Friday, December 22, 2006

Still learning...

1. There are two notebooks in school: one contains schoolwork--pictures next to Italian words mostly (since Nora's still learning the language) and the other contains homework assignments and notes from school (handwritten by Nora in Italian and cursive). But to keep you on your toes, important notes from school can be found in either notebook, even squished in the middle of vocabulary words related to the ocean. Just to be sure you're paying attention.

I know I've talked extensively about the lack of communication with the school. But I dont' think I've said that at times I'm kinda happy about it. There is no Monday folder bursting at the seams with a letter from the PTO, principal, classroom teacher, and cafeteria; no newsletter, fundraising fliers, or promotional deal at the local pizzeria. There is also not a bunch of schoolwork plaguing me with indecision: do I throw away this precious piece of Nora's history or do I allow myself to be swallowed whole by the mounds of crap they produce in school? (Sorry, mom. Now that fire hazard is yours.)

So Nora was thumbing through her schoolwork notebook the other day, and she began counting, "uno, *flip flip* due *flip* tre *flip, flip*, quattro..." "Nora what are you counting?" "These," she pointed to a
U at the top-left corner of some of the pages. I'd never noticed them before. "What are those?" "That means I finished all my lunch."

Never a report card. Never a graded homework assignment. Never a piece of feedback on any academic work. But they make sure to communicate the eating habits of our children ever single day.

2. Spent two hours last night looking for tissue paper to put in gift bags. That was fun. Because here going from store to store means walking from store to store. And it's cold here in December.
While gift bags, bows, ribbons, gift tags, and wrapping paper are found in department stores, grocery stores, and stalls on the side of the street, the elusive tissue paper can only be found in a Cartoleria (a place that sells paper, pens, journals, and tissue paper). Nora and I finally went to a Cartoleria and Nora quickly rushed over to a stack of...something.
"Here it is! Here's the tissue paper!" "This doesn't look like tissue paper...." but it was all wrapped in plastic so I couldn't be certain. "No. It is," said Nora, "We used this in school."

Nora's portion of the conversation basically translates to "No. It's really not tissue paper, Mom, but it's this really cool stuff that stretches and doesn't tear, and we used it in school, and I love playing with it, so when you realize it's worthless to you, and you can't use it at all, you'll give it to me, and I can keep it and play with it, and it will be mine!"
Never mind the two hours spent walking around for the stuff.
(They actually did have tissue paper at the store, I learned later--sold individually for far too much money.
My wonderful mother is bringing me tissue paper from the states.)

My wonderful mother is also bringing a tube of sugar cookie dough and a gingerbread house to decorate!
I hope the rest of you are feeling as festive.

Merry Christmas! Buona Festa!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More School News

I learned yesterday from Nora that on Tuesdays and Thursdays (the days that they have gym) they also have dance. Also on Thursdays they work with clay. I haven't been given a schedule for the school, but I'm pretty sure of several of the components. Here's a look at a possible schedule for Tuesdays and Thursdays:
8:20 (or 8:25) school starts
8:30--9:30 gym
9:30--9:50 snack
9:50--12:00 learning
12:00--1:00 lunch
1:00--2:00 recess
2:00--2:40 dance
2:40--3:00 snack 2
3:00--4:20 learning

Three and a half hours of learning. Poor things. It's no wonder we received the message we received yesterday. The teachers at Nora's school have decided to go on strike tomorrow from 8:20--9:20 and 3:20--4:20.

What a brilliant way to make time for Christmas shopping.