New School, Old Friends


It's that time of year again: chalkdust (OK, in our case dry-erase marker dust, but that doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?), backpacks, desks, and notebooks. Many of our back-t0-school rituals are different here. No trips to Wal-Mart. No new clothes. No "Meet the Teacher Night" (or as John calls it, Meet the Creature --- quoting from when HE was the creature!).

Our back-to-school time this year was characterized by the hard labor of trying to move into a new building covered in dust (some floors we mopped 4 times and they STILL looked dusty!); reunions with friends not seen, in some cases, in 15 months; and a last minute frantic search for "inside shoes" we don't wear street shoes indoors, so all the kids are expected to bring their own pair of slippers/flipflops to keep at school. I must admit that I was so intent on getting the library ready for the first day of school that I neglected this oh-so-important back-to-school item and John had to do it (which I'm sure brought much amusement to our shop ladies!).

Though many of our rituals are different, many are the same. Getting everything ready the night before: backpack, lunch box, clothes, and water bottles. Waking up way earlier than necessary because the butterflies beat out the alarm. Our traditional send off prayer: Help them to be good listeners, good learners and good friends....These things don't change dependent on our location.

There is one new aspect to our schooling this year that we've never experienced before: walking to school. When we lived here before, Sophie first had a 35 minute taxi ride to school and then, once we got our car, a twenty minute car ride at the school's second location. Then last year in Canada, the girls waited for the school bus each morning and rode about 15 minutes to school. This year we are only a five minute walk to the crow flies it would be much shorter but because of some dead-end streets we need to make a "U" to get to the school. Still, a five minute walk is hard to beat! We thought we'd show some pictures from our walk:

Click to enlarge

This is my favorite part of the walk and so it get's its own picture. It is a reminder to me of His provision for us in big and little ways. The school, its teachers, and its new building are evidence of His provision in a big way. As we walk to school, for some strange reason, one of the roads we have to cross has giant pipes (for gas and water) running through them...the are about 3 feet high and getting over them with all our gear is a task...that is it was until we discovered these little stairs right in front of the street we need to turn onto. This makes our trip even easier!

Every morning the school has a teacher posted at the door to greet the children. This first day, our greeter was Sophie's teacher, Miss Melissa, who is back for her third year with us. Sophie is in for a great year with this gifted and kind teacher.

Side view of school

Annie's teacher has been with us for four years, and also taught Sophie 1st grade. Miss Barbara is another wonderful teacher and a good friend. Next to Annie, is her sweet friend, Isabel. They call themselves "BBs", short for "best buds".

Sophie is giving me the smile that says: "I'm in fourth grade, don't you think this photo-shoot thing is getting a bit stale?" She puts up with me!

First day assembly in the library, led by our great principal.

The view from my 3rd floor library balcony.

The after lunch line-up for Sophie.

Annie's class doing a crazy face picture.

We made the short walk home and talked about our day and decided it was great! After relaxing with a short show and popcorn time after supper, the girls were off early to bed to do it all again the next day....

...while Benjamin fed his zoo of stuffed animals their daily popcorn rations!