France is really dead in August- nothing happens. Shops are closed, businesses are quiet, the roads are empty. But then, on La RentrÃ©e, or the day that the country goes back to school (the same day across the nation), everything wakes up.
And so it goes for sports and after-school or Saturday activities. Last Saturday, 120 of the Grenoble area sports associations took part in a big fair at the shopping mall. (Yes, I can use the article ‘the’ in terms of shopping malls here, as in one shopping mall, or singular!) My husband and I decided to go because we had been talking a lot about what extra-curricular activities we wanted to sign the boys up for. They had already tentatively decided on Judo and Swimming.
We found the Judo association we wanted to go through right away. And even better, the classes are going to be about a 10 minute walk from our new apartment. But we couldn’t find any swimming classes that were convenient, or even that had places (and that we could afford). So we stopped at a tennis club, and they told us about the open day they were having the next week, which was the day before yesterday. Then, during the week, I heard from an American friend here who was going to sign her son up for Little League, the first training of which was also being held the day before yesterday.
Saturday morning my husband took the kids first to baseball, then to tennis, to see what they liked, and which activities they wanted to do. Luckily, the activities won’t always be happening at the same time. My oldest son (age 6.5) decided that he only wanted to do baseball. My youngest son, however, decided that he wanted to do both activities. So now he’ll be doing three sports during the week, and my oldest will do just two.
Judo will cost â‚¬265 for the year for the two kids; baseball will cost â‚¬160 for the year for one. I don’t know how much baseball will cost, but I imagine it will be in between in price. My husband also wants to sign them up for guitar lessons, but I imagine that will depend on how much lessons cost! Basically we’re looking at â‚¬1000 for the year for lessons and activities, which is a lot, when you think about it.
I’m not worried about spending the money– it does fit into our budget and we can pay for all the lessons over the next three months and then be done for the year. I am a bit worried about the kids feeling overwhelmed, especially my second son. I hope he’ll have enough time to relax.
Mostly, what I’m feeling is gratitude. I’m feeling very lucky and very thankful to be able to pay for the activities that my kids want to do. Last year we had to stop doing their extra English lessons because we couldn’t afford them. I’m happy that this year we can afford to do the things they want to do… within reason, of course!
What activities are you or your kids doing this year… or not doing?