Feb 272011

My mother has some close German friends that she met back when they were college exchange students living in America.  Since their time here they have married, started careers and now have two young sons. My mom and her hubby refer to them just as “the kids”, which should reveal their esteem in the family!  In their status as adopted, extended family, “the kids” have very kindly taken it upon themselves to help us by providing information and insight into their native country.  Thus the German Franz family is helping the American Paris family.  For some reason, this little linguistic harmony pleases me!

Hard for the brain not to go here!

One of the things I asked Frau Franz about was their schooling system.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we are very curious how the German system, which splits kids off into Trade-bound vs. College-bound at an extremely early age, would deal with 2 college-bound non-German speakers.  Our friend wasn’t sure, but said she would look into it.  A week or so passed without word, and I figured she had gotten busy.  But, upon our return from Morro Bay, I discovered an email in my mailbox.  Frau Franz had found a co-worker who had a contact who was not only an “officer” at the Kehl secondary school, but who was also their English teacher.  What a perfect person to answer our questions!  Her name?  (and I kid you not) Frau “Frankenstein“!   Oh.  My.

Our friend’s co-worker had solicitously set up a phone meeting with Frau Frankenstein for 12 noon on Saturday afternoon- German time.   Unfortunately, it turns out that that is 3AM Saturday morning our time.  After driving all day in the rain, I was really in no shape to stay up until 3 to speak coherently with anyone- let alone an official at our children’s possible school.  Luckily, we had also been given her email.  So, the following morning I composed a letter apologizing for missing our scheduled phone-date and asking a few general questions about what we might expect were we to enroll the kids in the local school.

The school’s name, by the way- Einstein.  Those of you who are both aware of Albert Einstein’s checkered educational history, and the difficulties that our children have had in the American public schools may be able to read a bit of irony into that association.  I certainly did.

Now, along with contact information for Frau Frankenstein, Frau Franz’s letter also included a couple of web links. One was for the Einstein School– the other for the International School in Strasbourg.  Currently, it would seem that these are our two main contenders for the kids’ education once we are in Germany.

First I clicked on the Einstein School link.

The actual image from the web page

Up popped a friendly, but jam-packed Middle/High school web page.  To the left, “Von A bis Z”- an alphabetized list of links to school-related information.  In the middle, two columns of school news and “This and That” (Deis und Das) and finally a long row of student photos “From the School of Life”.  There seem to be a number of links to environmental and social causes- one, in fact, with a white tiger on it (DD considers tigers to be a bit of a personal emblem).  But, smack in the middle of the page is a single message in English, standing out from the rest- “Time Out With Jesus”. Needless to say, this caught my eye!

The words linked to a 2-page Acrobat flyer with an image of someone taking a tandem sky-dive and the phrase “That’s Me!” (in English, again) scrawled across the bottom.  The rest of the text was in German and it took me a while to figure out what it all meant.  The first two paragraphs were about how your life can feel like a free-fall if you don’t have Jesus in it.  Then it explained that this is why we should all take time in our school day to reflect about Jesus and his message.  From a strictly American “separation of church and state” perspective I was starting to get a little concerned.  But, I shrugged it off as a “difference of culture” sort of thing and didn’t really worry too much about it.  DH, however, was more concerned.  So, I pressed on and translated the second page.

“Come by.  Check it out.  Cordial Invitation.  Until then.  See you there.”  With a smiley and directions to meet with in room 108 at 1pm for “singing, exchange ideas, ask questions, discover together the God of the Bible”.

AH!  It is a student club!  Ok, that sits much better with our American sensibilities.  I still have no idea why the student religious leader chose to name his club in English.  But, it was eye-catching, so: Well Done Student Spiritual Leader.

Next Up- Navigating French Bureaucracy on our way to a potential International Education.

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