You would think that living in Moscow, a name that conjures up images of piles of snow, we would have experienced that thing that all kids dream of: a snow day. However, as logic would have it, places that are constantly dealing with the white stuff, well, they learn to deal with it. Such was the case in Moscow where the only chance of missing school due to the weather was if temperatures plunged so low that one’s nostrils started to freeze together and heaters stopped working. Unfortunately (for the kids), while there were numerous opportunities for our nostrils to freeze together, the school heaters were always up to the task of deflecting the frigid temps.
Bottom line: no snow days for our kids.
At least not until Istanbul. After just 12 short days here, wa-la! A snow day! Granted, the kids’ enthusiasm diminished slightly when they learned that school was not really cancelled, just moved. Thanks to technology, kids receive assignments from teachers and work at home, the obvious upside being – one that the kids don’t appreciate yet but will come summer – that they don’t have to make up snow days at the end of the school year.
The text message came last night with the good news. Then the phone call from the 9th grade emergency phone tree. Then the email and texts from concerned acquaintances aware of our status as ignorant newcomers. Then the call in the morning from the 7th grade phone tree who had apparently been trying to call the reception of our apartment building to no avail.
(The person answering the phone either chose not to deal with the English-speaking caller or had not been informed that their telephone number was on the hotel’s letterhead, because they kept hanging up on the caller.)
Once we got through the phone tree list, the next task at hand was to manage the technology side of the day. Being new, we are still working out the kinks of account set-ups, email access, etc. The kids didn’t have access to their homework accounts, and, being the laid-back parent who allows their kids to manage their own school issues, I had hit the “send” button on panicked emails to half the school’s staff directory asking for homework assignments before I could even see the bottom of my first cup of coffee.
(In retrospect, such early pre-caffeine missives may not have been my best introduction to the teachers. On the other hand, I am sure they are not new to newcomers and the fear-driven overzealousness that often accompanies the acclimation process. I hope.)
After about 50 emails to and fro, all got sorted. The kids have been working diligently all day. The dog is in heaven having her boys at home with her. The school day is almost over and most assignments completed, or close to. Despite getting off to a shaky start, the day has turned out pretty well.
And while I am pretty sure we flunked the first test of the 7th grade phone tree emergency procedure, I think we are well-prepared for the next snow day.
Which I hope won’t be for a long while.