looked at the letter of admission, and a map before setting out, I would have saved myself a whole lot of time, frustration and gas. And I find that I often do the same thing with my financial goals as well.

I often don’t take the time to read the documentation, or plot out my objectives in detail, or map where I’m going or want to go before heading on my way. And by doing so, I often feel frustratred and out of control, with no clear result at the end of the day.

I know this about myself, and I know that I need to remind myself to sit down and plan things out before I jump into things. I’m working on it, and slowly improving.

But the follow up trip to the mairie will have to wait til next week!

Do you plan things like your financial goals in advance, or just jump in feet first?


1 Jeanne July 6, 2009

I’m definitely a feet-first, not much planning, kind of person when it comes to finances. This is an area I need to work on…
.-= Jeanne´s last blog ..What I Did On Canada Day: =-.

2 Amy Reads Good Books July 7, 2009

I’m a planner, as evidenced by the two hours I spend tweaking our family budget and paying bills yesterday. 🙂 Sometimes, that can make things even worse. I think that I’m a good planner, I set up a nice budget, and then I make a mistake and have to re-do the plan. But you’re right, we learn a little with each mistake and things get better the more we do them!
.-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..Perfection =-.

3 The Urban Cowboy July 7, 2009

Most times I try to plan things out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way, often leading to frustration because I have ‘assumed’ something.
.-= The Urban Cowboy´s last blog ..Random Reflections =-.

4 Andrea July 8, 2009

We (my husband and I) plan. We don’t have a formal budget, but we know that certain amount over which we should or should not spend before asking the other one “can I buy this”? We have to talk things over above a certain threshold and about certain things and over time we have learned to come to recognize what those things are.

Save Money to Make Money
.-= Andrea´s last blog ..Keep your car full of gas. #sa… =-.

Previous post:

Next post: