This is something John and I have said to each other every time we question if this decision was best for our kids. Today there was plenty of discomfort!
The plan was for today to be a shadow day at school before they start their holiday. The morning brought tears and no one could find Joe as we were leaving for the bus.
We made it out the door and made it to the bus on time.
We made it to school and a very kind teacher, Ms. Tatiana was waiting for us along with Zuzana, our bilingual tutor.
There were more tears and sweet compassion from our school helpers. V departed from the group announcing that she was excited for the day. I didn’t see her again until the end of the day as girls were handing little notes to her with their phone numbers. ❤️. She asked to go back to school tomorrow.
Zuzana accompanied Ryan and I tried to check on him a few times. I know she did her best to help him as best as she could. The reality is that the Slovak language is incredibly difficult and today gave us a good idea of how to help the boys especially. At the end, Ryan did admit that it wasn’t as bad as he feared.
Joe asked me to not leave his side and we started the morning right off with Slovak language class.
Slovak class was….rough. One sweet boy offered two books to Joe (also in Slovak). It was clear that the children wanted to try to engage with him but he was very overwhelmed.
The next class was English class. Joe started to warm up. The teacher is American and I was so impressed with her. I was actually so impressed with the whole class. Joe answered some questions and did a little celebratory dance with correct answers. Things were starting to look up.
The next class was a verbal English class. The assignment was for the children to draw their dream house- no rules. Joe got right to it.
The teacher had some helpful vocabulary words on the board for their houses/sentences. With the addition of Joe to the class, there were new words added to the board. Just two examples are “death traps” (these are outside his dream/aka Bull Boy house) to kill villains. The second example is “work out gym” where one who lives in his house can work towards their “six pack.” There may have been a moment where I thought I would rather not attend class with him. 😆
The handwriting of these children is immaculate. The teacher rounded Joe’s table and frankly announced, “Joe- I just can’t read your writing. But, I love your creativity.”
At this point, Joe declared that he was actually enjoying himself. Phew!
In all, it was a difficult but not insurmountable day. All three declared they would rather just come back tomorrow to keep the ball rolling. Yet, we won’t return until February 24th.
During school, I received texts from our realtor and friend Lucia that the kids could meet the volleyball and basketball coaches tonight if we were willing. Everyone agreed that yes, we would keep this Slovak ball rolling.
V and I headed off to a gym to meet up with a potential volleyball team and coach. After figuring out how to enter the gym (these things usually aren’t easy), we entered and the coach immediately asked “Do you speak Slovak.” Ha. Here we go!
The coach and nearly all the girls don’t seem to speak much English. One very sweet girl took V under her wing and helped to translate as much as possible.
I was overwhelmed with pride today. V is still just learning the game of volleyball. Today she walked into a gym full of very talented teen volleyball players and made it through a practice with nearly no English spoken. I think at her age, I might have run off the court crying. Instead, I almost cried because of how proud I was of her sticking it out. At the end, the coach asked if we were coming back tomorrow and with a smile, V declared that we would be returning!
John took the boys to the prescribed gym and attempted some conversation with the basketball coaches who eventually got the message across that he should return tomorrow with the boys. That story is to be continued….
After a day of intense Slovak, we offered ice cream to the kids. They were overjoyed. We met up at a mall 1/3 of a mile from our apartment. The great, and also difficult, thing about malls here is that you can shop for things AND groceries. Which leads to bags looking like this…
That 1/3 of a mile walk home with groceries and other volleyball essentials felt really long today.
As we round out this day, I am proud of our kids. They are taking on very hard experiences and surviving the struggles. I think we are seeing growth. ❤️