Update: The girls did great! The first thing Brooklyn said to me as we were leaving the school was, “Mom, I wish tomorrow wasn’t Saturday, but Monday!” As we were all walking down the sidewalk, kids kept running up to the girls to say “bye”. Liberty responded to one boy, “Bye, potato boy!”. I said, “Liberty, why did you call that kid ‘potato boy’?” She said, “Mom, all day he would come up to me and say…potato, chicken, rooster & banana….he kept saying potato over and over again!” I laughed, visualizing these boys and girls using the English that they had been taught. Even if it meant saying ‘potato’ over and over again!—-And get this…usually the few kids in the neighborhood look at us funny, as if we’re changing colors right in front of them. We’ve had a hard time meeting other kids for our children to play with. Well, today…two girls came to our house to play with the girls!! These two girls had seen our girls at school yesterday and one of them had played with our girls, so they came over today to play!! This is a really big step for us. Please pray for our children and the Portuguese girls, Carla and Clada.
Yesterday, my husband went to the local school here in our small village to discuss with them the “possibility” of our three oldest children attending next year. He wanted to see if they were prepared to have students who understood very little Portuguese. In America, any kid, no matter what he or she speaks is welcome in school. But we don’t live in America. You have to do things their way around here, or they don’t get done! So we wanted to know ‘the rules”.
Everyone who has asked why our children weren’t in school this year thought it very odd that we “schooled at home”. They have no idea what this means and would always ask if that’s even possible to do here in Portugal. “Of course it’s possible…we’re doing it aren’t we?!?” (That’s what I’d like to say…)
So Michael walked down to the local school yesterday with Brooklyn. They took a short tour (it’s a very small school) and talked with the director who spoke no English, but was a very friendly lady. They went into the 3rd grade classroom and met the teacher. All the kids called out to Brooklyn, using the English they had been taught…”Hello!” “Hello, my friend!” Brooklyn’s response was, “Ola”. (Which is the only way she knows to respond right now.)
Later when they returned home, Michael and Brooklyn both walked in with wide eyes and smirks on their faces. I was eagerly awaiting their return as I desperately wanted to know what the outcome of this meeting would be. Michael started off with, “Brooklyn, do you want to tell her or do you want me to do it? Brooklyn giggled, “You do it Daddy.” Michael responded….. “They’re going to school tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow…!!” “No…not tomorrow…I’m not ready…”
“Why tomorrow?….schools almost out….they don’t have ‘school clothes’….I don’t have snacks to send with them…I’m not ready for this…THEY’RE not ready for this…they don’t speak Portuguese for goodness sake!!”—All these thoughts ran through my mind in less than a second.
After Michael told me how everything went while at the school it was determined that going to school today and all next week, which is the last week of school, would help them know what to expect next September.
After talking with Brooklyn, Faith and Liberty, I felt better because they were all pretty excited about going. Each had their reservations, but the excitement was to great to ignore.
“Maybe they were ready…maybe it’s just me who liked the security of keeping them safe at home…shielding them from the sneers, giggles and cruelty of other children….Maybe it’s time to test them…to see what they can do…to let them try to make it in a foreign place. They’ve seen their parents try to do it in a foreign place, so they know how to mess up…..I’m sure of that! But maybe they also learned how to do it with ‘grace’.”
Brooklyn’s alarm clock went off this morning and within 3 minutes, she was dressed and standing at my bedroom door rubbing sleep out of her eyes telling me she was ready to go. She was so very excited.
Faith had her usual, “I don’t really care” attitude. She’s fine either way.
Liberty was a little sad acting with a worried look on her face. She got upset when we were trying to pick out a bag to carry her snack in. The one I chose was too big, she said. Liberty turned 6 in January. The average 1st grader in Portugal is 7 when he/she begins the year. So I’m concerned about her age. But when she left, she was fine.
So…..after much prayer and a few tears….this was our departing moment this morning. Michael took them. It’s a 10 minute walk. I had to let him do it, cause if I had taken them I would have brought all three back home with me!