Saturday, August 27, 2005


That's how many children started first grade today in Lower Saxony. I was down at the school all morning handing out Baldwin Bookworm bookmarks on behalf of the school library. Our tiny library now has 1,500 books which is really good considering it was all done through donations and hard work by the parents.

The little ones were so sweet this morning, all dressed up and proudly carrying their Schultüten in front of them. You could see the excitement on their faces. I even saw twin babies, only a few months old, each of them with their own very small symbolic Schultüte to go along with their older sibling's larger one. The big kids put on a great show with skits and music and had everyone smiling. A lot of families had big celebrations planned for this afternoon to mark the occasion. This day is treated very similarily to christenings, confirmation, weddings etc - a real milestone.

I found this reproduction of an old postcard that I thought was pretty.

When German kids start school, friends and family will often say to them, "Jetzt beginnt der Ernst des Lebens." - now life starts in earnest. For me this is an unfortunate turn of phrase because it makes some children so anxious about what to expect from school. The attitude in some circles seems to be that learning is a chore rather than the joy it should be. Hopefully that will change as they try to whip the school system into shape.


The boys have been invited to two birthday parties each this weekend so we'll hardly see them. Boy12 has a sleepover party tonight at a friend's house and a swimming party tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. so he's just going to go straight there after he wakes up. Boy9 gets to go to a football game - American football, not soccer. He's pretty much a "no sports" kind of guy, but the birthday boy, his best friend, is a sports fan so he goes along with it. I'm sure it will be interesting for him.

Our Spanish amigos are leaving for home again tomorrow and will drop by tonight to say goodbye and return my car. Diego's mother has now officially disowned him, reason unknown, although I'm sure after they're gone she'll change her mind pretty fast and start missing them.


Just had a visitor a few minutes ago. I was busy typing and nearly jumped out of my skin when I hear a cat meowing right under my chair. Why did it freak me out? Because we don't have a cat. I recognized her though - it was the skinny one that comes around sometimes and hangs out on our terrace, but she's never had the nerve to come inside before. I escorted her out and offered her a bowl of "Happy Cat" cat food from our emergency stash. She of course turned up her nose and went to check out what's going on next door. Now I'm getting all itchy because as much as I love cats, my immune system hates them. Itchy eyes, runny nose - the works. Horses, rabbits and guinea pigs do it to me too. Dogs and cows are OK. Go figure.


At August 27, 2005 3:56 p.m., Blogger cmhl said...

I love that postcard! beautiful!!

At August 29, 2005 11:59 a.m., Blogger Kakerlakenzüchter said...

Your cat allergy makes me sad - looks like Jen and I can never visit you because we alwas have some cat hair on us ;).

Jen will bring an 8-week-old kitten back from the US tomorrow. He is SOOOOO cute.

Anyway: Was wondering what an "ESL teacher" does? "English as a second language"? Also what your interest in atheism is... we might have some conversation stuff here ;).

- sparky


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