Saturday, September 15, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten - Tears & Cheers

After much anticipation, the kids started Kindergarten on Friday September 14! But first, as part of the enrollment process, a medical exam was needed. On Wednesday, the four of us, plus a student of mine, Adalie and her boyfriend Jim, boarded city bus #98 to The People's Hospital No. 1. It had that Communist look and feel as the name suggests! It was quite a simple exam - weight, height, eyes & ears checked, a general look over the body and a blood test. Elena was a real trooper! She didn't even flinch with the blood test (a finger pricked to get about 5 drops). Carlos, on the other hand, started screaming and crying the moment we got off the bus! Somehow, we made it through the exams and the process - up and down stairs, in and out of rooms, each with a different doctor performing a certain exam. We were so thankful for the two university students who took time out of their schedule to help us get through that maze and translating (oral and written). They even returned to the hospital on Thursday to pick up the results. Here's the front cover of the "official medical exam results".

Everything was checked fine, but they told us and had written in the booklet that the kids are "small". Yep, they're Guatemalan! They are small according to U.S. and Chilean norms, and now they are small in comparison to Chinese kids. This probably means they likely won't be in the" 6 foot plus club" as teenagers!

With the exam results in hand, the kids were enrolled on Friday. Elena, our trooper, was excited and ready to go. She walked into her new classroom of 40+ classmates (all screaming "hellloooo!") and said "See ya later, Momma!" Before I turned around to leave, I saw her chattering away (in English or Spanish) with her teacher. That's how she's been communicating so far -she listens to the question in Chinese, then continues in English or Spanish!. To her it's one big language! Carlos - you guessed it - was crying and screaming all the way up the 3 flights of stairs and the long hallway to his classroom. His wails of "Momma, don't leave me!!" was a sure heartbreaker for me. His classmates also were gathered around with screams of "Hellooo!" After a few minutes, the teacher took over and Gustavo and I left our kids to the good hands in charge.

The school day starts at 8:30 for breakfast, lunch is at 11:30 and the kids nap from 12:00 - 2:00. We decided to bring the kids home for these two hours. (We're less than a 10 minute walk away.) They rarely nap anymore and we don't want to mess with their 8:00 bedtime routine. The kids return after 2pm and the school day ends at 5:30. So at noon and at 5:30, we picked up 2 SMILING and HAPPY kids. One was covered with stickers and the other had a fistful of candy! Can you guess which one had what?? When the school day ended, we hung around for a while so the kids could enjoy the various playscapes and play equipment and we met a few parents who spoke pretty good English. They welcomed us and made us promise that we will join them for dinner soon.

Here is the one of the several murals around the outside of the building. I didn't take my camera on Friday becasue I knew how Carlos was going to be. I'll post more photos of inside of the school at a later time.

Carlos is in the corner room, far left side, top floor of windows. Elena's room is two classroom to the right. The tree is blocking the view of her room.The wall is also blocking the first floor. The photo shows floors 2 and 3. The very top floor with the awning is the gym.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read Nicolas this post and he thinks that Carlos should "ride a bus" to school. "He will like that much better". We love to hear from you!
Jeni, Mike, Nicolas and baby jaws