I must start today but remembering that it was the day that I conquered making coffee at home. It has not been easy in an espresso only country!
Then John went off to orientation at the University while we did some schoolwork at home.
After lunch, we headed out to see the kids’ school and go through our own orientation. This was anxiety-producing for all of us but turned out to be a wonderful first meeting.
The school is about a 30 mins tram/bus ride from our apartment and hard to find for the first time. I was so taken in by the first meeting and helping the kids to feel comfortable that I took nearly no pictures.
We met with the principal, two school teachers and a tutor the school found for us. They were immediately welcoming and the principal broke the ice by asking the kids why their “crazy parents” would bring them to a foreign country and then put them in a Slovak school. They all agreed with the crazy parents comment.
The teachers and the tutor took the kids for a tour and I stayed to talk logistics with the principal. He was very accommodating and understood that our kids might get really overwhelmed. They tried to think through ways to help them. For instance, I will come with them, but they have a room for me to hang out (with WiFi) and if they are overwhelmed, they can come to me and do schoolwork from the US.
They also found Zuzana for us. She’s a lovely Slovak woman who spent much of her childhood in Seattle. She’s taking a gap year before University and wants to help kids. We all couldn’t believe the serendipity! She’s so enthusiastic and that was really helping the kids.
The kids got back from their tour and were generally really happy. There is a teacher from England who told them how happy she was that they were there. The kids tell me there is a teacher from Pittsburgh! He was teaching a class so they couldn’t talk to him.
The most endearing thing about the school (so far) is that upon arriving everyday, all the kids (and faculty) go to their lockers and change out of their shoes/boots into sandals/house shoes. We saw lots of Birkenstock’s and crocs. V took full advantage by saying she NEEDS new Birkenstock’s before her first day.
The other great thing is lunch! They have two choices of soups, a salad bar and veggies and 4 choices of lunches (which are more like our dinners), all made there in their kitchen. It costs 1 euro/meal. (I hope I can eat lunch with them;)
Roman, the principal, is asking very little of us but would love our help to spread the word that they need native English speakers always at the school. Teachers do not need to have a teaching certificate but better if they are graduates of education programs. They provide a salary and housing. If you read this, keep this opportunity in mind for anyone you know.
We will all spend Monday there as a shadow day and the teachers are going to align the kids with approximately where they are in school at home.
V will have many classes in English, even including art and drama. No worries- they will still get their Spanish classes! They think all the kids will be so helpful in English classes.
The faculty are hopeful that the kids will make friends quickly and that will help the transition. I really appreciate how open everyone has been. We will see how it goes!
After we finished, John invited us to come and see his office.
John met us outside and took us up to the 4th floor where his office is housed. On the way, Joe found this!
After parting again with John, we headed to the mall that is 1/3 of a mile from us to look for Birkenstock’s. No luck. So we headed home to make dinner.
I had plans to meet Kristen for a mom dinner at Skybar. The views were spectacular and the Thai curry was delicious. We laughed a lot about all the experiences we have had so far.
I had grabbed Kristen a cart at Ikea for her to carry her groceries and brought it tonight. As we parted on separate trams, I couldn’t help but laugh once again.
Tomorrow we will do some more schoolwork, meet our friends to run some energy off at a park and then head out on a train to Budapest for the weekend.