Saturday, January 5, 2013

In Which Ellen Meets Some Folks And Gives High Fives

We had an extremely busy day yesterday!

Ellen and I got up pretty early in the morning-- around four thirty.  We're still kind of on Thai time here, and also I think she was a bit nervous because we were going to go visit her school for the first time that day.  So we spent some time looking through Leela's She Simmers blog, naming all of the food and telling each other what we liked to eat and disliked.  We made some plans to try making a few of her favorite meals together, which is pretty exciting.  The pictures were great and I now know that Ellen would like a strawberry cake for her birthday, which is coming up in little over a week.

Anyway, so after it was a decent hour and Connor was up and moving we dropped him off at school and then drove over to the junior high school where Ellen will be going.  She seemed pretty nervous when we were going inside, but thankfully the staff was very warm and she soon felt at home. 

Public schools in Thailand are very different from in the United States, so it might take her a little while to adjust.  Children in Thai schools usually learn by rote and are not encouraged to ask questions of the teacher, who is the absolute authority in the classroom.  Also the children stay in one class and the teachers rotate out, they stay with the same children the entire day and of course they're in identical school uniforms right down to the socks.  So Ellen was a little surprised to see children with blue hair walking around between classes on our school tour, and she was a bit stunned by the chaos between passing periods.  She's pretty adaptable though, so I think she'll get the hang of things quickly.

She got to pick out two electives, and she chose P.E. and choir.  So it looks like I'll be heading to a performance or two sometime in the future!  She also got the chance to meet the administration and the support staff, like her English Language Learners teacher.  She'll be officially starting school in the seventh grade on Monday.  They're assigning another student to help show her around the first day and to sit with her at lunch, so that's good.  I really hope that the students are as welcoming as the staff has been!

When we walked out the door she gave me a high five, shouted "Yeah!" and then asked if we could go buy her backpack.  So I suspect the girl is slightly ready to go to school. 

Anyway, after that we went right out and bought all her school supplies, headed to a Thai restaurant for a celebratory lunch, wandered around a pet store for a bit to kill time and then picked Connor up from school  He had a great day yesterday, by the way-- no seizures other than a couple at night.  He did refuse to acknowledge that we were coming up on the weekend as there is no school, so I guess we've got two kids in the family who are rather enthusiastic about learning.

We came home, Connor got in a quick nap and then it was off to Tacoma for Ellen's first introduction to her new swimming coach.

I'd contacted the coach of a swim team in the area shortly after we'd found out that Ellen was slightly better at swimming than we'd originally expected, and instead of enrolling her in recreational swimming we needed to be looking for something slightly more intensive.  So we went in and Ellen changed and hopped into the pool.  It's the first time I'd seen her swim, and it was really neat to see how beautifully she moves through the water.  Connor and I sat and watched while he asked her to demonstrate various strokes.  The little guy decided that the pool sounded musical, and spent the time dancing to the water, which was pretty cute.

The swim coach decided Ellen will be in the advanced group, and so she'll be swimming five nights a week beginning on Monday.  I like the coach a lot-- I think he'll push her to show her best potential but will also keep things fun.  The group is mostly typical kids, but there's another girl who competes in para events on the team too, so I think she'll feel right at home.  Her schedule is really filling up quickly!

So I got another "Yeah!" and a high five on the way out of swimming, and she declared it to be a very, very good day-- the best she's had in America so far.  She's used to a really packed schedule, so I think she'll be happy to be busy again!  And I think she's really missing being around other kids her age, so I hope she'll make some friends quickly. 

We're going to take it kind of easy today, because on Monday things will really start!



KATHRYN said...

she in the 7th grade and turning 15? is this due to the way schools are in tialand or her CP? just curious as i thought she would by in 9th grade being nearly 15. :)

Simply, Sarah said...

I love this update on how Ellen's doing! I love the enthusiasm for school and for doing her sport. :)

Julia O'C said...

Exciting things ahead for all! So happy to hear that everything is falling into place!

Kristin said...

So excited that she's enjoying things so much! Good job, Jess, on getting that swim team scoped out ahead of time!!

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