This is the story of my life so far: 68 years and counting.
Prequel: A Brief History of my Family in France
During our first year in Canada, Roseline was in grade 11 at Richmond Secondary School, Betty in grade 9 and Syrille in grade 8 were in McRoberts Secondary School and Gaëlle was in grade 4 in Whiteside Elementary School.
The reason why Roseline, Betty and Syrille were in two different secondary (high) schools was that at this time, in Richmond, there were two kinds of secondary schools: senior secondary school for grade 11 and 12, and junior secondary schools for grade 8, 9 and 10. Two years after our arrival, the system was changed and there were only one kind of secondary schools, from grade 8 to 12. So Betty and Syrille did not need to change schools after grade 10.
The McRoberts and Whiteside schools were in walking distance of the house in Berry Road, so most of the time, Betty, Syrille and Gaëlle were walking to school. Initially, I must have driven Roseline to Richmond Secondary, but after a while, she must have taken the bus to go to school. At this time in the Lower Mainland, high schoolers were given a card that allowed them to use public transportation (buses and SkyTrain) without paying.
All my children were in French immersion schools, so part or all of their subjects were in French. But they needed to also get English as a Second Language (ESL) so that they would be able to speak English fluently. So, they spent half of the school day in French immersion and the other half in ESL.
In ESL, the majority of students were Chinese. And some of them were spending six years in ESL, because outside of ESL, they mostly spoke Cantonese, with their Chinese friends during recess and with their parents and siblings at home. For my children, the situation was very different, as there were almost no students that spoke only French. So, they had to practice their English with the other students and this way their English improved very quickly. The end result was that they did not spend too many years in ESL.
We spent only one year in the house on Berry Road, as it was not really comfortable. During spring 1995, we started to look for another house to rent.
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