It's been an exciting and very busy week for us.
Monday Chris and Michael started school at ASIJ - the American School in Japan. The whole family rode the bus to the school for a day of orientation for the parents and first day of school for the boys. And no, it's not a big yellow school bus, but a pretty comfortable touring bus. The bus ride is about 40-45 minutes from our neighborhood, so it's a good thing that it's comfy. However, I think it is just as loud as a big yellow school bus!
The orientation was very informative and interesting, and helped us get a good idea of student and parent expectations at the school. We met families in the same postion as we are, with a mid year move and kids in both the Chofu school where Chris and Michael are, and kids at the ELC (Early Learning Center) which is in the middle of Tokyo in Roppongi Hills. One family in particular, the Engerts, had their younger son with them - just as we did - and the 2 younger boys played very nicely together while the parents had the orientation. And how terrific for the 2 younger boys to find that they are in the same class at the ELC.
Nick had his first day of real work, and spent the day Tuesday out doing that. I had my first solo trip to the grocery store! And my first solo subway ride, ATM visit.
Chris and Michael had their first Japanese lessons at school. Chris learned to write his name in kata kana, and Michael is learning the parts of the body.
Sam learned his first word in Japanese, too! Our first week we had trips to the grocery store and to restaurants to eat. When you go into a restaurant, you are warmly welcomed by the restaurant workers - irashaimase! Meaning, come on in!
We are sitting at McDonalds (yes, I know, but the kids had been stretched as far as they could at that point) and I hear Sam muttering something under his breath. "What is he saying?" I asked Nick, "Can you hear him?" Sure enough, Sam is saying, over and over, "Irashaimase! Irashaimase! Irashaimase!"
Sam also had his first day of school this week. Since Nick was out of town working on Tuesday, we waited until Wednesday to take Sam. I was not brave enough to do it on my own on Tuesday. It's a longer school day for Sam - from around 8:30 to 2:25pm. He is adjusting well - no tears or temper, and his new teachers, Mary and Maki said he did not have any trouble transitioning. But he is tired at the end of the day - I wish he would rest when we come home.
And finally, I got lost for the first time. Our journey to Sam's school is on the subway. We go four stops, then get off and walk the rest of the way. After a successful trip on Thursday (just me and Sam!), I goofed on Friday. We got off the train at the correct stop, but I could not remember what exit we take to leave the station. And with some stations, choosing the wrong exit can ruin your morning. Well, I chose wrong, and we had a REALLY long walk to school. Sam was a trooper though, and did a great job. After checking my handy city atlas, and a quick phone call to Nick, I figured out where we were.
I told Sam later that day that I was sorry I had gotten us lost. He said, "We weren't lost, Mommy, it was just a long cut!" I guess he was right.