Day 12 11:55PM

What a day it has been! My daughter had her entrance ceremony for elementary school this morning. All the parents were dressed to the nines. The mothers were especially dolled up in pearls and formal attire wearing delicate silk corsages various shades of pink, cream, and gold. A few of them were in kimono. The children were also in what Americans would call their Sunday best. My daughter wore a black and white dress with a little jacket that had a small corsage on it with pink ribbons and white beads.

It was quite the occasion, with the sixth graders in regular street clothes directing the new first graders and their parents to the right places. This experience was totally new to me and my husband as we do not have elaborate ceremonies for entering elementary school in the States. It was nice to see my daughter with her new classmates, some of whom had been her friends at her kindergarten, which is next door to the elementary school.

I liked the ceremony because it felt like the school was welcoming the new first graders. The principal, a sweet, soft spoken elderly woman, gave the new first graders three “presents.” They were the gift of friendship; the gift of being able to understand their teachers, and the gift of  getting along with their seniors, or  senpai, in Japanese; there really isn’t an English equivalent I don’t think. The teachers greeted their students with a simple phrase of encouragement, and the members of the PTA addressed the students as well. One of the sixth graders also addressed the incoming first graders welcoming them to the school and telling them to feel free to ask their senpai for help if they were lost or needed anything.

As I sat in the audience among the other parents, I couldn’t help feeling grateful for the people at my daughter’s new school. I felt as if she would be safe and loved in this place. Everyone was so kind and generous. I couldn’t help feeling a little emotional at the thought of my little girl growing up and entering first grade. I hoped she would be accepted and that she would flourish in this new school. Based on the entrance ceremony, I am confident she will be in good hands.

The ceremony was short and sweet at just under half an hour. We were able to take pictures of our daughter with her new classmates, and accompany her back to her new classroom. Her teacher seemed compassionate and matronly. She related well with the students, and I was grateful that she was my daughter’s teacher. Just like the ceremony, the meeting with the teacher was very brief. I had to go to work, so I couldn’t stay for the rest of the events. I said good bye to my husband and my baby and rushed down the hill to the train station.

My first day back was  a bit a whirl wind. I had a full afternoon of classes, and had arrived about 45 minutes before my first class, which gave me just enough time to make copies. I was on my feet for three 90 minute classes back to back from 1:00 to 6:20. I loved every minute of it! It was wonderful to be back in the classroom getting to know students and practicing my craft after nearly a year off. I can’t wait to become better acquainted with each of my students and to watch them blossom over our 15-week course. Each class brings with it new and intriguing experiences, as each of my students has a different perspective. I love hear what they have to say, and discovering new ways to look at familiar situations.

Everything is going well although my attempt at shadow work was a bust. I’m okay with that. I gave it a go for about an hour, but to no avail. I’m hoping tomorrow morning will yield better results.

‘Till next time, I wish you all the very best.



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