Monday, February 27, 2006


First Day of School

Kevin an Catie and I had trouble sleeping last night, as there was some anxiety on all our parts about going to school today. I was afraid we might oversleep, as we had to get up early to make the bus on time.

No problem, we all got up on time to make the bus when it stopped in front of the Panaderia (bakery) across the street from our house at 7:10 am. Kevin and Catie were equipped with their backpacks with their snacks, drinks and a lunch for Kevin. Catie only has a half day of school, so she'll eat at home. We all sat together on one of the old leather seats in a very well worn city bus which navigated the narrow road and bumps very well, and even managed the steep climb to the Cloud Forest School, known locally as the Creativa.

Catie is in Prepa, which is the equivalent of Kindergarten, not to be confused with Kinder, which is Pre-School. Her teacher is my friend, Beth Quinn, who is married to Manolo. There is a second teacher in her class who only speaks in Spanish to the children. Beth is bilingual. There are 18 children in Catie's class, and it run on a very informal basis. The children call the teachers by their first name, and the dress is very casual, although all the children wear a school t shirt. No one wears shoes inside the classroom. Catie was immediately surrounded by several little girls, who made her feel very welcome. I sat in the back of the classroom, and pretended to be invisible while I read a book.

Kevin found his day more challenging, because the first class was Spanish, and as all the other children are native speakers, he found it very difficult. He had a substitute teacher today, and I'll talk to his regular teacher tomorrow. The math class was easy for him, and he finished up all his work very quickly. He rode the bus home by himself, and Jumper and I met him at the Panaderia at 3:45 p.m.

We decided to start a garden, and so we started clearing out the old garden, which is completely overgrown with weeds and small trees. After about 30 minutes, it was starting to look promising, but then we decided to try a location closer to the house. We selected one of the flower beds between the two houses, which gets lots of sun.

We talked to Jim by telephone, as he is still in San Jose getting the car fixed and taking care of some business. He went to Priceline, a store like Costco and Sams, to check it out, and he said that the prices are good. We may plan a shopping excurion for later, as shopping in Santa Elena is quite limited. Up here, you buy chicken from a chicken seller, fish from the fish seller, can join a community garden for fresh vegetables, find someone who sells fresh milk... it's not exactly one stop shopping. What would people here think if they saw a Super Walmart!

We all agreed that the first day of school went pretty well, even though it was a very long for Kevin because of the long bus ride home, made longer by the bus driver who stopped for ice cream, snacks, and visits along the road. We decided that Day 2 would be even better than Day 1 now that we knew what to expect.

Kids settle much easier than we think, don't they? Myles made the transition much better than I did, granted they do speak the same language here (well mostly). I'm sure they'll do fine.
They sure do! Today was a little easier for Kev, as I will explain in my next entry!
I taught a conversation class last night ($50 for 90 minutes!) and one of the students said, "England and America are two nations separated by the same language."

It blew me away that he said that.
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