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The Ball – It’s Starting to Roll

13 Feb

Yesterday I was invited to the school for a ‘thank you for helping with our morning drills, reading to us, and keeping us safe as we walk to school’ ceremony, in which the kids were thanking all the volunteers who help throughout the year.

Can I just add here that NO road safety volunteers are on our walk route because it covers about 1km on the main road where there are no houses. They stand on the corners and outside their house for the other routes – mainly vestlings in bright yellow um, well vests. On this whole walking to school topic – Shou and the rest of them are doing well, as of yesterday. Turns out the teacher didn’t ring the other offending kids’ parents up because they were all 3rd year plus and so she told them to tell their parents themselves. Fuck, isn’t that priceless?

Oh Mum, by the way, I got in trouble today for kicking HTB everyday on the way to school, whats for dinner?

Yeah right. This is the most retarded approach by the teacher.

Anyhoo, I had been asked to do a greeting aisatsu at the ceremony thing. I stupidly presumed it would just be me, four vestlings and 30 kids singing a song and saying thankyou. Such a rookie mistake. This is Japan. This was a ceremony after all. I was the youngest by a good 30 years but still, all sitting up the front with our names on our chairs – mine has Catriona on it even though not one person at that school has ever called my anything but Katy. Fuck, this is serious business. The head of the PTA has taken the day off work and is there, along with all the teachers, a cameraman, and a fuckin partridge in a pear tree.

I get through my greeting, which I might add Shou corrected me on when I was practicing yesterday. But then, in his homework notebook he wrote the day’s diary and said how good mummy’s speech was and that  it was the perfect speed and volume.

So, to the tittle of the post…

I heard back from the school in NZ. Action stations are go. They look forward to welcoming Shou and Marina for term 3 and 4 later this year. Next step? Tell Shou’s principal at school.

I asked him after the ceremony and before the skipping rope competition if I could talk to him briefly in private. He took me to a room I didn’t even know existed! I informed him of my intentions to take the kids home for six months but that academically from a Japanese school term point of view Shou and Marina would only be missing term 2 here. He wasn’t overly excited and I had to really explain myself, but he said well, I can’t stop you but I’ll have to check with the education board to make sure Shou and Marina wont have to repeat their year.

For fuckin fucks sake. Its one term. I will be making sure the kids do the required 80 fuckin pages of summer homework and that they aren’t way behind in Japanese and math when we get back. It wont be a walk in the park for me, or for the kids, but in my mind, it is not a choice but an obligation to their bloody heritage.

I wish everyone would stop acting as if I’m doing something detrimental. Hub said last night that he thinks I should wait till they are in high school. High School? Fucking really? He thinks they should be able to make the choice to go back and not be forced.

Oh shit. I wanted to laugh. You mean like the choice they have to do an hour of homework every night at age 7? Like the choice they have to spend hours every day for a month learning how to stand in a straight line and do everything for the sports day in perfect unison. Like that choice?

Came out of left field. I thought hub supported the decision. Turns out he just said yes because he knew I would do it anyway.  I had a very very frustrating conversation with him last night. The kids NEED this. How would you feel if we lived in NZ and I didn’t give a rats ass if the kids couldn’t speak Japanese or wasn’t interested in them getting closer to their Japanese relatives or learning more than how to be quiet at a hospital and funeral arrangements, pretty much the sum of what my kids remember from NZ. OK, actually they also remember Jake and the Neverland Pirates, double scoop ice creams, the quad bike my friend’s husband took them round on, and subsequently all the cow shit they rode through. They think all their aunties are called Auntie Ruth (the European Stylist who was the last adult who visited and who came with loads of gifts) and that rugby is the name of something out of Japanese anime Yokai Watch.

ANYHOO. The ball IS rolling. We WILL be going back to NZ from July to December.

Granny K also thinks the NZ experience can be duplicated by just reading them an extra Dr. Seuss book every night. I was ‘this’ close to yelling at her after her little rant about how selfish I was being, and the poor kids, rah rah. I can understand why she can’t get it. How could she? Her world revolves around three rice paddies, a pottery class and trying to grow shiitake mushrooms. She doesn’t need to get it. She just needs to shut up already about not getting it. A bit of your their mother, I’m sure you’re doing whats right for them. Good luck. We’ll miss you – obviously too much to ask.

Next thing to tick off the list?

Tell HTB’s parents.


PS – if anybody has taken their kids out of primary school in Japan for a length of time to go home and learn English can you please tell me the merits and demerits. Last time I took them and Shou went to school he hadn’t even started primary school here yet so it wasn’t as much of a big deal.