DUTCH vs CANADIAN SCHOOLS

Today is my last day of my self – imposed writers challenge. During the last 24 days I reported on all sorts of going ons from our new life on top of the rock in B.C., Canada.
With this final entry I will get back to writing in “normal” intervals. I proved to myself I can write nonstop, every day, for 25 days straight! I am disciplined enough to put something on paper before midnight strikes. Mission accomplished!

I will leave you with this fine piece of well researched literature. It will compare basic school operations in The Netherlands vs Canada.

The Netherlands
dutch-flag

At the beginning of each school year your kid gets his photo taken. Home address, phone numbers and emails of each student are collected. With the permission of the parents each kid in every class gets this list to take home. For us parents this list feels like a sigh of relief:
We know of all the other kids our children are hanging out with.
If our son has a crush on Heidi, all we need to do is pull out our info sheet, check out her picture and comment on the good taste of our son – or remain silent.
Another advantage is, if our kid “goes missing”, all we need to do is telephone the list from A to Z until we find him. All in all, this whole procedure runs like a well oiled machine, it’s organized.
The Dutch don’t have any secrets, nobody is ashamed to admit their dodgy, humble home address.
Wy? Where we lived we didn’t have dodgy.

CANADA:imagesCASM3QKJ

it’s the beginning of the year and — nothing happens.
We as parents are lucky enough to know that our kid is back with Liam (there are three of them, so which one?), his teacher is Mrs. Scott and his class is next to Joshes. ( here again, I know five Joshes by now, which one is he?). Our Elementary school at the bottom of our rock operates on the “Need to know basis”. You want to know, you need to find out by yourself!
I literally have to walk around the playground with my pen in hand and ask individual parent for their phone number. Regardless of their connection to my children or not!

If you don’t put the effort in, something like the following can happen:
I allowed Cruz to go home with his mate Liam and his mom. At 3.15pm I remembered I don’t remember Liam’s home address or his moms name- and she is the one who took Cruz home!

I called the school. Thank God the secretaries were still around to take my call. I described mom, boy and ask for their phone number! School secretary identified mother and son but refused to give me their address or phone number. Not because she doesn’t like me- it’s school policy not to give private info out!
Secretary promised to call mom in question and I had to wait to be contacted!
Word of warning: Remember your childs not whereabouts before the secretaries leave. Otherwise you can kiss your kid good-bye!:imagesCADMIM71

TRIPS:

THE NETHERLANDS:
Required volunteer drivers leave their name on a SIGN IN SHEET. All we had to do is mention the amount of seatbelts available and we were off.

CANADA:

BEFORE you even attempt to put your name down as volunteer, you need to call ICBC (the holy, Canadian wide insurance corporation) The school needs to know what kind of car you are driving, If you are the owner of that vehicle and if any claims have been filed against you!
Then each child brings home a disclaimer from school. We need to sign it, and then we are off.

Different rules for different countries – shall I tell you about the cheques we had to sign during our first full school year in B.C. Better not, this is a whole different topic altogether!

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LOVE IS IN THE AIR

It is official: Our teenage son has a girl-friend! After weeks of speculation, casual remarks about her, several visits to her house and late night text-messaging I finally – officially – met Mystery Girl!

Good Lord, our son has taste! (He probably got that from his father…) She is gorgeous! Everything about her is long: her overall size, her hair and her legs! If this isn’t enough, she seems to be very nice, polite, fun, well brought up and well mannered! It seems to be too good to be true, but pretty and nice can go hand in hand together.

Here I am, home alone with our teenage son and his girl-friend. They went up to his room – and from then onwards, silence! What are they doing? Actually, I leave this to your imagination and mine! I did what (hopefully) every mother would have done: I avoided the upstairs – in fear of being accused to spy on them! Instead of sorting through our laundry upstairs I decided to spent a delightful afternoon on YouTube, searching for the songs which would bring back vivid memories of my first kiss, slow dance and the other innocent, but still slightly naughty things I did when I was a teenager!

What was I worried about? A stolen kiss? Or that little bit more? I don’t really know!  Our teenager is fully aware of the story with the bee and the flower (i.e. reproduction). He spent his first ten years in the Dutch school system. A system were they don’t shy away from graphic illustrations when it comes to sex education and STD.  This country has the lowest pregnancy rate among teenagers in all of Europe! Need I say more?  Honestly, I am pretty sure our son knows more about any of the dating do and don’ts than I ever knew. So if it’s not the S.. I was worried about what was it?

From now on I am the mother of a teenager who has a girl-friend! This is a new step into unknown territory for me!   Am I the only one or do you agree when I say, as a parent you have constantly new territories to conquer? On the other hand, this new job-description is another opportunity to shine as an “extra-ordinary” mother (e.g. don’t spy on them).

Finally, after I relived all my first time adventures, the laundry couldn’t wait any longer.  Hesitantly I went upstairs only to realize the couple wasn’t around after all!  At that moment I figured I had to avoid our den. But, I am only human and a woman and my curiosity got the better of me. I went downstairs.

I was prepared for hot flushes and embarrassed looks! But all I could hear was rapid gun fire (good decoy) and laughter. Here they are, in front of our TV screen:  The gorgeous girl-friend was kicking my son’s ass on the Xbox!

So much for my vivid imagination! When I was a teenager we didn’t have electronic devices! We had to entertain ourselves with different objects of desire…

HALLOWEEN 2012

Today was our first TRICK or TREAT PARTY ever!

During the last 12 years in The Netherlands we had to improvise to keep this scary, sweet tradition alive-in the name of my American husband of course!

The Dutch know what Halloween is, but nobody really cares about it!  As soon as our children were old enough to appreciate the sweeter things in life we were off:  Our cars were filled to the rim with dressed up children and we drove around the neighbourhood to our pre-arranged addresses!

Not today! Let me take you on a tour around the neighbourhood and show you what our boys had to deal with: 

This one is quite harmess!

 Fall decoration in front of our house:

This is some harmless fall decoration in front of our house

Let the fun begin:

Further along the road:You will find lots of skeletons on our Ridge:

If that isn’t enough, dead people are hanging everywhere!

Actually not, this is just the spiderweb!Around the corner:

Are they real or not?