Manila is a big, hot, noisy, dirty city. And we love it. We love shopping. We love relaxing. We love eating Subway sandwiches. So being ‘stuck’ in Manila for 10 days for more of Neo’s paperwork was absolutely wonderful.
The kids hanging out on the playground.
School, unfortunately, comes with us when we go to Manila. Even Neo-boy fit in some study time.
Manila means lots of soda, snacks, and one-on-one time with Mom and Dad.
In this country, the lower grades (kindergarten and first grade) are given ‘Most’ awards at the end of each school year. And I, as a mother who is experiencing the Filipino school system for the first time, deserve ‘Most Ignorant’. Seriously, having Neo in preschool this year has been an excellent way for me to flaunt my ignorance about how they do school in this country.
The kids just had their closing ceremonies today, and I made it through without looking too dumb, but that’s only because I got all that out of my system last week. Last Monday was the meeting for the parents to let them know all the details for the closing ceremony.
First, the teacher listed off what award each kid was to receive. Neo was to get ‘Most Neat’. Well, I’ve seen the way he writes, and believe me, it is not deserving of an award. So, I said to my friend sitting beside me, ‘He has horrible handwriting!’ She said, ‘Ate (older sister), that means neat as in CLEAN, he’s always clean when he comes to school!’ Oh.
But the worst was when they announced the kid who was to receive ‘Most Active’. I was appalled. I was looking around to see that poor mother whose kid is the class wild-child. But, to my surprise, she seemed perfectly happy. I thought, ‘I would want the earth to swallow me if my kid was getting an award for hyper-activity!’
So, at coffee time, I asked the ladies, ‘How do you understand the word ‘active’?’ They said, ‘Oh, that means that the student quickly answers questions and obeys right away when told to do something!’ Oh.
What almost made me laugh out loud, though, was the issue with the chickens.
First, the teachers said, ‘The moms have all complained about how much each one is supposed to contribute for the closing ceremonies, so only the moms of the children receiving honors will have to contribute.’ I was like, ‘What?!’ But, my friend assured me that that is perfectly acceptable and normal. So, the chicken discussion ensued.
Turns out, the whole gang shows up for the preschool ceremony. It’s held in the village square. The captain comes. All the village officials come. It’s a big deal. And it’s the parents job to feed all these important guests. So, these ‘parents of honor-rolls students’ divided into groups to discuss how to pay for the chickens. I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult. Just divide how much the chicken costs by how many parents there are. Simple. Except, I didn’t realize that they are also responsible for COOKING it!! Oh.
So, today was the big day. The closing ceremonies. It was noisy, it was hot, it was crowded, it was FUN. The kids sang and danced. They got their awards pinned on their shirts. They shook hands with the captain. And each of us parents swelled with pride when our little guy or girl received their awards!
And thankfully, no one gave me ‘Most Ignorant’.
On our way to the village square.
Aiza is really the one who deserves a medal. She takes Neo to school everyday! Mr. Most Neat and Best in Memory, and one proud Mommy.