When you move to another country to experience a different way of life, you don’t get to choose how or when it will be different.
School is a great example. I am thrilled that Lou’s school emphasizes teaching kids to eat well. They start with high quality food and provide supervision and time so that kids
are forced to have the opportunity to try different foods during lunch even if it takes them 20 minutes to choke down a salad (Lou has figured out that, when forced to, he can eat lettuce if it doesn’t have olive oil on it).
I expect to be thrilled too with the hands-on learning in Lou’s after-school circus and science classes.
I am less thrilled with the amount and style of communication between parents and school teachers, which thankfully seems to be a frustration shared by Spanish parents. I say “thankfully” because Spaniards have the cultural and linguistic knowledge to pull the right levers and push for change—I don’t have that knowledge. Just yesterday I sat through a nearly two hour back-to-school meeting for second grade where I understood only the general topics (tardiness, homework, toilet paper and why it’s not in the bathrooms, field trips, lice). The words I did get, combined with non-verbal cues like raised voices and gesticulations, made the conversation feel (to me) uncomfortably direct and accusatory/defensive. Pete brushed it off and said, “That’s just how they talk.”
So in exchange for the comedor (school dining hall) and all the other things we like about Granada, there will be things we don’t like, don’t understand, or wish we could change. Just like at home.