As an expat it's important to find ways to integrate into your adopted country. Recently there been a lot of ideas floating around about ways that we can integrate better into our local French communities. It's not hard to put on an event here. If you have an idea and can gather up enough volunteers anything is possible. The kids have broken up from school but not too long ago, just before the end of term, 'Sportilac' was held down at our local lake. There are loads of sporting activities available for kids in our area of France, but the idea of a sports day, like the ones held in UK schools at the end of every school year, is not something that our local school offers. The event was organised by a local British expat who thought this event would be great for the kids, but also hoped it would be an event well attended by both French and British families.
It was a fantastic afternoon. There was mini basketball, Zumba and Urban Dance demonstrations, African drumming, a cake stand to raise money and a BBQ. There were races for the kids such as egg and spoon, sack race, an obstacle course and all the kids won medals for competing. The tug of war and welly throwing was popular with both kids and adults. There was a 'Miss Parisot' competition for men which after a LOT of encouragement 3 very brave (English) men dressed up in women's clothes and paraded themselves in front of everyone. To end there was a very amusing raft race between a very professionally made raft, with welded together barrels, planks of wood, topped with bunting and a flag, and Andrew's team who just about got away with 6 blown up lilos and a ladder of wood. I'm surprised they made it there and back without sinking into the lake!
The event, if it continues year on year, has the potential to grow into a great day out for all the family. There was a good turn out from both French and English families (possibly slightly more English than French to begin with?) and though there were some events that only the English took part in it may just be unfamiliarity with the whole sports day idea as to why others didn't get involved. It would be great if the local schools got involved as anything that encourages kids being active can only be a good thing!
Are you an expat? Have you ever organised an event to encourage integration?
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