Friday, June 13, 2008

First day of School?

Update: The girls did great! The first thing Brooklyn said to me as we were leaving the school was, "Mom, I wish tomorrow wasn't Saturday, but Monday!" As we were all walking down the sidewalk, kids kept running up to the girls to say "bye". Liberty responded to one boy, "Bye, potato boy!". I said, "Liberty, why did you call that kid 'potato boy'?" She said, "Mom, all day he would come up to me and say...potato, chicken, rooster & banana....he kept saying potato over and over again!" I laughed, visualizing these boys and girls using the English that they had been taught. Even if it meant saying 'potato' over and over again!----And get this...usually the few kids in the neighborhood look at us funny, as if we're changing colors right in front of them. We've had a hard time meeting other kids for our children to play with. Well, today...two girls came to our house to play with the girls!! These two girls had seen our girls at school yesterday and one of them had played with our girls, so they came over today to play!! This is a really big step for us. Please pray for our children and the Portuguese girls, Carla and Clada.

Yesterday, my husband went to the local school here in our small village to discuss with them the "possibility" of our three oldest children attending next year. He wanted to see if they were prepared to have students who understood very little Portuguese. In America, any kid, no matter what he or she speaks is welcome in school. But we don't live in America. You have to do things their way around here, or they don't get done! So we wanted to know 'the rules".

Everyone who has asked why our children weren't in school this year thought it very odd that we "schooled at home". They have no idea what this means and would always ask if that's even possible to do here in Portugal. "Of course it's possible...we're doing it aren't we?!?" (That's what I'd like to say...)

So Michael walked down to the local school yesterday with Brooklyn. They took a short tour (it's a very small school) and talked with the director who spoke no English, but was a very friendly lady. They went into the 3rd grade classroom and met the teacher. All the kids called out to Brooklyn, using the English they had been taught..."Hello!" "Hello, my friend!" Brooklyn's response was, "Ola". (Which is the only way she knows to respond right now.)

Later when they returned home, Michael and Brooklyn both walked in with wide eyes and smirks on their faces. I was eagerly awaiting their return as I desperately wanted to know what the outcome of this meeting would be. Michael started off with, "Brooklyn, do you want to tell her or do you want me to do it? Brooklyn giggled, "You do it Daddy." Michael responded..... "They're going to school tomorrow."

"Tomorrow...!!" "No...not tomorrow...I'm not ready..."

"Why tomorrow?....schools almost out....they don't have 'school clothes'....I don't have snacks to send with them...I'm not ready for this...THEY'RE not ready for this...they don't speak Portuguese for goodness sake!!"---All these thoughts ran through my mind in less than a second.

After Michael told me how everything went while at the school it was determined that going to school today and all next week, which is the last week of school, would help them know what to expect next September.

After talking with Brooklyn, Faith and Liberty, I felt better because they were all pretty excited about going. Each had their reservations, but the excitement was to great to ignore.

"Maybe they were ready...maybe it's just me who liked the security of keeping them safe at home...shielding them from the sneers, giggles and cruelty of other children....Maybe it's time to test see what they can let them try to make it in a foreign place. They've seen their parents try to do it in a foreign place, so they know how to mess up.....I'm sure of that! But maybe they also learned how to do it with 'grace'."

Brooklyn's alarm clock went off this morning and within 3 minutes, she was dressed and standing at my bedroom door rubbing sleep out of her eyes telling me she was ready to go. She was so very excited.

Faith had her usual, "I don't really care" attitude. She's fine either way.

Liberty was a little sad acting with a worried look on her face. She got upset when we were trying to pick out a bag to carry her snack in. The one I chose was too big, she said. Liberty turned 6 in January. The average 1st grader in Portugal is 7 when he/she begins the year. So I'm concerned about her age. But when she left, she was fine.

So.....after much prayer and a few tears....this was our departing moment this morning. Michael took them. It's a 10 minute walk. I had to let him do it, cause if I had taken them I would have brought all three back home with me!


Tori said...

Oh my... you are way braver than I am!

The girls looked so cute leaving for school. I'm sure they'll love it.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great they are getting a brief introduction to school. And I think it will be preparation for fall. Brooklyn will probably be disappointed when this brief time is over. She is such a "bookie". I loved the video. Did you do one of the return home? Give everyone a hug from Nanny.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Nanny... I think its great and I know Brooklyn had a great day. (since I just talked to her)I know it was hard for you Nina. I remember when you started kindergarden. I got you to school and went to Food World and when the lady asked how I was.. I justed started to cry and said my little girl just started school. today. You of all people know they will do fine. If they are just a tiny bit like you, they will be ok. And they said they cant wait untill Monday to go again. They are Nina and Michael Andrzejewski's girls! I love you all.... Mom (Mimi)

Sandy Sellers said...

Wow, that was fast. probable the best way. Love you all. Just got back from summer camp at LWYC. Another place to remember you.

Grace said...

I felt a little sad for you when I read this post! your girls look so sweet. I'm sure they'll do great and being in school will help them pick up Portuguese faster.

The Webbs said...

I know how you feel, Nina. It's hard letting them go, isn't it? I'm sure they will do well and enjoy getting to know the other children there. Also, I'm with the other post, I think they will pick up on the language faster! :)

Love You!

Molly said...

By this time next year the girls will probably be speaking fluent Portugese with no accent. When we lived in Hungary, the MK's who went to school always spoke far better than everyone else!

Tabatha said...

Oh, I don't even want to think about the possibility of sending any of my babies to a public school. But I have to agree with the others; I believe this will help them learn the language quicker. My, my, how big Baby J has gotten!

Love y'all,

Anna said...

Hello! My parents were missionaries in Portugal when I was a child. They sent me to a Portuguese school only knowing about 10 words in Portuguese. I am so excited to hear you sent your children. I like to share this experience with those who are curious. It was honestly the best decision my parents ever made for us children. We spoke Portuguese fluently within three months. All of us children had a burden for the Portuguese people (my brother is returning to Portugal as a missionary, and my husband and I are going to England. Anyway...I'm very happy for your children. They will relate to the Portuguese children and brake the barriers that lay between them. They will grow to appreciate the Portuguese customs and culture. I'm thrilled for your family. You will find things are very different in school over there....sometimes my teacher just wouldn't show up! I am still close to my classmates and when I go to Portugal to visit my brother I'm planning on visiting my teacher (you keep the same teacher 1-4 grade). We were able to see many of our classmates come to Sunday School and visit with there families to share God's plan of salvation. Also, my father had the privilege to teach English in our school. This gave him many oppotunities to make even more contacts. Wow, this is long...I'm sorry, it's just very special to me! My blog is ""

cousin Angie said...

Hey there girl. I know how hard it is to send your babies off to be in someone else's care, but if they could help to reach one soul for the Lord, then I know that it will be worth every tear you cried that morning.

Holly said...

I can't imagine how tough that was. It tugged at my heart just watching the video. I agree that your children will pick up the language faster that way though. We know our children are going to be a big help to us in learning the language.