So this is the day, the day when our kids take the first step towards learning english. It's scary enough for us parents to leave our kids alone in a classroom where there is no one that understands them, and I can't even imagine how it must have felt for our kids!
But first let me tell you about our preparations.
Starting school in a Miami was a whole lot more work compared to starting school back home. Much of it is of course due to the fact that we need to get the kids in to a new "government" system, which we don't need to back home because they have been slowly emerged in to the system since the day they were borne. First of, we needed a physical examination of the kids plus all the vaccines they needed (even if they have all the shots needed it has to be put in to the computer system), and it needed to be done this week! I thought that this would be an easy thing, and I was half right!
The procedure was easy, finding the "right" hospital was not. There was no answer when calling phone number we got from the school for booking vaccinations for the kids. So I called the state hospital to try and get some help, but the answer I got from them was to just keep on trying the first number I got. After 50 attempts over 3 h with no answer I gave up! Luckily we had just got enrolled to a health insurance plan via Evas job so I figured that if I could only get hold of a hospital connected to that insurance plan then they should be able to help us. We had all the papers from people first, sweet this should be a piece of cake! 2 h later I realized that It's not!
As it turned out peoples first is not a provider of the actual insurances, which wasn't really clear for an outsider. Our insurance was through Florida Blue, but I hadn't yet got any numbers from them so I couldn't log in to there page to find what hospitals that are connected to the insurance. Gaaaaa!!!
Instead I had to navigate automated help desks like a ninja to finally get to an actual human being that could help me find a hospital! Great I have a hospital to call! Wohooo!
We were able to booked a time for the kids the same week. Sweet! Once at the hospital everything went really smooth. We had all the journals from Sweden with all the vaccines the kid have. The physical was no problem but when we found out that My needed 2 vaccine shots and Petter 3, the kids started to get a little anxious. The nurse was however great and fast so it was all over before the kids really knew what happened. 2 h after we arrived to the hospital we were done!
We now had all the documents needed so the next day after the vaccination we were hanging on the door to school to enroll. The documents needed was,
- Mys complete school history, since shes the only one who's been in school
- Passports for the whole family
- One electrical bill to the address in the Hammocks
- The lease for the apartment
- The physical exam from the doctor
- The vaccination papers from the doctor
- The 6 documents/kid we got from the school to fill in!
Since we had all the documents the enrollment went pretty fast! My was to start the third grade, she was simply put with kids her own age. Petter was put in Kindergarten despite that in the American system, age vise, he should have been in first grade. This was due to the fact that we had no documents that he had past kindergarten (which he hadn't) and since kindergarten is mandatory to pass in Miami he was put there. It was no big deal for us, or him, since it will probably be the best place for him to learn English anyway.
So we're done, can the kids start school now! Well yes, you just have to open your wallet first!
Oliver Hoover has, like many other schools in America, a school uniform. They have to wear a school polo on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. A school t-shirt on Wednesday and a yellow school t-shirt on field trips, and then there was a bunch of regulations on the pants, shorts and skirts to be worn. We ended up with 3 polos/kid, 2 t-shirts/kid and 4 bottoms/kid. So are we done? NO!
Now it was time for the school supplies, all the disposable material each kid needs for the whole year in Miami they have to buy and bring them self. And that was no short list! And then there was a list for donations to each school!
Before we knew it we had spent $400 on school material! There wasn't any use whining about it since we didn't really have an option if we wanted to put the kids in school, but I must say that it was an bigger expense than we had anticipated!
Finally we where ready for school and the kids had their first day today! They both took it really well even though they didn't like being left alone in a classroom with no one whom could understand them. It's going to be a tough first week with a lot of tears and hard work for the kids. All me and Eva can do now is to give them all the love and support we can so that they have the energy and curragh needed to get through this and also start enjoying it!