I typically catch up on the weekend happenings on Mondays, when things are a little slower around here - but today's recap JUST CAN'T WAIT!
First: Check this out!
Yes, we found Dr. Pepper and A&W Root Beer! Root beer floats tonight! Check out our $7 worth of soda. It goes for about $1 a can (USD).
It was an exciting day. No we don't have the car yet, but they are getting the paperwork and some minor maintenance (new battery, oil change) done for us and we should have it Monday or Tuesday at the latest. I've since seen a few Goetz around town. They are quite popular. Probably due to their size, low gas consumption (we get about $10 per liter in Greg's little truck) and reasonable price. Apparently the body and interior are super nice - all good news. It's not my "dream car" by any means, but I am looking at it as a prolonged rental. We should be able to sell it for what we paid for it in a year from now since cars retain their value very well down here. Anyway, back to my story...
Today was new family orientation at the high school. It was awesome. The kids broke off and did team building, so that when they get to school on Monday morning for the first day, they'll actually feel like they KNOW someone. What a great way to help them transition.
The parents were carted off to another area where the PTO gave us the 'run down' of what to expect: When to really be there to drop your kids off to avoid the crazy 1st day rush. How much money to send for lunches - which by the way, they recommend $3.000 Chilean Pesos a day! That's like $6.00 USD! A DAY! HOLY COW! Multiply that times 2 kids = $12 a day, times 5 days a week = $60 bucks! For SCHOOL lunches? What are they making these kids Filet Mignon? Needless to say, we'll be utilizing those many microwaves that they have around the lunch area to allow the kids to warm up their packed lunches.
We also purchased the required PE uniforms and a hoodie for each kid for a total of about $200 USD in clothing. Add to that the refurbished graphing calculator we bought for $110 USD and we rounded out our day just over $300 USD. Not bad for 4 hours :) [I shouldn't really be surprised. The initial payment to the school for various new student enrollment fees, etc was $20,000 USD. No, I didn't type that wrong. $20 thousand dollars...]
We really did have a great time. The parents are all in the same boat. All have arrived within the last month - some as recent as Thursday of this week. Most are awaiting the arrival of their belongings via ship which takes 2-3 months. I really feel like we made the right decision going with a furnished place. We only had to bring our clothes and a few essentials and we were right at home straightaway.
We met parents from all over the world. Many from across the US, some from the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, Mexico, etc. etc. I met several women how were already networking and gathering names and emails of people they met. I learned that almost all of the international families arrive with only 1 parent being allowed to work - the one who's job initiated the transfer. The other spouse may have had a job in their previous home and often find themselves lost upon arrival here in their new role as "home parent". I am truly blessed in that this is NOT a transition that I have to make. I'm used to being the "home parent" and rather enjoy the position. But as a help for these lost parents, the school has multiple opportunities for involvement.
There is a tour group that meets twice a month. Once to chat, have coffee and plan their next trip; and then again to make that trip. Typically they are day trips and everyone is back in time to get the kids. I LOVE THAT! Signing up for that for sure!
There is a Spanish class that is offered by 2 qualified Spanish language teachers. For only $100 USD a month, you get two 1.5 hour classes a week. I will probably sign up for that to supplement what I am learning in my private class and to meet new people.
This is just the beginning. I signed up for book fair and school store. There are so many opportunities to be involved and around english speakers. What a relief!
This day was supposed to be about the kids - but it ended up being a day that made mom/dad feel welcome. This school truly does care about the family. They understand that a happy family that supports the school is a family that fosters a hard-working productive student. I love everything about that!