Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Week of School!

Well, it finally arrived. Madeline and Charlie's first day at the International School of Luxembourg. They did great!

Gearing Up
The week prior, they attended a morning Summer Recreation Program at their school, which helped them feel more comfortable and familiar with the facility. They kept saying, "Mom, my school is awesome!!"

We also went to the New Family Orientation, though unfortunately, there wasn't an opportunity to meet their teachers (I heard that this has to do with European employment laws). That will happen this coming week, during Back to School night -- we can't wait!

The school itself is extremely impressive. Madeline and Charlie's classrooms are part of the brand new lower school, a $50 million addition that was just completed a year or two ago.

An All Day Party
The day before school started, we celebrated the end of summer and beginning of the school year by having an all-day party. First the kids picked out a pastry at a bakery they love, and then they each chose a new toy at Cora -- Luxembourg's " Super Target." Charlie bee-lined for Legos, Madeline got a make up kit with bulbs that light up when you open the box, and John chose Duplos that he can bring in the bathtub. Naturally we stopped for gelato, and then drove through McDonalds for a rare American treat. I figured with all the new experiences they've taken in stride, I would give them a little taste of "home." Rob was able to sneak out of the office early enough to join us for a family dinner. Then off to bath time (back-to-school hair washing!) and a nice relaxed bedtime with lots of talking, cuddling and reading.

The Big Day!
And then came the big morning. We all sat down together to a breakfast of crepes, croissants, eggs (these kids need protein!) and fresh fruit, then headed over to the school. We left our calm little bubble and entered the Back-To-School excitement, which reminded me of the hysteria at a Bruno Mars concert.
Hundreds of people. John kept his ears covered, it was so loud!
So despite a few hiccups, the kids marched bravely into their rooms. As Madeline walked up the stairs, I felt that giant rush of emotion, which certainly had Ugly Cry potential, but thankfully, there were too many people around. (Rob and I got separated in the crowd, so I didn't get to see Charlie off, but thankfully, we'd given each other big hugs at home in the driveway). It's hard to let them go...

On Wednesdays, each of the kids' days are shorter. Because Charlie was released at noon, Rob picked him up and took him out for a special First-Day-of-School lunch! And I couldn't wait to pick up Mimi an hour before her normal release time! (I woke John up to get her, and he was so tired, he kept lying down on the walk from our car to the doors. Both the kids gushed about their day.

The Rest of the Week
The rest of the week was just as fabulous. Apparently, most everyone orders the hot cafeteria lunch, and I can certainly see why! Madeline was eager to give it a shot, though she was unsure and nervous about how to navigate the process. When I picked her up her second day, she was absolutely euphoric -- so proud of herself for figuring it out! She told me the lunch room has place settings like a restaurant. That night at dinner, she explained to Charlie in detail about how to do it, and so on Friday, they both ate salmon, broccoli and small potatoes. Sort of beats soggy bread and a slice of cheese.

On Thursday night, I drove to the preferred vendor for the kids' P.E. uniforms, which were a staggering 200 Euros (about $280). But I must say, they look really adorable in them!

So we're off to the races. It feels like "real life" has begun. Soon they'll have lots of little friends, homework, and we'll have a full social and academic calendar. For now, we're enjoying the calm. I know I keep saying it, but I am simply floored at how the kids continue to adapt to these massive life changes as though it's no big deal. They're really something special.

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