Monday, October 08, 2012

School Days

The new school year started a few weeks back and it’s back to the usual whirlwind of activities around here. While we had a nice quiet summer full of books and bikes, all kids were happy to go back to school. Despite still feeling like a new family here, we are not. We were happy to meet newer families and be able to give them a few tips. Tori was even chosen as a peer advisor this year, showing the newest kids around the middle school on the day before classes. Just before she was on duty, she figured out where the sixth grade (her new grade) classes and lockers were and went off to tell someone else.
The kids attend Munich International School here, the twins at the Junior School and Tori at the Middle School. Both are located, along with the Senior School, on one large sprawling campus, formerly a farm. Farms still surround the school and Adam plays soccer in a place called the Lower Paddock. While the twins have one main teacher and stay in the Junior School, Tori is more mobile. She has different teachers for every subject and moves around throughout the day. She actually moves a lot. We just figured out that her classes are rarely in the same room. For example, one day she will have English in Room 101 and the next day it will be in Room 202. There is no way we can keep it straight but she mostly seems to.
All kids have German most days, some days even taking in double German, back to back German classes. The kids have all embraced German, finding it much easier than Chinese. One of them had the idea early on that all Chinese people should switch to German to make life easier for everyone. After a few months, the kids can order food, understand things on the radio and ask simple questions. It helps that there is a lot of German language going on in the classrooms and on the playground. At the middle school, Tori is required to take two foreign languages. She has chosen French in addition to German. She continues with Chinese with a tutor after school, but assures us she will not grow up to be a linguist!
Going back to the 1800’s, Germany has a great back to school tradition of giving schultuetes. Schultuetes are large paper cones filled with school supplies and candy. As Phil’s family is German, we have also given the kids schultuetes no matter where we lived. We usually make a cone out of wrapping paper and throw in some new school supplies and candy. Here in Germany, we started seeing fancy store made schultuetes in early August. Our kids were so surprised to see other kids celebrating the start of school the same way they did. Despite the same last minute schultuetes, the tradition felt new and special, just like the first day of school itself.


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