Saturday night -- very late Saturday night -- Jeanne and 10 other kids arrived together from France. There are three adult chaperones. Everyone is staying with different families from The Hudson School (in Hoboken) where Julia attends. The French students will be here for two weeks.
Jeanne is 14 years old. She's acting a bit shy, but I'm sure it's because everything is new here. She's a delight, and she's quite willing to try everything. Julia has gotten her to laugh many times. She speaks very quietly with Carol and me. Julia speaks French very well. Jeanne speaks English fairly well, but sometimes we speak in French. Carol's French sounds bad to my ears, because I'm such a darned perfectionist. Carol mixes French and English in the same sentence and pronounces some French words with a Spanish accent, and she mixes up tenses etc. But she's a more effective communicator than I am, because she's willing to try anything.
Carol and I took her to Whole Foods and helped her plan her lunches for the week. We let her try many foods, and she chose three French cheeses. We could learn a lot from her!
Julia and her girlfriend Vallie went with her to the Village Trattoria in Maplewood. They had a good time and met up with some kids who go to Columbia High School, the school Julia used to go to in Maplewood.
Then Carol and Jeanne and I took a bike ride. Jeanne said she's entering a triathlon in June.
The bike I loaned her is a really nice bike, but it's at least 30 years old, and Jeanne was too scared to try shifting the gears with the downtube shifters. Kids are spoiled, huh? So she stayed in the gear I put the bike in, which was a medium gear. At first, I wasn't impressed with her pace, but then I realized I don't know anything about 14 year old girls and what they're capable of. I thought maybe they don't go very fast. After a few miles, we headed up a long hill. That's when Jeanne began to shine. She's 5'2" (1.57m) and she probably weighs 90 lbs (41 kg), and that physique gives her a hill-climbing advantage. She just kept her pace and scooted up that hill like it was nothing. "Tu es forte et vite!" I yelled. ("You are strong and fast!")
I was hesitant to tell Julia, because Julia's heavier than she thinks she ought to be (which isn't true) and seems to feel bad about not being a fast cyclist. I told her how it went, and she was pleased to hear it.
Jeanne declined to have any toe clips on her bike. I refuse to ride without them, and she'll benefit from them (or cleats) eventually, but it's even more impressive that she climbed the hill so ably without them.
Here is the route we took. It's 11.7 miles or 18.8 km. I bet she doesn't know it's that far. I plan to tell her.
In the evening, Julia and I had a rehearsal to attend, and Carol had another rehearsal to attend, so Carol dropped Jeanne off at Donna's house. Donna's son Corey goes to Hudson School, too, and they're hosting another of the French students, so Jeanne ate at their barbecue. I hear she had a nice time, and she was able to translate for everyone, because their student, Clement, doesn't speak English as well as Jeanne does.
This morning, Jeanne and Julia left early for school, as they will do every morning. They were out of the house at 6:55.