Well Thursday I overslept, and didn’t manage to call the person I was supposed to call at the bilingual gymnasium. It’s not one of the three “good schools” that everyone told us about, so I was kind of thinking we probably won’t send him there anyway. But then today he brought home a math test with a big ol’ 4 (that’s a D) on it, and now we are again wondering how to get one of the “good schools” to take him.
First order of business was an appointment with a real estate agent to get an idea of how the market looks. We talked about neighborhoods and he recommended the ones we’ve been looking at anyway, and printed out prospectuses of houses very much like the kind we’ve been thinking we’d like. So that’s good, we’re on the same page more or less, and they’ll keep an eye out for houses for us, and we’ll drive around and look at things in April. Also, the receptionist gave us coffee. Mmm, coffee.
From there we went to the Montessori school and talked to… an assistant principal? I think? She said that the Sniglet’s lack of Dutch would be a problem, but there’s a school called “het Mozaiëk” which is a school for teaching Dutch to kids. They have regular schoolwork, so the kids don’t fall behind while they’re learning the local lingo. It’s in Ondiep, far from any of the places we’re thinking of moving to – from people we talked to, I rather got the impression that it was in the “bad” part of Utrecht, so we were kind of skeptical but we said we’d check it out. And she said that once the Sniglet had some Dutch they’d have a place for him, which was a lovely thing to hear. Although we were not keen on making him change schools twice, instead of just once.
Then that afternoon we went to the Inaugural Lecture of another new professor, a German philosophy prof who is commuting from Augsburg and has a son Ignatz’s age. We talked to his wife, and it sounds like they have no plans to move up to Utrecht. She’s a teacher here in Germany, which is a really good job, well-paid and frankly, to judge from the effort my sons’ teachers are putting into it, not at all challenging. And it’s not really one that transfers – like the Germans, the Dutch don’t want any icky foreigners teaching their pweshus widdle bwossoms, so they don’t recognize foreign teachers’ qualifications. So yeah, she has excellent reasons to stay, reasons that I don’t have. Oh, and she also mentioned that the Rude Gymnasium was rude to them too.
After that we got to experience Dutch pizza. It was not yummy.
Then it was Friday, and I went out to Ondiep to check out the school, with some trepidation, I’ll admit. I mean, you tell an American a neighborhood’s bad, and she’ll be expecting muggers at least, right? Hah. There was some graffiti and litter at the bus stop (litter at a bus stop! news at ten!) and lots of houses that looked too small for our family, but it seemed like quite a cozy little spot. I was particularly enchanted by the halal pizzeria. Good thing I didn’t know about the riots then, eh?
Anyway, the school. The director spoke English, and explained how the whole thing works, and it seemed quite simple and straightforward and actually like a good idea. I began to think more positively about the Sniglet changing schools twice (and jumping ahead, when I told him about the school on Saturday afternoon, he said “yes!”, so that’s a good sign). He’s been nervous about coming into a school where he doesn’t speak the language, and this seems like a good solution.
Then what? Oh, Kn, German wife of another foreign (Portuguese, I think) professor, moved here when her oldest was 9, now has a kid Ignatz’s age. She had all kinds of useful stuff to say, and even offered to arrange for Ignatz to go to school with her son for one day to see what it’s like. He goes to the Christelijk, which is our first choice at the moment. She said it’s full of gifted, hyper boys, and her relatively even-keeled son complains about how other kids are always hopping around. Okay, so I guess he and Ignatz won’t become fast friends, but this sounds like a good place for Ig (if they’ll take him, with his wretched and declining grades). She also had super-handy advice about doctors and traffic and mortgages and the like. Fab resource, and a very nice person too. I like her.
Then I met Mj again, and got even more helpful advice, like where the yarn store is, and about general Dutch life.
After that it was time to pack and go to the airport. I can’t believe how much I learned in four days. I can’t possibly store it all in my little head, I can feel information dribbling out at an alarming rate.