Rex’s first day of school

Let me tell you, no one does First Day of School like the Germans.

Thanks to a little prodding and encouraging and sign language from our non-English speaking German landlords (and the Spirit), we decided to put Rex into the village school system. He’s at the age where learning a language is easy, their version of kindergarten is only half a day, and it’s five minutes from my house (versus all day on base with an hour bus ride home at night).

The day before school started I had a sit down with Rex’s new teacher, Frau Schneider. Probably the sweetest lady I’ve ever met, the moment I met her I felt like this would be a good thing.

Unfortunately she speaks no English.

It took an entire hour for me to figure out that on the first day, I was to come to the school at 7:45, walk with the class to the local church, then return to the school for a short program in the gymnasium, drop off Rex for an hour while I left to “drink coffee” with the parents and talk to the “taxi driver,” then finally head home at 11:00.

Thinking it was no big deal, I took Rex and Georgia and started out. By the time we got to the church I realized that this was no small event. Half the village turns out for the first day of school, there were at least five adults to every child.

We sang a few songs, including “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in German, then watched as all the first-graders proceeded to the front of the church for the annual “blessing” where they “get a little angel” on their shoulder to help them through school.

All I have to say is that I’d love to see some American school try that. Honestly, if a group of Christians tried to bless our children with guardian angels and sing them songs about Jesus, it would cost them in law suits and bomb threats. We Americans are so screwed up.

When we finally got back to the school, we met in the gym. The older kids then proceeded to sing to all the new children. This was no casual music here, I’m talking ten-year-olds playing full drum sets and guitars, kids belting out raps in the microphone. Here we are back home, banishing music from our schools like it was some kind of pointless frivolity, while the rest of the world rocks the house. Seeing those kids perform with so much confidence and skill made me wonder if I should really keep Harrison in American schools while we’re here.

By the time I finally dropped Rex off in his classroom (much to his horror and dismay) and made my way to the caffeteria, I was exhausted.

That’s when I met Rosie (you roll the R in the back of your throat). She drives the little “taxi” bus that picks up Rex and five other little children in a cozy little black van loaded with half a dozen booster seats. The woman drives like a bat out of you know where; we tried to follow her this morning but I don’t think my car goes that fast.

All in all it was a full day. Rex did better than expected and I managed befriend a handful of the parents in his class (none of them speak English so that was fun).

Today was his first time on his own. He cried when he had to get on the bus and it almost broke my heart, but he came home with smiles and art work so I think we’re going to be okay. Fingers crossed, it’s a long road between now and whenever. This will be hard for him, especially at first while he’s trying to learn the language.

I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so earnestly for one of my children before, here’s hoping my little egg is in the right basket.

Standing outside with "Baby Kevin" the snipe just before the meeting let out.



  1. He’s such an awesome little trooper!

  2. My goodness, things are different over there. I’d say we Americans have drifted a little too far on the wrong side of Jesus also. Here’s to Rex and his grand adventure and I think it’s gonna turn out A-OK. Good prayin’ mama.

  3. Honestly, I swear I’m about as exhausted/worried/nervous/anxious as you by the time I’m done reading your posts. You are a brave, brave woman! (And our school system is SO screwed up. The end.)

  4. Yes, we American’s are screwed up BIG TIME!. . . . . makes me want to move to Germay. My German ancestors would turn in their graves if they knew I were saying this!!!!!

    What an awesome thing you are doing for Rex.

  5. I hope you gave him a schultute for his first day! I love that tradition!

  6. My 9 yr old wants an ADVENTURE. Have you noticed it’s nearly impossible to have an adventure if your folks are around? Sounds like Rex is going to have a bunch of controlled adventures, and it’s going to be marvelous. He’ll be stronger and more confident at the other end.
    Though it scares me to think of putting my 9 soon to be 10 yr old, or even my 8 yr old on a bus and sending them off to fend for themselves, I think they’d enjoy it and have some marvelous adventures. I predict Rex will do great.

  7. Don’t worry! He’s going to be great! We’ll send some prayers his way, but you will be SO GLAD you did this for him! My Mom used to be a migrant education teacher in the US, so we always played and befriended her students. Trust me when I say they learned SO FAST. I’m talking like, in a month’s time, they learned more than you can ever imagine. Not only that, but I’ve seen it here in Brazil too. The kids I teach only see me twice a week. By the end of a month, they are understanding almost everything I am telling them. Or they get enough that they can guess what I am saying. It is truly amazing!! (i teach kids 7-9) Good luck to Rex! And here in Brazil they are really religious too, without problems. I really enjoy being able to talk about God without worrying that I will be beheaded.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Annie, it sounds like you guys are doing well! I cannot imagine living in another country with a language totally unfamiliar and trying to make friends, send my kids to school without worrying myself to tears, and all the other things that go along with trying to settle down in a new place…in a new land with a new language. Best of luck and I will be sure and pray for you!!

  9. Yeah, I’m feeling so out of touch (thanks Germany) that I resorted to borrowing Dad’s computer so I could read your blog again. Gone are the days when I hear everything before you post about it (except this one, of course). I even blogged myself so that maybe you could know what was going on with me – but don’t bother to read today’s, because you’ve heard it all already. Call me. Germany is stupid. (Do you think I’ll get hate mail because I said that?)

  10. Don’t forget he has a little angel on his shoulder as well as your prayers! If only all kids heading to kindergarten could have that much encouragement.


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