Friday, December 5, 2014

Schooled

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I blogged, but now that we're six months out from moving to post (eeeek!) things are starting to pick up a little. John is a month and a half or so into language training and enjoying it (although can we please talk about how awful the "B" schedule is? It does NOT work for anyone trying to work from home with children. Or anyone who wants to attempt family dinners.). Juan le gusta hablar espaƱol!

One of the things we've been working on recently is getting Jack into school in Peru. Since there was no international school (or English-language preschool) in Yekaterinburg, we didn't really have to worry about this stuff. But Jack will be in Kindergarten and first grade in Lima, and we have decided to go with the international school there (FDR) for a couple of reasons. First, it's close to the embassy and where we think our housing will be. Second, it has the most expat kids of any of the schools in Lima. And third, it's the only school on the American schedule. Peruvian schools go from March to December (since it's south of the equator and their summer is our winter) and I want Jack to have time off in the summer so we can visit family. Plus we move there in May, meaning he'd have to start in the middle of the school year.

The people we've dealt with at FDR seem wonderful, and I'm happy to report we just received Jack's acceptance letter this afternoon. But I think I'm starting to see what it must be like for New Yorkers trying to enroll their kids in preschool. Good gravy, what a lot of work! We had to fill out a bunch of paperwork (special skills? Really? He's four.), do a parent Skype interview, and the embassy has to pay a one-time enrollment fee equivalent to the cost of a nice automobile. That doesn't even include the tuition. Apparently at some posts parents are expected to pay the money up front if they want to reserve a spot. Fortunately, that wasn't the case for us!

I didn't realize how competitive it would be, either. I'm not sure what it would have taken for Jack not to get in, but apparently there is a rather lengthy waiting list. The school has 5 Kindergarten classes of 22 students each. I can't even imagine what it must be like at drop off. I hope Jack isn't going to get lost in the shuffle at such a huge school, but I'm kind of excited to see him in his first uniform.

A note to other FS newbies - make sure you reach out to post (usually via the CLO) as soon as you know where you're going. We just made the cut off for next August, and it's only December. We also had to ask for our housing survey, so don't assume that things will happen by magic. Once you do contact the embassy, people are usually happy to help.

For now, at least we can cross one thing off our to-do lists. And if I didn't feel old enough, Jack's acceptance letter kindly reminded us that he is joining the class of 2028. Wowzers.