La vuelta al cole

We prepared Lou for his first day of school by taking him to a bar at 8 pm the night before where he drank an entire can of Coke and picked at jamón serrano. I’d say we’re all off our game a bit.

Nevertheless, we arrived at school (el cole) before the 9 am start time this morning. Kids and parents waited in el patio for about an hour, greeting each other against a backdrop of loud and jubilant music and then standing patiently through a too-long address by the principal. Just like on the first day of kinder, I could barely hold back the tears.

Lou had told us for days that he was nervous about going to the new school, but he was stoic and clearly ready to get started. His teacher’s name is Encarna (short for Encarnación), and she is the most experienced teacher at the school. When the kids were finally seated in their room, she asked if anyone had traveled over the summer and called on Lou first. He answered confidently in Spanish, and then Pete and I felt like we could leave.

Our next stop was the school secretary, who was very patient and helpful in explaining how the after school activities work. Lou is signed up for science, building and construction, and circus, each meeting two hours per week starting in October (and we’re going to check out the municipal soccer team tonight). She also gave us the list of books we need to get without charge from any bookstore in town. The books are loaned to us and must be returned in good condition at the end of the year.

The secretary also confirmed that Lou is signed up to eat lunch at school and explained that we need to open a bank account so we can pay electronically (4,5€ daily). (This will require us to get our residency cards, a process helpfully described here by an American named Jed who just started his second year in Granada with his family.) Kids bring a snack from home that they eat from 11:30 am to noon, and then the school day ends with lunch starting at 2 pm, followed by recess until 4 pm.

Parents have worked to keep the school kitchen on site and serving organic food. Every day the menu includes a salad or soup plus entree, things like gazpacho soup and lentils with green vegetables and fried fish, or green salad with chickpeas and fried eggplant with cheese, with fruit for dessert. Lou is thrilled.

I’ll write in another post about our landlord Soledad*, but want to give credit to her here for inviting us to walk to school with her and her daughter this morning, introducing us to other parents, and then taking Pete and me on an impromptu four-hour walking tour of Granada (one stop for coffee and toast, one stop for beer and a tapa). She also took care of all of the paperwork at the school so that we could have a seamless start. We can’t imagine where we’d be without her and her husband.

I also can’t imagine where we’d be without Pete’s excellent and fearless Spanish. He sets a good example as a traveler in so many ways.

* To tell a complete story while hopefully respecting the privacy of others, I’m going to use pseudonyms.

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