Friday, September 7, 2007

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Wow, what excitement is generated by the first day of school. Many schools had their first day on Saturday because it is September 1st, when school must start. Our first day was on Monday the 3rd. We did not have to be there till 11am and we stayed only a few hours. We stopped at the IKI (super market) to select our long stemmed flowers to give to each of their teachers. Hevenlee was devistated not to be carrying a flower today, but she would have to start in a few days, after her Doctor's appointment. I tried to explain this to her but she would not be consoled as usual.
We arrived at the school with plenty of time for me (mom) to take the usual allotment of "first day" photos. By the building, by the garden and in front of the school etc etc. Boaz is sure he is too old for such photos which is evident by the way he has his face set it each picture. It is funny. But this is the one time I will use my motherly status to get what I want......memories! (Plus photos for the blog. I am beginning to get teased by Pastor Saul about posting everything on the blog.......it is funny.)
All the children and their parents began to merge upon the school and in time we had a rather large crowd just outside the school building, waiting for the big first day ceremony to begin. All the administration (all woman) looked lovely in their new hair dues and fresh clothes with vibrant smiles on their faces as they welcomed us all to school and got things rolling.
First we sang the School Hymn as a couple of boys brought in the School Flag. It was lovely and I tried my best to keep up with the Lithuanian words and learn the song. They had past out a song sheet. After the song, we heard from a few speakers. A pastor, shared briefly, a few things and a passage of scripture. An older woman, who seemed to be of some importance to the school also shared briefly. The odd thing about the woman was, she presented a gift of 3 jars of jam to the school. She had made them from her own garden and canned them herself. I was wondering how in the world the whole school was going to get to have some of that, but I know the thought was nice and it was received well. Each speaker was in turn given a gift of a framed piece of artwork done by a students at this very school.
All of a sudden there was a bit of looking around and my translator, Algina, told me they were looking for the teachers. They had been in the crowd only moments ago and now were gone! As a group we cried out for the teachers. The young ones were totally into it, but the older kids, 7th and 8th were being silly and saying things like," keep the teachers we don't need them." Not much of a difference in culture there don't you know? After a few more cries, the teacher's emurged tied up and being led by a Pirate (the only male teacher). He dragged them in behind him and yelled, "I won't let your teacher's go unless you can prove to me you want them!" Or something like that. I have no idea what he really said, but you start to just make up stuff that seems like it would fit when you don't understand the language:) He proceeded to make each class answer questions to get their teachers back and after all the classes had answered their question correctly they were told to come up and get their teacher if they wanted her. Sonshyne went right up and grabbed her teacher. She had no problem getting right in there and participating. Her face was alight with excitement!
The funny thing about this Pirate was that he had a gun in his waistband and kept waving it at the kids and yelling something at them in Lithuanian. I couldn't help but make the comparison that he would have been arrested for this display in any of our schools in Southern California. I laughed to think of such things. I laugh a lot when I compare this world to the one I used to live in.
After all the teacher's were back in the crowd, the first grade class was especially welcomed. (Kindergarden is not really school here, it is like preschool) The older 8th grade class (the oldest) was instructed to take the 1st grade class (the youngest) and lead them in the ceremonial march around the whole school while ringing a hand bell at the lead and into the school building to their classes! How exciting it was....and a little kaotic as well.
Boaz went off to his class. He is participating in the 6th grade class. They did not have room for him in the 7th and 8th grade. The 6th grade class is a good class. Only 10. 6 boys and 4 girls. He made the observation that," there are not enough girls to go around, so 2 boys would be out." I am quite certain he doesn't think he will be one of them;)
One girl in his class speaks English quite well and did much translating for him. He knew her from the school he attended last time we lived here. She pushed all the kids to speak English so Boaz would understand when introductions were happening. Imagine that , all English for one kid. That is unthinkable in the Southern Cal!
Boaz is really getting into school. I went into the class to check his work the other day and all 4 girls were standing around his desk. Poor baby, taken away from his home country to be surrounded by all these cuties. Yeah, don't be feeling sorry for him!
Ezra sat quietly in his class. He is in the 4th grade here. (His regular grade) His teacher is nice, but knows no English and not many kids know English in his class. It usually takes him a bit longer to make friends, but when he does he has deep friendships. He has good things to say about school each day so we are glad. There are 10 kids in his class as well. Only this class is 6 girls and 4 boys.
Sonshyne loves school. She has been ready for school for a year now. She is so enthusiastic and is learning colors, numbers and foods in Lithuanian. The teacher is really pleased with her involvement. I have had the priviledge to sit in on a few hours each day of class and am learning as well. I do seem to elicit giggles out of the teacher quite frequently though. Sonshyne had to have a Psychologial Evaluation in order to attend this school. The Psychologist was surprised at how advanced she was and gave her possitive recommendations to start immediately. I guess kids don't start Kindergarden until 6 years of age.
There are several teachers at the school that help Sonshyne and I understand what is going on in broken English. The school has been super nice to accomidate us all so well. It feel like we are home here as well.
Hevenlee got to get here flower on Wednesday and go to school. She was so excited but I was sure she would change her mind as soon as she got through the doors. I had planned this week to stay with her till lunch each day. They have a nap after lunch till 3pm. Very nice. I got her slippers on and we entered the classroom. The teacher took me back out the door and down the hall to put Hevenlee's stuff in her locker. I put it all in quickly anticipating a stressed out, door hugging child would be waiting for me to get back to her. I walked quickly into the classroom and scanned all around the other door hugging kids who were still mourning the loss of their parents recent departure and could not spot my child. I broadened the search to include the whole room (a rather large room) until my eyes caught sight of her on the other side, already engaged in play with anther child by the baby doll toys. Okay, this was my moment. I departed and ran off to join the Kindergarden with Sonshyne for the day. I picked Hevenlee up after nap time at 3 and it seemed as if she was just fine after all.
What a fantastic First week of school. The kids are all a-buzz about their new friends and the words they have learned each day. It feels like we are home! It is good to be home!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sophi,
That's awesome that the kids are doing so well with school. It seems your little ones share your same love for people and are going to do FABULOUS at school. As for you, good luck with learning the language. My best friend in CA is Polish and her mom tells me that she learned English while watching Sesame Street with her and her sister since they didn't know English at the time either. They would also share with her the new words and phrases they learned at school too!
Anyhow, I love to read your updates and blogs. You guys are so inspiring. It's so weird I get all choked up and excited for you guys everytime I read...like little one all upset for not getting to take a flower to her teacher. It's awesome, what you're doing! We're praying for you.
I was just thinking...You should really compile all your experiences and publish a book. Wouldn't that be fun?
It's good to hear that Garrett is doing well. God is awesome like that.
Well, good luck with the second week of school!
Take Care,
Lacey

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and one more thing. I like the picture of you guys with your umbrellas...the gloom and all. And I know I will probably regret saying this as soon as our weather turns, but I really wish I had to wear a jacket or wanted to cuddle up with a blanket at night...I am absolutely ready for summer in south Texas to be OVER! :)
Have a great day!
Lacey

Kitty said...

Well written article.

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