Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Monday 18th August 2008

Good grief, we’ve overslept and it’s the first morning of school. Yikes !

Not a good start but we manage to get the boys up and breakfast on the table in record time. Breakfast is a struggle with both of them claiming to be too nervous to eat, but I make them eat half a bowl of weetabix and drink some milk. OH is coming with us today to school as it’s the first day.

We bought Swiss school bags from the Co-op in June and the boys were nearly ecstatic with delight “Oh Mum, that’s the bag I’ve wanted all year” etc etc. I don’t think it was the exact one, as it was on offer so it must be last year’s fashion, but they don’t know that. Yet. And, despite the haircuts, I am fairly desperate for them to fit in rather than make it obvious that they are auslanders, hence the bags and the scooters, which we also found in June.

The bags are heavy this morning – with PE kit and indoor shoes as well as the pencil cases. The Co-op school bag kit contained the main bag, the PE bag, one filled pencil case, a spare pencil case (presumably for maths instruments and extra colouring things) and a snack box. Bargain. Well not really, it was still 49CHF at the reduced price, but a comparative bargain for a Swiss school bag, the prices of which can reach an eye watering 200CHF.

A couple of nerves-induced tears, and then we’re off. It’s a 10 minute walk or a 6 minute bike ride or scoot to the Schulhaus. This morning we walk. I’ve already taught them the route I want them to take to school which is among the quickest but avoids the zebra crossings on blind corners (a rather dangerous Swiss speciality) and minimises the number of roads to cross in the first place.

Swiss school children walk themselves to school on their own from Kindergarten / Grade 1 age (5-7), but we are not the only parents in the playground today, so that’s OK, at least we aren’t making them feel like sissies. I hope. There are children everywhere in the playground and lots of parents, with countless girls lined up with their noses pressed eagerly against the glass door waiting for the bell to ring. It’s a happy atmosphere, and bodes well, we hope.The bell rings and there’s an almighty rush for the main school doors.

J is in Klasse 4. His teacher recognises us from the Besuchermorgen (Visitors Morning) and comes to say hello and shake hands. She is extremely friendly and speaks good English. J goes off with her to his sport lesson.We follow the masses into the main school building and up the stairs to C’s classroom. C is in Klasse 2. Again, his teacher finds us outside the room and greets us cheerily in German, showing C where to put his PE bag, outdoor shoes and school bag. The Headteacher, who impressed us greatly when we visited in May, also stops to greet us enthusiastically. 8.15am on Day 1 and it’s looking good…….

We leave C, and OH gets off on his bike to work. I walk home, wondering at the beauty of the village in the morning summer sunshine. Even the mountains have made an appearance, for the first time in weeks. It’s a good day for a new start.


They’re back, they’ve walked on their own. How was it ? "Fine, good". J has made a friend, and had a good morning, and C has also had a good time and has sung all morning. I’m sure he hasn’t, but I don’t mind if he has, being a singer myself. If I was 7, went to school and sang all morning I’d be chuffed to bits.

They both remind me of the details form I’ve not filled out for their teachers yet. Blast. Meant to do it when OH was here as his German’s better than mine, which is, sadly, still at pidgin level. So I attempt it and leave a couple of boxes blank, and tell them to hand them in and let me know if there’s a problem.They manage a bit more lunch than breakfast, and then eagerly get back to school, this time on their scooters and miles too early. All the children I saw on scooters this morning were wearing bike helmets, so I make the boys wear theirs, which they do, reluctantly.

J seems to have some sort of optional Bible class at the end of Monday, so I tell them to wait at school after classes finish as I’m not sure if he’s doing the class, and in any case I think I should be there for them the first day.

I plan to go to the post office in the village and aim to get back to school at finishing time. This is all timed, theoretically, with Swiss precision. But I then have a ridiculous British pantomime with my shopping bag falling out of my bike basket outside the house and me not noticing until I was at the post office, so I bike back to the house, get my bag, bike back to the post office and promptly get held up in a queue. So now it’s my turn to be late again. I get back to school late, and the boys have gone home without me. They are there on the doorstep when I get home, “MUM WHERE WERE YOU” at school darlings, waiting for you……

They declare the day to have been “brilliant”. Result ! J has made 2 friends, C hasn’t made any but has done even more singing (I’m less and less sure about this) and this afternoon “made things. Gluing and sticking”. He also did some maths and got it all right. Phew.

J does his homework – some reading in German. C has no homework. They are happy. Phew.

The first day is done, and we all go to bed a great deal more relaxed than last night.

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