It’s a brand new year, and we have landed back in Singapore. After 18 months living in Sydney, we are thrust back to the hustle and bustle of Singapore once again.
It’s been a hectic month – we’ve had to move from my in-laws’ place (in the West of the island) to my parents’ place (in the East of the island). We’ve had friends to meet, food to eat, family to catch up with. We’ve had chilli crabs and kaya toast, we’ve had kopi-c and teh tariks, we’ve had bak chor mee and Hokkien mee.
All in all, a very fulfilling (and FULL) month of December.
And now, it’s January. And time for a very sobering truth. SCHOOL.
Oh, I miss Australia especially in this respect – there, school only resumes mid-January, so Christmas and the New Year can be spent leisurely and enjoyed thoroughly. With the first day of school being 2 January here, it’s a flurry of activity to get the school bag packed and the uniforms ironed and the books bought and sorted out!
So proud of my little man – he breezed through Day 1, and even managed to get to know the canteen stalls well enough to enjoy a pack of keropok (crackers) for lunch!
It was a bit of a nonevent. I had friends up all night fretting, I had friends awake bright and early packing lunches, I had friends who took leave on that Friday, and hovered around their kids at recess time.
Me? I stayed up the night before trying to pack everything – then decided it was too much and only gave him the bare minimum. Oops – someone forgot to give me the memo that Primary One kids were SUPPOSED to cart ALL the books (and the kitchen sink) and the teachers would take them and store them in the lockers in the classroom. Oh really? Yup – I missed the Orientation Day briefing and no one told me anything. Nor did I bother to ask (but that’s beside the point). The morning itself, my boy was up bright and early, all excited to get to school. This excitement died off in the week after – where I had to LITERALLY drag him out of bed. And he would wriggle back into position, mumbling “I don’t want to go school.” And then I had to drag him again… and again. Oh, and the first recess? Well, I knew it was okay for parents to visit, but I decided it was too tiring, and besides, the early start to the day meant that there were two very tired parents and two sleepy siblings. And while his classmates’ parents helicopter-hovered over them at recess, Jayvon had the pleasure of knowing his family was busy… having a nap back home.
It’s been a busy busy busy time.
And I’ve had many people asking, “Are you guys back for good?” “Why is Jayvon in P1?” “What happens when you go back?” “MOE allow, meh?”
To which, let me answer – No; Because I chose to; And of course he will go back to Sydney with us; I think the choice is mine to make.
So why oh why did I choose to put him through Primary One? And by extension, me? Dragging myself out of bed at 6.30 a.m. is a surefire way of making me moody, grumpy and did I mention moody? Well, we were back in town for three months. He was enrolled in the primary school (as all to-be-7-year-olds must), and when I explained to the Ministry of Education our special circumstance of being overseas Singaporeans and yet back for the first two months of school, I asked if it was a requirement for Jayvon to be attending Primary School. To which, the reply was it was up to the school policy. Which I thought didn’t make sense. Could the school INSIST? I don’t think so – he was officially going to be on a Leave of Absense anyhow. Could the school REJECT if I wanted to? I don’t think so – how could they since he is officially an enrolled student? So I reckon… the choice lay with US. And so I decided, rather than have Jayvon laze around and play Minecraft all day long, that an experience (albeit short one) in the Singapore school system might do him some good. So has it? In many ways yes. So different from his past 18 months in a Sydney public school. A world of difference (that is a blog post in itself), but altogether a rewarding experience.
Oh, and he found a good friend in school.
Another Minecraft-loving classmate.