After our rather fabulous holiday sure to Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Kris and I returned to work today,unaware of the curveballs that would be thrown at us from both within the school environment and from outside of it. Had we known, we probably would have stayed in bed, or blankets and perpetual closeness to reach other shielding us from the frustration that we would encounter today.
The first figurative knife in the back was the school’s policy for recouping the educational ground that was lost due to MERS. We were calmly informed that there would be two makeup days on Saturdays to allow both the kindergarten and elementary students to catch up to where they theoretically should be in the curriculum. While this made sense for elementary students, where there are books that they need to progress through during the year, the fact that there was also kindergarten catchup was a tad baffling. Expecting 3-5 year-olds to come in on a Saturday and work seemed like child cruelty. But the worst part about the sessions was still to come.
Kristen and I braced ourselves when we were informed as to when exactly the seasons would take place. Kristen’s mother is on a flight to Korea as I write this message, and we hoped against all the odds that the sessions would both take place after she had returned to South Africa. This was not the case. One of our four free days to spend with her is now to have a mundane several hours at work right in the middle of it. We were both immensely disappointed.
Soon after we received this news, we were informed by the Japanese consulate that we were missing necessary documents on our visa applications. This notification comes eleven days after we had sent an email to them asking whether any more documents were necessary. We were practically livid at the inefficient bureaucracy. The day was most certainly covered by a dark cloud of anxiety and annoyance.
But it was not without a silver lining or two. Some of the students’ parents were still reluctant to send their children to school or if fear of MERS, so our classes were a little easier than normal. Kristen had no kindergarten classes today, as all of her students were missing. Only one of the Saturdays with Kristen’s mom will be taken up by school, and even then only partially, as it director informed us that Kristen’s kindergarten class is unlikely to sign up for the Saturday revision sessions, so Kristen will have more time to spend with her mom. Most importantly, however, we are in a bus to pick her up as I write this, every word bringing us closer together. And that is a heartwarming thought.
While we may be messed around by various forces in the near future, we will do so whilst being smothered with love and the small treats from home we have been missing these past months. It’s easier to jump through meaningless hoops while scoffing good chocolate, drinking good tea, and sharing your life with someone close to you soon you haven’t seen in far too long.