note: This post was written on Monday, August 18, but I was having problems with blogger. Finally got around to trying again . . . look for the update at the end!
Has it really been more than a week since I posted? My, how the time does fly!
Well, we're home again after our trip to Hong Kong. It was a very happy moment last Thursday morning when we received back our passports with that long-awaited mark in them, allowing us to enter this country again. John surely did lots of paperwork to make that happen!! We had planned to return home on Friday, and we are thankful that our plan worked out. We took the same route back (a taxi to a train to a taxi to a plane to another taxi) and arrived home about 7:30pm. It was a long day of travel but everyone did very well; John managed all the luggage while I managed the children.
And what a lovely feeling to be home again. My helper, Lou, had readied everything for our arrival and so supper was prepared and in the frig, there were fresh muffins, rice pudding, and some cut-up fruit awaiting us for breakfast the next morning, and the house was cool and clean. What a blessing! We were able to unpack almost everything on Friday night and feel settled really quickly again.
It's a good thing, too! Lots of changes are coming with this new week. We have been talking for some while about enrolling Clara Anne in a "kindergarten" (basically glorified daycare) this fall in order to encourage her learning of local language, helping her to acculturate, and helping her to make new friends. There is a kindergarten like this right here in our apartment complex, so today Lou and I, our neighbor (whose son has been going there for 3 years), and Clara Anne and Chloe all went to have a look at the facility and perhaps talk with the teachers.
I was impressed right away with the cleanliness of the facility as well as the decorations--very bright, fun, and educational. This particular kindergarten is managed by a group from the capital city and so seems to have pretty high standards for their teachers and teaching methods. We were able to talk for a bit with the principal and she understood my desire to only enroll Clara Anne in half days, three days or so a week.
All of these plans are certainly matters for prayer. We will have to pay for a year up front, but the principal assured us that if at any time we decided it wasn't the best thing for our family, then they would refund our money.
So, we're going to go for it! Tomorrow morning I will take Clara Anne to have the health check-up that she needs, and probably Wednesday or Thursday they will go for the first time. Clara Anne was very sad today when we left and she didn't get to play. She asked me repeatedly to "stay and play for a few whiles." On the way home she was already referring to it as "my" kindergarten. She seems pretty excited about it! It helps that her friends Emma and Savannah and Peter and Alex all go to kindergarten as well!
This fall is going to bring some big changes--with Clara Anne gone two or three mornings a week I'll have some good time with Chloe, but also will have to maximize my time with Clara Anne to do the things I want to keep up with her, like reading aloud, starting a chore chart with the girls, and doing the occasional craft activity. It'll be a fun challenge though! I know that Father will help us and I'm praying for a smooth transition with happy girls all around.
UPDATE! Thursday . . . we did get the health check accomplished and Clara Anne had her first day yesterday. It went very well! She was glad to go, and glad to come home when I went to pick her up. I hung around outside the door after dropping her off and talking to her teacher a bit, and saw her already holding hands with a little girl as they were lining up to get a drink of water. I think the socializing is going to be really fun for her! She was full of stories to tell me as we walked home. Even better, last night at supper we were having some Crystal Light Raspberry Ice which is red, and she started saying the word for red in Asianese, unprompted! That's a first! I'm encouraged that she did well and we'll bring her again tomorrow.