Friday, September 08, 2006

First Week Home In Surabaya

On August 29th, we finally arrived at our final destination in Surabaya. The flight from Taipei to Surabaya was uneventful. Kai Kai slept since beginning till the end. La La slept at least half the trip.

We had no problem with the custom even though we carried 7 huge and full suitcases. My parents and their bestfriends plus a couple of our employees already waiting to take care of us, so all we have to do just climb up to the car and go home.

When we reached our home, pretty much our suitcases already delivered to the right room. My suitcases in my room, and the children suitcases are in their room too.

Food is still warm and plentiful even though now is already 11 o'clock at night. Our room has cups and thermos with cold and hot drink in case climbing down the stair at night is too tiring...

New sets of toothbrush, shampoo, soap, towels, night gown, pajamas, tooth pastes ( 2 for sensitive teeth for me, children toothpaste for my son, and normal one for Richard ), and even 2 different taste of Listerine for us. Even the baby shampoo, liquid soap, baby oil, baby talk are all ready in a newly renovate bathroom upstair.

My father proudly took us for a tour around the house to show what kind of home improvement he did on the house to made it ready for our home-coming. He bought me 2 stoves with ovens to play with. One made in Italy and the other made in Germany. One set of good laundry machine with the dryer for us even though obviously I would never have to spent time doing my own laundry ever again ... hallelujah!!!

New wallpapers for our room too, even new AC for both room. Kai Kai wallpaper has hundreds and hundreds of glow in the dark stars. Even though we have other room for the baby, but I insist on putting both kids in the same room next to my room upstair.

My father also built one new kitchen for me separate from my mom's kitchen that she never use. He also made me wrote on a long piece of paper with my own handwriting " Yohana's Kitchen" then he asked someone to carve it on a piece of wood so he can nail it on the entrance of my kitchen. That is my father, always doing nice little details like that for me.

So yeah.... Welcome to Indonesian's Life Style ...

Oh yeah my mom is the one in charge of the bathroom stuff that I just mention above, clothings, formula, diapers etc.

By all means my home is not a mansion. I am sorry if I made you think that way. But those little touches made by my parents really made my going home experience special.

So what have we done so far?

Well, the first week was really a crazy week. The whole week I was concentrating on finding the right school for Kai Kai. We drove from East, West, South, North of Surabaya in the quest of finding the right school. I went to inspect many many schools. We interviewed the teachers, the students, even the principals!

We agonized for a week on deciding Kai Kai's school. Our priority in choosing school is to find a school that has the highest level of moral, manner, and off course education. My mom at first suggest us to send my son to a Christian school so he can be raised as a Christian. But after a while I decide that is not always true.

From kindergarten till high school, I went to a Christian school. That didn't make me a religious person. I went to Sunday school since I was small and yet, that also didn't make me a religious person. Who made me who I am right now is my mom who tirelessly pushing me to be closer to God. So the responsibility to teach my children all about God lay on my shoulder and Richard.

I went to see a great school that offer their students Singaporean Curriculum with both English and Chinese. Sure that school is not only sounds perfect it even has all the bells and whistle like tennis courts, basketball, soccer field and swimming pool too. But when I was there, I was taken back by how the children behave when they saw my son. They jeered at him for no reason at all! At first, I was worried that if I send Kai Kai there, he won't be able to catch up with the Mandarin class lesson , so I just grab one of the student's Chinese book and gave it to Richard to see. It turn out that even though Kai Kai only went to his Chinese class once a week for 2 hours and for 2 semesters only in Richmond, he can easily catch up with these kids, which means the progress here is too slow!

When I express my concerned that my son will be left behind since he will enter the school exactly in the middle of the semester ( way too late ), the school representative told me that Kai Kai will definitely pass and I don't have to worry about his grade. Which means.... I don't think this school has high enough standard right? I never plan to send Kai Kai to an easy school to begin with.

When I told her that Kai Kai is good at geography ( he can use his teeth to shape a bread into continents and countries!Really!!! ), she misunderstood me again by telling me that they have not start to teach the children geography while Kai Kai has learned about geography since he was only 3 in Montessori!

I don't want to trash those school here, so please don't use my standard for choosing your children's school. Every person is different I think.

So at last, we made a decision to send Kai Kai to this great school. The only school that using American standard and most of the teachers are from there if not from Canada like his French's teacher who is from Ontario.

There are several points on why I choose this school. To me, books is knowledge and to my surprise, 20% of the school's area is dedicated for it's library. Out of 55,000 m2, 11,000 m2 is for the library.

Pic: Richard and Kai Kai at the school's lobby. The second floor is where the library is.

Another thing that special about this school is when I asked who is the owner of this school, is it US government? They said the owner of this school is parents like me. As soon as I registered I join the parents school board we are the one who decide to hire or fire the principal and the teachers. I will soon join the canteen committee so that I can help with planning the student's menu. I thought that I might as well use my recipe book collection to help others too. Not just for my personal use. I am quite impress with their menu so far, they are healthy and always different. Pricewise, they are okay. They also banished any unhealthy food from the school canteen such as soda. To buy food from the canteen, my son just need to bring his canteen card and I guess there is a machine that can read the barcode or something then the money that I put into his card will be deducted for every purchase that my son made.

I am also impressed that every single person who works there knows how to speak English, even the gardeners and the janitors! When I asked the PTA leader if I need to translate my recipe into Indonesian language for the chefs, she said I don't have to.

For PE ( physical education ), my son can use the gym, the basketball court indoor or outdoor, indoor volleyball courts, indoor tennis courts, soccer field/ olympic size running track (?), olympic size swimming pool with roof, and kiddie pool. On his first time to use the kiddie pool, KK refused to get out from the pool when it's time to go home ....

They have a screening room, 2 music rooms, school store, hospital, etc.

Even the playground is completely built with US made materials, all imported from the States. They have 2 playgrounds with tent on top to protect those children from the sun.

My son classroom is also nice. Basically it is a big room, then this big room is divided into 3. The 2 rooms are identical in size but the third room is very small and it is located exactly in the middle of those 2 bigger room, it connect the 2 rooms with open doors so you can pass through from one big room to another.

The first big room is for learning how to read and write. It also has it's own library corner complete with carpet and pillows for the children to sit. It has computers as well. Each kid has his or her own desk here. The wall is full with many toys that can help them to learn better. Kind of like in Montesorri before.

The small room in between the 2 big rooms are for teacher's office where she kept all of the children's record.

The other big room has several big desk for the children to use. This room also has carpet with pillows for the children to sit. The different I guess between the first room that I describe with this one, this one is more for arts and crafts, or for science projects.

Pic: walking outside his classroom on his PE uniform.

Now every night, I have to help Kai Kai do his homework. For now it takes about half an hour to an hour to finish but I hope it will get better. My son is encourage to borrow as many books from the library, so as a result, I have a stack of book that he has to read on his own!!! It takes a long time to finish one book!

Every morning, he has a morning snack together with his friends and teacher outdoor. They have several picnic tables with rooftop. So beside helping him with his homeworks, I also has to prepare his morning snack. I let him eat in the canteen for his lunch because I know their high quality fit my standard.

Pic: My son with his spiky hair style just finished with his breakfast at home. Today his school has a "crazy hair day" event.

Next, I am going to send him to Taipei International School to learn proper Chinese. I have interviewed too many schools and I decide this school is the best.

Aside from school news, I have met my bestfriend "W", we have been bestfriend since kindergarden till now! We even graduate from the University on the same day! We both have 2 kids, she has 2 little girls while I have one boy and one girl. It's so good to see her again. We kept talking over the phone even over the chat room now. We met 2 times already and she never stop sending me food and gifts for my children. Even gold jewelry set for my daughter. Even her mom send my daugther gold bracellet too.

When I still live in Canada, if I want to eat, then I better go buy it or I have to make it myself. But here, every day, I mean every single day, people always send my parents food gifts. On average 2 food shipments a day. I don't think we need to cook at all! But since we have many employees, we can always send the over supply of food to the office. Maybe I am going to documented all those food gifts someday ...hmmm...
This food gifts sure make my job easier for me when I need to prepare for my son morning snack.

Okay, so as you can see, I will keep on updating my diary blog and my food blog as often as I can off course.


eliza said...

waaaa...akhirnya sampe juga! dah kangen nih gak dengerin ocehanmu :P
jadi yg dipilih sekolah yg mana ya Yo? (dari daftarmu yg kamu email ke aku?) terus koq masuk Tapei Int'l School lagi..hanya utk belajar chinese?
gimana internet koneksi disana? aahh...aku kirim email aja deh ke kamu kebanyakan yg mau ditanya!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didnt choose the SES school (excellent teachers) or Ciputra, probably the best school in Sby!