Friday, August 19, 2011

First Day of School

Baz started 3rd grade today, and Ayla started 2nd grade.

The orientation meeting, while just covering basic information, was a crowded trailer buzzing with multiple languages being translated at once. The new child starting 1st grade this year is Russian, with Russian-speaking parents, and he is starting in French immersion. We were also joined by the Chinese students and their interpreter.

They are making an effort to overlap the studies of the Chinese-school students and the Canadian-school students a little more this year. So, while the Chinese will still have their own trailer and an independent curriculum, one of Cirque's teachers will work with them a few hours a week, and in exchange their teacher will be giving a Chinese class to our kids once a week! Baz and Ayla seem partly thrilled and partly worried about it.

I do hope we can build some stronger ties with the Chinese girls - they've been on tour with us several months now, and few of us can remember their hard-to-pronounce names, let alone hold a conversation with them. They are still so young, and so shy about trying to speak English.

The other new challenge for Baz and Ayla this year is that their Math class is being taught in French. It's part of a program to gradually immerse them in French - if we stay for more years on tour, each year they would add another class taught in French. They both came home today saying, "that was HARD."

As an icebreaker game to kick off the school year, the kids had this scavenger hunt assignment. They were turned loose on the Totem site, exploring all around the common areas to find people with the listed qualifications. It was great fun.

...So, our summer vacation is over. It was short. I feel a bit discouraged that we accomplished so little. I had great ambitions of sight-seeing, skill-acquiring, goal-achieving. In the end, we did very little - spent a lot of afternoons at libraries and playgrounds. But we did have to move to a new city in the middle of it. We managed to squeeze in a handful of lessons, as well, in swimming, Russian and ballet. ....mostly, though, the kids had a break, and I suppose that's what summer is supposed to be for!

I enjoyed spending the day on site today. Spoke some Russian, caught up with some people I hadn't seen in awhile, sat in the sunshine and got used to the layout of the new site. It's a big, nice site, with plenty of space for kids to play and trailers surrounding an outdoor picnic area by the kitchen. There's wildlife too!! the kids got to see raccoons, a praying mantis, and several grasshoppers today.


  1. I'm so happy to have found your blog! My husband and I went to see the show last night in Toronto and absolutely loved it! Feel free to tell anyone you on site that it is fantastic and we think the best Cirque show we've seen thus far (and we've seen all that have come through Toronto in the past few years). I hope you enjoy your time in Toronto.

  2. Thanks Victoria! I'm always glad to hear from people who are enjoying Totem...