Monday morning was the first day back at school for Marie. It was quite a special day since it was not only her first day back at school but also her very first day in her new school. Despite being a bit nervous, she was still fairly confident that everything would go well. I, for one, was probably more nervous than she was, you know, being the new mum and all that. The registration had been so easy and effortless that I was wondering, in the back of my mind, if I had done everything that had to be done, if she was really enrolled there. If I'd made a mistake and not fully enrolled her, would they turn us away?
Mr Foodie had taken a bit of time off work so that he could come with us. So we all got up nice and early (although for him it was more of a lie in, considering he got up more than 2 hours later than a normal working day). After breakfast, Marie went upstairs to brush her teeth, and her hair, and wash her face. Then, I helped her put on her uniform. In her last school, Marie only wore a tracksuit but this year, she gets to wear a 'proper' uniform. She was so smart looking in her pinafore dress, shirt and tie.
This school starts a bit later than her old school but we left the house much later than we would have before. It is only a short country lane walk as opposed to a stressful 15 minutes drive for the same distance. When we got there, we could hear some of the children murmuring: 'This is the new girl.' but I don't think she heard them. We waited outside for a short while, as our neighbour was on her way down. I was quite amazed by the number of children. Where Marie was before, there would have been close to 300 pupils in the junior side alone. But here, there are only 130 altogether. There were only 5 or 6 lines of children waiting to go in. The principal helped her find her line and she stood there. Before long, a few little girls had gathered around her and were talking to her. Thanks to our lovely neighbour, she already knew one of them. Her new teacher came over and talked to her. She introduced herself to us and seems very pleasant. Eventually, Marie's line went in and she followed without even glancing back at us.
We still had to pay for the copies and journal and other bits so we went in to the secretary who remembered us from the time we went in to enroll Marie. She asked us a few questions on how we were settling in and how we liked the area. Once that was done, we left and one of the dads came over to us to introduce himself (well jumped over the wall rather than just came over). He explained that he had met Marie while she was playing next door. He also has a daughter in the school although not in Marie's class but one year up and they only live down the road from us.
I felt a bit awkward (I'm not the best at meeting new people) but I didn't feel intimidated at all, or stared at. Our neighbour also introduced us to a couple more parents and we made our way back home.
Later on, I walked with our neighbour down to pick her up. She came running out, her face beaming. She loved it (big sigh of relief). Everybody has been very nice to her, helping her to get settled. She said that somebody bumped into her by accident and turned around to as her if she was ok. 'In my old school, they would have told me to watch where I'm going', she said.
It's been nearly a week now, she is settling in well. I spoke to her teacher again and she assured me that it was all going really well. When I drop her off, I can see a little girl waiting for her at the school gate. She's made a friend and I'm really happy about it. She also received a birthday party invitation for this saturday. We all really enjoy the walk up and down, morning and afternoon. It's so peaceful, walking up and down this little country road, waving as cars pass us by. I have met more parents, thanks to our neighbour again. She has been so helpful in helping us settle in and not feel isolated that I don't know how I could ever thank her enough.
I'm glad the holidays are over. We can finally settle properly now. Between visitors and holidays and other dramas, it has been a bit difficult to find a real routine but now that everything is back to normal, now, our real country life can begin. And we are all really looking forward to it.