In the month that we've been here, we've survived an earthquake, a hurricane, a week without electricity and now we can add "the first day of 1st grade at a new school" to the list. But, it wasn't just the "first day of 1st grade." Ella went to her first day at a new school with no friends on a bus! Is my little girl brave or what?
Honestly, I didn't want to send her on the bus. In California, very few children have the privilege of taking the bus to school. Quite frankly, there just isn't enough money in the budget for it. That's how I grew up, and that is how it was for us in Solvang. I just always assumed that I would take her myself. However, last week we went to the school's Open House where she toured the school, saw her classroom and met the teacher. The school here REALLY encourages parents to send their children to school on the bus. I guess the school's location doesn't make it very easy for folks to drop their kids off. After the Open House, we gave Ella the option to take the bus or drive with us. Surprise, surprise...she REALLY wanted to take the bus! So, if she felt comfortable and brave enough to go to a new school (with no friends) on the bus, should I have told her No? I couldn't do it.
Of course, things didn't go exactly smoothly with the bus. It was a good 20 minutes late picking her up, which I had been forwarned that might happen during the first week. However, never in my wildest dreams did I think that the bus would be nearly 1 1/2 hours LATE bringing her home! We had a pretty good storm that afternoon which delayed the bus from taking the middle school students home, which in turn delayed the bus from picking up the elementary school children on time. Needless to say, Ella was in high drama mode by the time she got home. A combination of a long day, hunger, and someone messing up her nametag were the cause of tears and grumpy attitude as she stepped off the bus. However, Daddy saved the day with some special gifts and candy that he bought her to celebrate her first day.
When Ella finally calmed down enough to tell us about her day, it turns out that she did, in fact, enjoy it. She made a friend in her class named Bella, and she seems to like her teacher and her other classmates. I feel optimistic that she will flourish both academically and socially here. She'll grow where she's planted. I think we all will...it just might take some time to adjust.