We are all adjusting to our new school, in so many ways…

I’m so proud of D, for making it through those first days, inevitably rough: all new faces, new routine, new campus, new uniform and what’s with all those British words…!??

After the 2nd day, I thought my heart would break when D told me he’d been sitting alone at lunch, but that is a distant memory now as I write this, at the end of day 6. Tonight he triumphantly declared: I made a friend today! He proceeded to tell me how the friend is from Slovakia, and is in different section of his class, and how they bonded over a game they invented that had something to do with flipping a water bottle on its long end.

Although of course he was a bit shy in the very beginning, I can see his confidence building every day. An encouraging sign of his integration – he is adapting his lovely teacher Ms. Williams’ British accent; his sentences are starting to lilt upwards towards the end, and he’s saying things like: “If the weather is fair, we might eat out in the garden.”

My sweet outgoing Leo…it never occurred to him to cry, or try to get out of going to school (both of which were on display on campus). He’s ALL-IN and ready for what ever comes next. I think I am the luckiest mom on the planet.

Plus: did I mention I don’t have to pack lunches, for the first time in SIX years? Hail thee my good cafeteria, I bow down before you in deep appreciation. I am still stunned by this, and awestruck by the stress it takes away from my mornings (and evenings–that spilled spaghetti at the bottom of the lunchbox was not going to clean itself). AND the food is delicious. We got to sample it on Open Day. Some of it is organic, and the menu lists all key additives, so families can make informed choices about what they’re consuming. I noticed the meals are also gluten-friendly which is an extra bonus for us. I am so excited about this I’m adding some images of the menu for this month.

OK, it takes a little longer to get to school than we’re used to. BUT thanks to Jeff we have an excellent alternative to the 30-minute obvious route train ride (itself not not unpleasant and very convenient). No, it’s not a car (although, let’s talk in January, when it’s cold and dark). He found another train, that we board a few blocks away, that we ride for just about 15 minutes, then alight with our bikes, and cycle the rest of the way to school–mostly through greenspace and sleepy suburbs. You may have seen our posts on Instagram of this lovely journey (IG: @MaidaSussman @JeffWeiss @DashiellWeiss ), but I wanted to includes the images, here as well.

Lastly, it is such a novelty to attend an established school with a larger population and the systems that go along with that. The school is very organized, well staffed, and they do an excellent job of communicating effectively. We’ve got a mobile app & online portal to receive notifications, and website for tracking extra curricular activities (“clubs”). Furthermore our class rep, and American woman, keeps us updated on classroom-specific topics via a What’s App group. I’ve learned a lot being on the other side of this equation, being the new family, and plan to take some lessons learned with me back to Gardner School next year.

6 thoughts on “School!

  1. I’ve been looking forward to the news. Every mother knows the heartbreak of a child sitting alone. So glad you’re past that!! What about the flat bike tire? I heard that from Amanda and was worried that he was frightened about getting home. What an adventure. So proud of you all. You talk about Dashiell but know you both are having your own scary adventures. You’re our babies and we’re so proud of you. Very brave to try this . We love you so much.

    1. I agree with your Mom! You all are so brave! It’s hard to remember Dash is so young because he is so smart, so mature and so tall. But living abroad is a huge thing and he left his school, his friends, his home, his dog and his comfort zone. I marvel at his adventure attitude. I’m so happy he made a new friend and soon will have lots of them. Your Mom and me also feel we are the luckiest mom in the world! You and Jeff and Dash make us so proud!

      What a cool way to get to school. How many miles do you bike everyday?
      Sending love!

  2. So wonderful to see you settling into your new world. Love the pic of the bike on the train! I still marvel at how bike friendly Germany is and you see all ages out and about. Your market basket really makes you a local!

      1. Thank you Maida for posting! We are dying to know all the details and you deliver them so well. Seeing the photos make us feel almost like we are there. I can’t wait to visit! Thanks, again!

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