My little girl started high school today, or rather I should be more precise and say "gymnasium", because here there are four different types of high school here, with gymnasium being the one for the more academic, those more likely to go onto uni, or at least that's my understanding of the system.
The first day at high school is as big a deal as the first day at primary school here, although without the whole schultüte nonsense*.
Because we weren't due at church (!) until 10:15 we arranged to meet with friends at our favourite eiscafé at 9 for breakfast (how German are we?) I have to confess that we're at Romeo's on a regular basis and so when we turned up (8 of us in total, the 2 children are starting together, going into the same bilingual class, poor teacher) Enzo and his wife were very sweet, making sure to serve the special guests first.
Jas had dressed specially for her first day, white cropped trousers and her green German football team goalie shirt, it could have been more pointed, afterall she does have an England shirt and a couple of Liverpool ones too! But I think most of the children had dressed with thought, there was one little boy who looked as though he'd come straight out of an American clothing catalogue, hair parted and smooth, chinos and shirt, I bet he had deck shoes on too or loafers but I couldn't see his feet so I can't comment - I could imagine he was dressed by his mother. Another girl had on a long vest top (over another t-shirt) with a sparkly union jack on it, I'd have put money pn her going into the pure bilingual class, but I'd have lost.
We got to church around 10 to find people milling around in the sunshine outside, fortunately we made the decision to go straight in rather than stand around making small talk, because five minutes later the church was full. 99 children each bringing two parents and maybe a couple of grandparents/godparents/hangers on = a lot of people crowded into a not huge church on a warm August morning.
The service seemed interminable, two priests (in order to keep both the catholics and the evangelists happy I guess) we had a story about Abraham, I can't remember why, I clearly got distracted and lost the plot. Then there was a whole thing about some slices of a tree trunk, there was a chunk of wood for each of the three classes, I think we were supposed to relate childhood and schooling and learning and development with a bit of dead tree...must have got distracted again - the light can be so pretty when it comes through coloured glass, don't you find? Of course we sang...well, some people sang, we even had song sheets but that didn't seem to help anyone in the congregation because everyone seemed quite happy to chat to their neighbour during the musical interval, they should have had a karaoke screen with a bouncing ball, might have made it more obvious that we were supposed to participate!
An hour in the church was followed by almost an hour in the school sports hall (hot and stuffy but at least there were seats for everyone who wanted them). There was music (but we weren't expected to join in) and more oration - head of year and head of school, and then the children were called out by their teachers, one by one, to stand on the stage before disappearing into the bowels of the school for schooling to begin.
The parents were then expected to hang about drinking coffee and chatting to their friends for the 45 - 60 minutes of schooling that took place before the children emerged, blinking into the bright sunshine.
We learned from Jasmine that her teacher got married over the holidays, there are twins in her class that are almost identical but not quite, the classroom was horribly warm, there's a girl in her class who she hates and tomorrow they are spending the day running around the school...and she only has one 'full' day of school compared to Ben's two.
A successful day I think!
* it's not really nonsense, it's a lovely part of a special day for the child and it's very funny to watch all the dads having to carry these great big cones down the street to and from school.