Got to break it down into manageable chunks…Chunk # 1

Yesterday was a big day here, no not Presidents Day, back to school! I used to love the commercial for Staples, that had the song playing in the background, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year…” then you see two morose children shuffling down the isle with their dad behind then jumping and clicking his heels together with a wide grin. The announcer says, “It’s that time of year again…THEY’RE GOING BACK!” If your child is older than kindergarten, you totally get it! I love to share in the shopping, preparation, and dressing for this big day, and am so excited for them, but nothing compares with the first moments of silence when you return home! In fact I was ready to write this yesterday, and I couldn’t do much of anything, too much anticipation I guess. I just sat in a rocker! Well, I’m all better today!

Things are a little bit different here, shopping for back to school is fondly known as the January Hump. Our kids have attended three schools here, as it has taken time figuring out the best place for our family to settle. Not great, but they have adapted well and are very happy. They first attended a large private Catholic school in Moravia, and basically got lost. I say this because they were not warmly welcomed by the students or the staff. Teachers and administrators here are openly affectionate with their students, which I love, but the size of the the Moravia school limited their ability to get to know their students, and give the extra help to our kids that they needed with the language. We transferred them to a very small private bilingual school near our home up in the mountains above Heredia. It was a fantastic move as the kids were embraced by the students and staff and assisted with any language issues so they could be successful. We moved about an hours driving distance away from that area to accommodate my husband’s new business. Their new school is “just right” as Goldilocks would say, …not too big, not too small!” Is is not far from our home, less expensive than the other two and there are a handful of other gringo kids attending so they are not an oddity, but an asset. They had an amazing first day and, “…love their new school the best!”

The moves have given them confidence and they both have become more outgoing and make friends easily. Back to the “January Hump,” New uniforms, of course none of the three schools has required the same color shoes, socks or pant, really! So we have bought shirts pants, skirts, gym clothes, socks, shoes, and jackets at all three schools, but I will not complain, because I LOVE UNIFORMS! Our oldest is in his first year of college, I remember the morning drama over clothesand the huge expenditure expected on a new school wardrobe each fall, NO MORE!
In Costa Rica, you buy the books, like college, also supplies; copy paper, tape, glue sticks, glue, construction paper, liquid soap, TP, etc. I think that is great. I am happy to contribute! I’ve seen too many teachers in the states spend their own hard-earned money on supplies. Each class requires a small non-spiral notebook that must have a name tag sticker affixed on it, then must be covered with clear contact paper. In these books the children do a lot of pasting of papers they are working on and then all note taking. One of these notebooks is for communication al hogar,( with the home.) This one gets a lot of action at our hogar, because we are always confused about what is requested. My husband is fluent in Spanish, but what is common in Costa Rica can only really be known by those who were raised here. This said, we have not provided the correct item, or snack for our poor kids numerous times, like the time we sent our boy in , in his swim trunks for water-play day…two days early! It’s all good though, I am just happy to make fewer mistakes as every day passes!

I am so proud of the kids though, they both understand almost everything that is said to them in Spanish. Our daughter has had more exposure as she spent a year in a Spanish immersion program in kindergarten in the states, so she is more comfortable responding than our younger son, but his confidence grows daily too. Their pronunciation is flawless, and makes me feel like a total tourist! A bit more horn blowing… our daughter had spent six months in second grade when we moved here, but started the school year when we arrived in February, at that point all of the second graders knew how to write in cursive and that was all that they were supposed to use, so she sat down and taught herself how to write in cursive in one week! What a trooper!

I need to tell you about how the Costa Rican mind works, because it is fascinating, but per the posts’ title, that will be “Chunk #2.”

more soon.
Penny

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