Monday, July 25, 2011

Brilliant Idea or Crazy Scheme?

I'm an idea person. I come up with great plans like adding helium to running shoes or making cars out of rubber so they bounce off each other rather than crashing. I have little follow-through on my ideas though.
Sunday morning, Earl, Grace and I sauntered down to Caribou Coffee. As we sat at an outdoor table, we started talking about Grace's future. Would she go back to her college in upstate New York and major in languages? Would she go to college in Florida and major in marine science? Would she just stay home and go to the local community college until she figured out what she wanted to do?
We had ruled out the return to New York, and completing everything for Florida seemed unlikely at this point.
"You can just stay home this fall," I said. "You can already sign up for the classes that you want."
As we started to walk home, I reminded her she'd need to find a job other than lifeguarding since the pools will close.
I was already dreading Tucker's reaction. He takes Grace's room when she leaves for college.
But we hadn't even walked a block when I said, "Or you could go to France and Italy this fall to stay with our friends. Maybe you could even help Roby take care of her baby or work at cousin Cinzia's ski resort."
This idea seemed brilliant to all three of us!
So what do you think? Should I give this gawky 14-year-old a chance to have some more attractive photos taken in front the Arc de Triomphe?
When I went to France fresh out of college, I returned full of the urge to return to grad school, to get more education, to understand the world better.
Maybe a semester abroad would help Grace figure out what she wanted to do.
If she decides to major in languages then living in France and Italy will only help.
The cost to fly to Europe and stay with friends would be a quarter of the cost for a semester of college.
The more we thought about it, the more brilliant it became.
"Just go to college," Tucker proclaimed when we discussed the idea in front of him. "You're supposed to be in college. Just go and finish."
Well, he had a point. This could put her a semester behind, but she had taken some extra classes at the local community college, plus college credit for a biology trip to the Bahamas, so maybe it would even out. Plus, what is the point of going to college when she doesn't know what she wants to do.
The other worry is that Grace was homesick last year 10 hours away from home. She'll be an 8-hour flight away from home if she goes abroad and not able to make it back for a week-long visit.
She feels sure she won't be homesick, but when I went for three months, I was homesick. I wrote long elaborate letters and ran to the mailbox everyday. I wouldn't have traded that time for the world though.
So far, I've sent out emails to two friends in France who sent their kids over here to stay with us, including Marie's family. She spent five weeks with us the summer between Grace's junior and senior year.
One family has responded already. "Of course!"
They have two children studying in Paris and Grace can stay with them, plus holidays at the family home near Bourges, and any time with them in Nantes.
Earl hasn't contacted the cousins in Italy yet, but I thought I should take a moment and ask for some advice from my wise friends.
Is this a crazy scheme or a brilliant idea?
So, what do you think?


Lucia said...

I would love to do it for my daughter. Sounds wonderful.

Sheila said...

Didn't I already suggest this idea? I think she should do it. I think the break will do her good. Beth's going into college a year later than her peers. I'm thinking of it as her gap year, very European of us. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of Grace going to Europe in the fall! :)

Linda said...

Who wouldn't love to do that? I think traveling is so enriching. It might lead her into majoring in languages so she can return-that happens to a lot of young people. My grandson is coming in a week to visit for ten days. He has taken 2 semesters of French and is sure he will be completely fluent in French when he leaves. I hate to disappoint him.

Stephanie said...

Wow. This is crazy AND brilliant! I say go for it!

Grace said...

Send me to France! Send me to France!!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

If only I had been given this super duper choice .. I think it is a fantastic idea.. I would grab it with both hands and throw a party :-)

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