After the longest summer of my life, this week finally marked the start of school. Halle-fricking
-lujah. Our youngest began bilingual Kindergarten (the local term for daycare), while the older boys started public school… in German. Austrian primary school officially begins in first grade, a milestone celebrated with a Schultüte
, a large paper cone filled with school supplies and treats. Our 6-year-old already passed the hurdle of starting grade school last year, but he gladly took advantage of this charming tradition. Austrian kids also remain with the same class and teacher for the first four years, making our 8-year-old an especially new kid in 3rd grade. Per usual, I’ve been a ball of nerves, suppressing enough anxiety to kill a small animal. Sending our kids to school in a foreign language seemed so adventurous before we moved. Now that the moment has arrived, it feels batshit crazy. Will they be completely lost? Will they be emotionally scarred? How can I be a good mom when I need Google Translate to interpret their homework? Despite my fears, I have to admit the first week has been surprisingly excellent. The schedule was a gentle transition from an hour on Monday to a whopping four hours by Friday. Our teachers are terrific, patiently explaining school procedures (like changing into hausschuhe
!) and partnering our kids with other English-speaking students. Most importantly, our boys seem happy and practically oblivious to the language barrier. All kids seem to speak the universal language of horsing around. Now, the question becomes what to do with all my free time. Appropriately enough, this week also marked the start of school for mommy… in German. I’ve had two lessons and I’m already feeling more confident. I don’t want to count my Hühner
, but we may not be using Google Translate for long.