Thursday, September 01, 2011

First day - for the third time

Yesterday was supposed to be Sapphire’s first day at school, albeit an ‘info session’ in the afternoon before starting for real today.




















We couldn't get her into the city campus - the one close by, near all the UN buildings like Love Chunks' workplace - because it was full and they sniffily informed me that they needed a years' notice instead of the paltry five weeks we gave them.

Therefore, we resigned ourselves to having Sapphire placed on the waiting list. "There are six kids ahead of her," I was told, when, against my better judgment, I rang again just so they'd know that we were still 'out there' and still keen.

In the meantime, we accepted a place at the very-difficult-to-spell (and even harder to pronounce) La Chataigneraie, a fair way out of town that would involve an hour long bus trip both ways for Sapphire at an additional cost to us of CHF 4000 per year.

Anyhoo, yesterday was the ‘info afternoon’ for new kids and their families and so she and I had already taken the tram into the central train station (whose reeking urine smell is a shocking contrast to the pristine streets everywhere else in Geneva) and were then waiting to take the train out to Coppet.

This journey was to be followed by a bus ride to the school and therefore cover all facets of public transport - tram, train and bus - and give me a much clearer idea of how much fun it was going to be for car-less me to get there should Sapphire ever be sick or miss her scheduled school bus or be called in for an evening parent teacher night.

Dreary thoughts of this were bogging about in my brain when LC rang. We’d been offered a place at the Nations campus *the very second* the train arrived – whoo hooooooo! My excited cry even scared off the sparrows who have been brave enough to land on my knee on occasion.

Several hours later, we arrived home. Sapphire’s head was swimming - seeing a high school timetable in her hot little hands for the first time probably frightened her more than the idea of being a 'new kid' but I was stoked. We can actually walk to this school and it's a more laid back campus that is only six years old, full of UN kids and nowhere near as posh. Put it this way: when I put in a rental limit of an already-scary CHF 5,000 per month for the La Chataigneraie school zone, nothing came up.

On the way to school this morning, I was sternly lectured the entire way and made to swear that I would NOT be funny or embarrassing, too friendly, weird, too loud or - heaven forbid - *be witnessed trying to kiss her goodbye*. And on NO ACCOUNT was I to walk inside the building with her.

So, just as I did as I was told and casually said 'see ya' and turned to leave, she grabbed my sleeve and whispered, "But you WILL be here waiting for me when school finishes, won't you?"

Yep and it'll be with Milly the dog. Just like in primary school.

She turned again. "Mum I have no idea of how we walked here, there are so many roads to cross, I'm going to forget, it's all so confusing and what if I get lost and my phone has a flat battery and-----"

Being mindful of the not-being-embarrassing-or-too-loud promise, I whispered, "I'll walk with you every day for as long as you want." Without a word, she turned and was lost in the throng of kids, parents, teachers and support staff.

I couldn't help but smile at this unexpected parental bonus of a smidgen more time to spend with my nervous, irascible, moody, smart, funny, hormonal, perceptive, beautiful daughter.

17 comments:

lyndylou said...

That's great news! And lovely that you get to spend more time with her in the morning :)

Kari said...

I'm so glad you got into the school you wanted :) Really great news. I hope the settling into high school goes well!

Andrew said...

Good news. You certainly are dispelling some myths about Switzerland. Next thing you will be telling us is that the banks have no money.

BaliRing said...

It could be worst news if the bank have no money

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Lyndylou and welcome!

Me too Kari - one more hour to go before I hear all about the first (and usually the worst) day....

Andrew - would you believe that one bank *didn't* have any money? We turned up to one branch of the UBS to be told that 'Non' they didn't have actual cash and that we had to go to a different branch!

BaliRing - pourquoi?

Hannah said...

Kath, this post made me choke up. Having only ever been on the child side of such scenarios, I never thought about how clearly my mum could have seen through my attempts at bravery, and how clear my need and love for her would have been (and still is, but now I just constantly call her and tell her I love her - no bravado there :P )

So happy the school had worked out - onwards ever upwards!

River said...

I'm glad you got the school you both preferred, a walk is so much easier than buses and trams/trains.
I love that Sapphire is still chid enough to want you there after school in case she gets lost.
She's growing up so fast now.

Kath Lockett said...

Hannah, I've been on both sides - the shy new kid starting high school in Scotland and again on return to Australia so it's keenly felt.

River, the speed of growth is pretty well visible to the human eye these days but as long as she wants me to wait at the gate, I'll be there. Plus, a 2km trip each way done twice is 8km worth of walking for me - free exercise.

Lidian said...

That is such great news! We were so glad that our two went to a high school with one short train ride instead of the one that was at the end of a train plus weird long bus ride. It makes a huge difference, especially in winter (I don't drive and am not allowed to escort people anymore, anyway - my youngest is almost 15)...Also the closer school, like yours, is WAY better anyhow :)

nuttynoton said...

great news, so much relief for you all and it will give you much more flexibility and put your mind at rest. another step on the journey....
Hope her first day went well! Still a long journey for her

Pandora Behr said...

Yay - something has gone very much your way. Hope Saph's first day was wonderful. Enjoy this time - and having your compuer back so you can write more. x

The Elephant's Child said...

That is so great. And I have tears in my eyes wimp that I am. Lovely for all of you (not my tears the news). And so, so nice that she could reach out to you. Yay.

And what is it about train stations that they reek of urine. Some of the ones in Sydney are sooo bad I can only assume that they pay people to keep the urine level topped up.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Maybe they're trying to put people OFF public transport - what with the booger-flicking and urine smell, it sounds like a minefield!! And is the name in the first sentence Sapphire's alias??

Kath Lockett said...

Lidian you're right - I was dreading winter and the thought of her standing in the dark at 7am waiting for the bus to take her on an hour long journey...

Nuttynoton, first days have gone extremely well. Three months of summer holidays to worry about it and six hours of actual 'first day/new kid' to discover that 'school is pretty good, actually.'

Pandora, getting back onto the 'poota is the plan, plus hanging up my 'writer for hire' sign.

Nicely observed, E-Child. Perhaps 'the stench of human urine' is part of the design specs for train stations the world over.

Red Nomad Oz - oops, well spotted. Blog now amended :)

Baino said...

Awww . . did she like it? Sounds exciting if not a little frightening.

Nicole said...

How wonderful she got into the local school Kath. And it's great you can 'hold her hand' for a bit. It must be nice to be needed. I hope it all goes well.

Kath Lockett said...

She did like it, Baino :)

She won't let me hold her hand literally Nicole but we've had a few cuddles and chats when we've got home.