Back to School in Basel

We’ve been here only a week now and the boys’ school starts tomorrow.  We got them registered while we were in the US and started the school shopping by pre-ordering some items at the online school store.  I am thanking my lucky stars I did this. It was so easy to walk into the store, give the clerk our last name, and walk out of there with almost everything we needed.

We started buying them shoes while we were visiting Minnesota.  Two new pairs for E and a new pair for H. We should have just gone whole hog and bought them all to save me the stress of remembering the European sizes and having to negotiate about styles and sizes in German.  Thankfully, I found a Nike store here and the attendant actually spoke English. I could also peak inside the boys current shoes and read off the European sizes.

It took about 45 minutes, but we got three pairs of gym shoes bought. E wanted me to buy him yet another soccer ball and soccer shoes and a soccer jersey, but I told him we would be back when we needed them. Good to know he’s got them all picked out, though.  ( I think we might get him a Swiss soccer jersey for his birthday…. shhhhhhhh! )

And then we needed a pencil case, 100 portfolio sleeves, and a magic marker to label everything that we’d just bought.  (On top of the binders, folders, dictionaries, glue, markers, colored pencils, crayons, backpacks, gym uniforms, shoes, and etc we already bought.)  We’re going to need our own tram car to haul all this stuff to school tomorrow.


Mark and I will both be taking them.  Their school is huge with about 1400 students. We went on Monday for their orientation. They left a good first impression.

Number 1 – They had some exquisite French pastries for us to eat and wonderful coffee and tea for us to drink.  People, you are speaking my language.

Number 2 – The after school music program said they will bring in a guitar teacher for E and a piano teacher for H. Score!

Number 3 – The after school sports program has soccer and floor hockey, among other things. E is very excited.

Number 4 – Both the boys’ teachers seem really nice and warm. H got to meet his teacher and wander around his room until he felt comfortable.  E got to meet his teacher and two other new students and I think is feeling sort of okay about tomorrow.

Number 5 – There are 3 different gymnasiums. Two of them have a rock climbing wall.  There is also a huge playing field and a deluxe playground next to an outdoor lounging area. They are speaking E’s language now.

I am hopeful about this learning environment. It could not be more different from what they have experienced in the past.  But I think the nurturing and warmth is there. And there are a lot of opportunities for extras that they won’t have at a small Montessori school.  This will be a huge part of our Swiss Family Carlson Experiment.  Who knows? They may not want to come back at all!

(Fingers crossed.)

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