Friday, February 4, 2011

Operation Return Home (Stage 3)

Today was our son's interview at the school we've applied to for him. On this occasion I was very glad that I am naturally punctual & so had left plenty of time to get there. The reason being the police, who were stopping cars at a roundabout, decided in their random way, to stop my car en route to the school. This is my £450 eBay car which sits off road all year at my parents until I come back from Albania, like this week, & tax & insure it for a week.

The police told me they couldn't find my car on their system. Arghhhhhhh. Serendipitously (& bizarrely) I had my insurance certificate, car registration document, MOT certificate, driving licence & even passport with me. Eventually, after a 12 minute delay, they confirmed what I could have told them, that all was in order, & they let me go. My son told me to 'chill' as we still had 30 minutes to get there & it was only another 15 minutes drive away. Just not good for my nerves.

I felt like a fish out of water, parking my little fiesta alongside all the smart cars at the school. All the other interview candidates were in school uniforms or very smart outfits. Our son doesn't have uniform or smart clothes. No call for them in Albania. However, the registrar remembered 10 y-o from the open day & greeted him warmly by name. The headmaster was doing the rounds, sipping orange out of a carton, chatting to parents & then mopping distractedly at the spilt juice on his trousers. In fact everyone seemed very low key & normal, except the parents.

After his interview the teacher who had conducted the interview, lingered chatting about Albania. He taught 20th century European history so was fascinated by Albania.

Whilst my son went off to the loo, he said to me:

"You know I've talked to lots of great boys this last 2 days, but they all brought in a rowing medal or a cricket bat, but your son was so different and produced this fantastic 100 square quilt". H emadde it for his school's 100th day celebration (I knew his effort would be worth it one day!) He said it really had been delightful talking to him & getting to meet him.

I could have kissed him. It's such a relief when you've been living in a tiny little Balkan backwater, your son attending a little missionary school with few facilities & small classes. You think: is he really bright or is it just in the context of his small multi cultural class? What sort of competition is he up against? Will it matter he hasn't had so many extra curricular opportunities or a grade 5 in piano? Would it seem really odd amongst mini rowers, budding Beckhams, & 'rare wood' cricket bats that my son had sewed & brought in a home made quilt as his 'significant object'?

Clearly I needn't have worried. And in fact living in Albania, amongst blood feuds, money laundering, uncharted mountains, abandoned military vehicles & tunnels, not to mention power cuts, chaotic traffic & unmechanised farming only seemed to add to his appeal. What my husband had said all along in fact. I thought it would just make him seem odd & a little too different & too 'out of the UK educational loop'.

They have a very specific ethos & a certain type of boy that they're looking for. I hope our son fits the bill. I htink he would be very happy there. After all, he won't be at school with the parents......

We find out on Monday.


Iota said...

The quilt! The quilt! I remember that quilt!

Of course any American would have said "100 square? This must have been for the 100th day of school." I'm not surprised that a British teacher didn't make that connection.

Almost American said...

Keeping fingers and toes crossed for you that he gets accepted.

ReadingByLearning said...

Those random police stops cap be very irritating...especially on such an important day for your son :)

astrid said...

Hope no one finds out which Headmaster drips OJ on his trousers :)!

nappy valley girl said...

Oh good luck to him! I'll bet they LOVED him. He will have such a different perspective having lived in Albania, he'll stand out and won't just be another boy with a cricket medal. That's why it's so great to have lived abroad ;-)