Archive for January, 2014

school saga

January 27, 2014

Well, our saga to find a school for Illyria has truly begun. On Saturday we went to visit a “Montessori” school in the wealthy northern part of the city; it kind of boggled my mind – the physical structure made me think of it as a Classical education theme park. Every classroom bears the name of some great world thinker, every great name from Marie Curie to Nelson Mandela, and a hallway facade evocative of Hellenic Greece (or some such thing). The music area in the preschool included a collection of miniature, child-sized baby grand pianos. There’s a faux fountain in a faux village square between the lockers in the elementary school section. The application form for admission cost $150 and asked for the entire educational and work history of each parent. I said to Gimli, “well there’s no ambiguity about the elitism of this school.” 

We’re also looking into alternative schools closer to where we live. We’ve talked about the public schools, but the truth is that in this city every middle class parent who can afford it puts their kids in private school. If there is any choice at all, that’s where they go. So the public schools are overcrowded and underfunded, and even as my populist inclinations protest, I keep thinking “I just don’t want her in a classroom of 40 kids.” 

I spent some time around the age of 12 in public schools in Peru and Chile, and I hated almost every minute of those experiences. In one school, there were 44 kids in my 6th grade classroom and the teacher would sometimes show up drunk. Some days every kid who couldn’t answer the question would be switched on the upper arm (although he skipped me because of my quasi-foreigner status, I suppose). There was a breakfast program at one school – bread and milk – and my sister and I hated the taste of the warm milk so much we brought chocolate powder from home to try to make it palatable. Completely bored by the rote memorization used in every subject, I was close to failing everything except math and art. I suppose it was good for me to be with other kids my age, and I learned the national anthems and hopscotch and the value of a school uniform. But oh how I hated going to school.

I want Illyria to like school, to enjoy learning. I want her to learn Spanish really well. Beyond that, I’m not too anxious about anything. Except her getting accepted.



January 22, 2014

Well, Illyria didn’t get into the school we applied to. We’re trying to figure out a Plan B that doesn’t involve insane distances across the city. I was kind of upset this morning, less about being denied to that particular school and more about the feeling of rejection in general, and my own failure in preparing her adequately for this next step in her young life. 


January 7, 2014

I have to write something. ANYTHING. I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for an hour while Gimli has the kids out, and I have nothing.  The past few writing days I’ve had, I’ve been re-reading scholarly articles but today I don’t even know what the point is. I can see the shape of this thing, this dissertation; I have a pretty good feel for where I need to go with it, but every time I try to take hold of some part of it to actually make it so, it just seems so slippery. I can’t seem to get any traction.

I have in my mind two visions of the future – the one in which I finish, and the one in which I don’t. I want to be the version of me that finishes.