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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Some Kind of Education

Sarabelle got off the bus last week and asked if her face was red. No, I replied, wondering what had happened and waiting for her explanation. “Good. Then I kept my cool.”

A boy on the bus had been asking a lot of questions about where we live and where her younger sisters attend school. I assured her that he was probably not a psychopathic stalker and was merely curious since we are the new kids on the block, Americans, and everyone knows who we are anyway so being evasive is basically pointless. Then he asked her if she knew what a bone is.

“What did you say, hon?”

“I ignored him.”


“Then he called me a stupid bitch.”

“Well, you know, if it ever happens again, although I would prefer you not reduce yourself to his level, you have my permission to flip him off and ask him if he knows what that is.”

Relaying that story to my mother, a big supporter for attending an educational facility, she suggested she knew how I felt, how my heart must have broken for her. Wrong. I was infuriated. At myself. For allowing myself to be influenced by Immigration Lady, who suggested we would be more seriously considered for Returning Resident Visas, the authorization to leave the country and be allowed to re-enter, if we could show a long term commitment to the country by including report cards for the children among other “proofs.” According to Immigration Lady, we are likely to be here for the full two years with only a slim possibility of attaining maximum three-month Returning Resident Visas, but after two years we become naturalized citizens anyway, so we can essentially do whatever we want in the meantime, “proofs” or no “proofs.”

My sweet innocent is also appalled by the lack of respect given the teachers by the students, the general low interest in academics, the vulgar language, and nearly non-existent discipline in her school. But she made herself a wooden top in manual arts, volunteered to be a guide for the visiting Japanese students, is perfecting shading and sculpting in art, is looking forward to choosing fabrics for her home economics sewing project, and is generally enjoying herself, so we shall sally forth.

For now.

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