This is the story of how I almost died laughing on a kayaking trip. It all started when someone at the school in France where I was working as a German assistant asked me along to a year 5 sports camp. And so it was that I found myself in Lathus, an idyllic little part of France, together with a gaggle of 24 children, class teacher Melissa and her equally charming mother Florence. My task for the week was to supervise half the class along with Florence during activities. On the fourth day, we drove to a lake to do some kayaking. I have to admit that it was not only the children who found it daunting. I had never done it before either, and I did not really know what to expect. Luckily, we were ably assisted by an expert called Thomas. We courageously stepped into our kayaks and set out falteringly across the water. It was not long before little Vincent made a clumsy move, lost his balance and fell into the cold water. Thomas came to his rescue straight away, but another mishap was already in the offing. Axelle was finding it all a bit too much and started to panic. She cried and would not let go of the jetty. Now Florence and I had to spring into action. “On arrive! We’re on our way!” we shouted from afar as we headed towards her. Unfortunately, we were not entirely in control of our own kayak, so our progress was wobbly. Faced with this tragi-comic situation, we both burst out into fits of laughter. I almost died laughing. This cheered Axelle up, and we managed to save her. So much for my first kayaking experience!
I could also have given an account of how I fell in love with a charming Frenchman, how I viewed the Atlantic from the most westerly point in France, how I played “fruit salad” with the children, how I became acquainted with Pineau des Charentes, and much more. All these stories are unforgettable and deserve to be told some day! They add up to a wonderful adventure. During my time as an assistant, not only have I learned how to teach German creatively and improve my own language skills – first and foremost, I got to know and love the country and its people.
For me, the last day was not a case of adieu but au revoir. France, I will be back! A bientôt!