Monday, June 25, 2012

So long, farewell

Auf wiedersehen, goodbye.

That's what the Abschlussfest is all about. Saying goodbye to those the children have spent four years with as they move on to high school. And just as starting a new school is taken seriously here (it is Germany you know) with church services and the whole extended family (including aunts, uncles, god parents and second cousins once removed and maybe the little old lady who lives in a shoe) in attendance, so is the ending of school.

Saturday was Jasmine's goodbye to Schmachtenbergschule and what a long, drawn out, but also fun goodbye it was too.

The planning started months and months ago when the date was agreed and written into everyone's diary (and in the case of Simon (who has missed the last couple of years, the slacker) tattooed on his forehead) then we (year 4 moms) had to think up the entertainment. No German party is complete without planned and carefully scheduled entertainment, they are incapable of spontaneous, unplanned fun, otherwise you will be accused of being disorganised, a fatal flaw in a society wrapped in red tape. Gosia and I bumbled along happily with our disorganised organisation (helped by the fact that neither of us is German!) then we brought on board another two moms, one, R, also not German and U who is proper, proper Deutsch, down to the blonde hair, amazonian height and the intimidating confidence. They brought their ideas to the programe and then U divvied up the responsibilities for everything else (food, beer, soft drinks, table cloths, wine (me), coffee etc) and rang everyone and told them what they had to really can't beat a bossy woman!

Of course the week prior to the do was chaos, trying to get 13 little shits children to bend to your will without giving in to the urge to throttle at least half was tricky, and then there were the parents, as I mentioned last week in "Tick" but hey, it's all behind me now, and you know what? It was fun. I really felt like part of the group, I wasn't on the outside looking in as has happened the last few years, I was there in the middle of it, having a great time.

It was a damn long day though. We got there at 13:30 and spent 2 1/2 hours racing about setting everything up, tables and chairs outside, crockery and cutlery available, beamer, projection screen, skeleton transferred from the top school building to the bottom and so on. Shortly before kickoff (16:00) the other parents started to arrive and proved to be just as frustrating as their children...

- no, there were no cake forks, we'd have to eat the cake with normal sized forks.
- no, there were no more small plates, maybe people would have to eat cake off bigger plates.
- no, we didn't know where the milk or sugar was, that was the responsiblity of a year 3 parent (hopefully still to arrive).
- yes, there was only one jug of coffee* but the rule is the year 3's bring the cake and coffee, the year 4's the salad buffet and bbq and all other drinks. This caused a problem because the year 3 parents have apparently all converted to coffee machines that take pads/capsules etc. and so it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to bring along thermos jugs of coffee. The one poor benighted mother who still used ground coffee had to rush home and make as many jugs of coffee as possible, I can't understand why anyone would have so many jugs suitabe for coffee, unless you run a b&b.
- no, there were no more chairs or tables, this was what was available and this was the available space, it worked fine last year, if there's not enough space for everyone then the kids can go sit on the grass (not the answer I was supposed to give, I was clearly supposed to magic more chairs and tables and space out of thin air)

Once everything got going and people were eating cake (with big forks) and drinking white coffee with sugar all was fine, then we were onto the entertainment, a song for the teacher, a quiz for the children where they all won (although they didn't realise that at the beginning) then another song, from the year 3's to the year 4's, then the trickfilms made by the children with Gosia's help (she spent hours on those films, they were so funny, the girls' ones all detailed with well thought out storylines, the boys with much use of Star Wars lego and explosions) and finally the fashion show where the children paraded out along a red carpeted catwalk dressed to respresent the various themes the class has studied over their two years with Herr B and Herr B hmself had to compere, although he had no idea that he was going to have to do it and had no idea what was coming out from backstage next. The entertainment ended on a high (with no sad piano playing happening, thankfully, it would have totally ruined the mood) and then the men fired up the barbies and we opened the wine.

All in all a great day and thankfully the sun shone and the rain stayed away until Sunday!

* German parties begin with coffee and cake, otherwise the world will stop. Even kids birthday parties follow the same pattern, arrive-cake-entertainment-food. God forbid you try to change the format, I swear the world will cease to spin.

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