Thursday, September 1, 2011

First bell done right...

Wow! Moldova knows how to start off the school year!!  Today is September 1, 2011 the first day of school for all of Moldova.  I (Ashley) would have to say the States could stand to learn a thing or two from this tiny Eastern European country.   

My morning started exactly like what I would expect in a house where there is a 10 year old getting ready for her first day of school - mom and daughter speaking both lovingly and perhaps somewhat more loudly to one another than if it had been a typical summer morning in which there was no cause for worry about one's appearance.  When all said and done my host sister, Adriana, looked as frumoasa (beautiful) as ever in her black and white shirt (standard attire for the first and last day of school) with bright blue skirt, white stockings and shiny white shoes.  Adorable!  Even adorable when she tapped me on the shoulder whilst brushing my teeth to ask me if I was going to be ready to go as soon as i was done.  I assured her with a nod of my head and soon (after some encouragement and one last kiss from husby)  Adriana and I were on the dirt road headed to our first day of school together - hers being in the 4th grade and mine being my first day ever of teaching. 

On our way to the school we met many other students and parents all dressed frumos-ly.  We made a stop at a truck just outside the school gates selling flowers where Adriana purchased a single white rose to later be given to her homeroom teacher.  Most other students carried at least one flower if not a bundle or several separate ones to pass on to a favorite teacher or their homeroom teacher.  Even I was given some flowers by the end of the day!  

Once at the school we separated - Adriana with her schoolmates and me to attempt to find one of my partner teachers.  Soon enough I found myself next to Galina surrounded by the 4th grade class.  All students waiting patiently outside of the school for the sound of the first bell.  Never in my life have I seen so many students dressed so beautifully.  I believe it may be an unwritten rule that once in the 10th grade you are required (as a female) :) to wear a black skirt, white shirt, and the highest heals possible for the first day of school.  The younger girls all had some variation of a black and white outfit as well typically finished off with a stylish up-do and large (read: as big as their head!) white pom-pom of sorts on top of their head.  So cute!!

Once the school director, mayor, and Minister of Education had each said a few words to welcome in the new year, the incoming class of littles (what is 2nd grade here, i.e. kids who have just finished the equivalent of kindergarten) were asked to come forward so they could be recognized as the newest members of the "family".  It is tradition (in Puhoi) to have the 12th grade class bring a handful of school supplies (notebook, ruler, pencils, pens) and present them to one of students in the youngest class.  After presenting the gifts they then select one of the youngest students to ring the bell to start the new year at which point the youngest and oldest parade in a circle in front of the rest of the classes and then file into the school for the first time.  

I feel so honored to have been able to witness this amazing celebration of the start of the year.  The rest of the day was spent in respective home room classrooms with an overview of upcoming classes and talk of funding for the year with the parents who chose to attend first bell.  The day was short, ending at 10am, but the excitement was palpable and I have no doubt the kids are ready to get started tomorrow!

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