Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Beginnings

Today was an important day for Maya. Yesterday, Eric had received a phonecall from her teacher, who was interested in meeting her. We had planned a visit to the school anyway, to sign papers, pay our bill, talk to the doctor and sign up for her eating plan. Buying her uniform was also on the agenda, but we ran out of time, so that is a task for another day.

I was up most of the night going through the pros and cons of the apartment, and decided early in the morning that we would take the one that Eric and Maya are so keen on. Part of the decision was motivated by the school, Colegio Alberto Einstein, urging us to provide them with an address so they can set up their transportation plan. Not having an address is very inconvenient for them. So I told Eric on his way to Catolica this morning to call the landlord and communicate our wish to move in as soon as it is cleaned up. I was surprised to hear from Eric that the landlord did not want to rent it for only ten months!!! They were quite adamant. It made no sense to me, although perhaps the reasoning is that it takes some time and effort to arrange for the clean up and that they would have to prepare it for the next renters in only ten months. However, it had been empty for five months, and presumably having it occupied is advantageous economically. I am told this is simply 'Ecuadorian', by more than one native friend. Of course, both Eric and Maya were horribly disappointed; they both had their hearts set on this particular apartment. I agree that it is the best deal we have encountered.

So it is back to looking for a place to live. But for today, we visited Einstein and were able to accomplish much. Unfortunately many of the necessary papers were missing from Maya's file although Eric had fedexed them in June, and had received an email from an administrator at the school that the papers had arrived. Eric went online to find the tracking number and the person who signed for the package, and was able to prove that the papers were sent and received, but they were not to be found! I am reassured that all will be found, this is 'simply Ecuadorian'.

We visited the school doctor, who asked countless questions (in Spanish) in her effort to take a complete medical history. Maya will be medically insured by the school 24 hours a day, both when at school and when not at school. We met Maya's homeroom teacher, who is a young woman from New Hampshire. She was at Catolica for a student exchange experience six years ago, fell in love with Ecuador and has not left (not an uncommon story). She was warm and welcoming and gave us a tour of the classroom and the schoolyard and the library, and introduced us to her other teachers. Maya will spend two hours a day with her homeroom teacher for English instruction, and the rest of the day with her Spanish speaking teacher. Maya seemed shy and quiet during the visit and remained worried all day. Her first questions for me this morning were about school and whether she will be liked by the other children. I reassured her, but I am not sure I convinced her.

I have always made Maya's lunch and have rarely agreed to have Maya buy lunch daily. But most of the children eat the lunch provided by the school, so in an effort to help her feel less different, she will be eating what her classmates are eating. However she may not like the food anyway ( she has not always appreciated the local fare).

I felt the visit was very encouraging, but Maya was out of sorts all day. She had her nose buried in Harry Potter at every opportunity, and when not reading appeared to be near tears. There was no time to buy uniforms after our visit to the school. We rushed to Maya's ballet class where she performed for parents and other potential dancers. It was wonderful to watch her move; it is amazing to see what her body can do! Maya is quite determined to continue with her Cuban teacher, and has been asked to dance daily in the 'advanced pre professional program', so I am trying to figure out how to make this happen for Maya when she starts regular school at Einstein.

Maya remains nervous about starting in a new school and not speaking Spanish ( although everyone reassures her that she will be speaking in no time). School begins on September 7 and continues to mid or late June. With ballet ending today and her swimming classes over on Friday, I hope we find and decide on an apartment as soon as possible so we can take a little trip before school begins, to Banos or Mindo or Otavalo or any of the other wonderful places nearby.

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