05 June 2009

So, this week has kinda sucked. It appears I have yet to master the art of Irish communication. At the end of the week I wonder, is there a grand conspiracy at work or am I just missing something...?

To start, this week the boy's school celebrated International Day. Two weeks ago we got a letter home about it, encouraging us to teach him a song or story from his homeland. The letter said there would be more communication coming forthwith about the whos and whats and a concert that we would be invited to. Cut to the actual day of the event, when we realized we never received anything else about the day. And trying to pry information out of a distracted 6-year-old never works in your favour. So, we dressed him up in his Royals jersey, gave him a quick refresher course in the Rock Chalk Jayhawk and sent him to school with a "My First KU Words" book to show his teacher. And I went about my day...

Cut to 1.45pm, when the boy arrives home from school asking, "Mom, why didn't you come to my concert?" Turns out there was an all-school assembly where the international students from each class performed their bits. "Were there other parents there?" "Yes, Mom." "Did you do anything special?" "I said the Rock Chalk and my teacher read my KU book." At this point I'm near tears. "I'm so sorry! Were you sad I wasn't there?" "No, but I missed you." Commence breakdown. My first clue that I may be missing something or may just be brain-dead. Or at least a cold-hearted sham of a mother.

Item #2. Last night we have a 6.40pm appointment with an immigration officer at the police station to renew our yearly visa to stay in country. This was actually our 2nd effort at doing this, as we originally went to the wrong precinct in the wrong county (even after being told by the officer that it would be fine, but that's another story...). Anyway, so we arrive at about 6.42, give our names and appointment time, and wait... and wait... and wait... till about 40 minutes later when the same officer who took our information informs us that the immigration officer has left the building. "Where you late?" she asks. "A couple of minutes." "Well he left for a meeting at 10 till 7." "We were here then." "Oh. Well, can you come back at 10?" As we had child minders back with the kids, the answer was no. We scheduled yet another appointment (our 3rd) for Sunday morning, and I'm thinking that now perhaps maybe God is trying to teach me something, or at least give me a cultural lesson I won't soon forget.

Finally, this morning. Boy dressed, ready for school, homework in bag, heads next door for his lift to school. 30 seconds later he comes back, "No school today." We had a sneaking suspicion this might in fact be the case, seeing as it's election Friday and the school is a polling place. But having not heard a peep from the school or hearing much from other parents, assumed normal activities would take place. "No, go back, there's school today. Your teacher didn't send a note home, so everything's the same today." Another 30 seconds, "There is no school today! Why won't you listen to me? It's voting day!" At this point I realize we've missed the most important cue of all: listening to our child. I head back over to the neighbour's and discover she got a text from school last week informing her of the cancellation. We received no such text. No letter home, no info on the website, no one answering the phone. No school. Our gut instincts were right, but not receiving official written confirmation (usually the final word in the States) figured we were wrong. 

Lesson to be learned? Well, I feel like not only have I failed the communication test, but I'm a bad mother for not taking my child seriously and not being there for him when he needed me. A bad neighbour for not seeking out friends to share valuable information with, as opposed to relying solely on the school. A bad cross-cultural worker for not catching those missed cultural cues, whatever they were... still searching for them, actually. And a bad Christian, for getting so impatient and unnerved and annoyed at these things that I thought I could control, but really can't. Clearly there is a lesson to be learned here... multiple lessons. Maybe that's what year 2 is for: to fix all the things you messed up on in year 1.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, dear! That sounds very frustrating! I think I'd be feeling kinda down about that, too...hang in there! And interestingly, that sounds a lot like how things are done here in Latin America...I don't think I would have expected that.