Thursday, October 02, 2014

Life in Algiers: Preschool

First day of preschool
Sunday (Fri-Sat weekends here), we took our daughter to preschool for the very first time.  We weren't sure how she would react to being left with strangers--let alone a polylingual (French, Arabic and English) school, so we'd been talking with her for weeks in advance about going to school.  Her Mimi and Papi even bought her a Dora backpack that she's been looking forward to taking to school.

When the day finally arrived, Evelyn acted like she was already a pro at this school thing.  Nonchalantly gave me a kiss on the cheek when I told her I was leaving and excitedly chatted to me about playing horses when I came back in the afternoon.  We're now one week in and she still loves going to school. Whew. 

 I don't actually know too much about what goes on in her school other than she likes her teachers, is making friends, and brings home refrigerator art most days. The French system apparently discourages parents from observing the school in session. That, and this school is located on a relatively busy street without a parking lot.  Pick-up and drop-off times are full of honking horns and stopped traffic.  Parents are supposed to promptly make the exchange and drive off.  This makes things particularly tricky because it is impossible to predict how long it will take to drive from my apartment to the school with traffic congestion the way it is.  Arrive too early and you have to circle the 'block' (or, if you're lucky to have a driver, you huddle with other parents in front of the gate waiting for it to open).  Arrive even a few minutes late in the morning and you'll find the security gate locked and you now without childcare that day.   

The first few days a new friend of mine was able to give us a lift to the school and even introduced me to a yummy nearby restaurant. Now I'm doing the embassy motorpool thing, which means gate huddle time (good for making new friends for myself).  So far at the gate I've befriended someone from Djibouti and a high-ranking person at another embassy.  That reminds me of a topic I should write more about soon--- the reason we are getting danger pay here.  As much as I want to share with my friends back home all about my surreal life, I do want to be especially careful about walking that fine line between "not letting the terrorists win by forcing me into a scared silence" and making it easier for them to plan attacks.  So, as to the name of the school (including photos/details of what it looks like) and who else sends their kids there, I think I'll error of the side of silence.  As to showing the world what my family looks like, well, that bridge was crossed a long time ago. 

Wishing you a peaceful weekend, and to my Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak! 

Evelyn's little lamb is saying "Eid Mubarak!"

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