Start of a New School Year

I had 2 fun little things happen to me on the bus ride to the dentist yesterday.

The first was that I got to read a letter from one of my sisters, Valerie.  She sends the best letters and sometimes I put them aside so that I can read them in peace and quiet.  And yes, I consider riding a public bus {without Joe!} to be peaceful and quiet 🙂

I snagged a seat and pulled her letter out of my bag, eager to see what she had to say and soak up any bits of “home” that she shared.  I got a big laugh when I read that she’d been to the dentist earlier that day, and there I was, reading her letter about going to the dentist while on the way to my dentist in New Zealand.

The 2nd fun little thing happened while the bus headed up Khyber Pass toward Newmarket.  While stopped at a light near one of the boys’ schools in Auckland, I remembered that the new term had started in the last 2 days or so.  I watched in delight as little boys came tromping down the footpath in blue shorts, button-up shirts, knee socks, ties, and sweaters {as far as I know, all schools in AKL and perhaps NZ require uniforms}.  I couldn’t help but smile as they whipped off their ties as fast as they could, laughing and playfully chumming around with their friends.  One of the school teachers was obviously trying to keep an eye on things, shaking his finger and frowning at a boy who’d apparently decided that his discarded tie would make a great pretend helicopter blade.

The bus pulled up to the stop across from the school, and all of a sudden the entire atmosphere inside changed.  What had once been a bus full of university students and professionals became a bus full of 7 – 8 year old boys, eager to get home and as far from school as possible.  They were laughing, shoving each other, asking, “Where’s your stop?” so that they could sit on the inside if they got off later and on the outside if they got off sooner.  Backpacks and school things were in tow.  They looked so young but at the same time so grown up as I watched them swipe their passes or ask for a 2 stage ride, carefully counting out the required fare.

There were, of course, some stragglers.  One very young-looking boy stood outside of the bus, HOP card in hand, staring at the bus number and route on the side with a look of confusion.  I felt like lowering the window and asking him if he knew where he was going, but he must have decided that it was the right bus and marched up the steps.  The driver must have seen the look of hesitancy on his face because he cheerily asked, “Where you headed?” and then nodded when the boy gave his address.  I could imagine the boy’s parents making him memorize it – they would have been proud at how carefully he recited it to the driver.  He swiped his pass, then sank into the first seat he could find, staring out the window with wide eyes.  It was as though he were already on the lookout, determined not to miss his stop.  So cute!

The funniest part was near the end of the student influx.  The seats were nearly full, save for the one next to me and the two in front of me.  Three little boys made their way up the aisle.  You could see that they all spotted the row of 2 empty seats at almost the same time, because suddenly there was a mad dash and in the end, 1 boy was left standing in the aisle while his two friends laughed and said, “Aw, you’ve gotta sit by a girl, mate!”

I was thankful for the book in my hands, because I needed it to cover the big grin on my face.

Watching all of those boys made me think of Joe, naturally.  I could imagine him with a small backpack, uniform, and playful messing around with his friends.  I’m in no hurry to have him out of nappies, but it’s still fun to think about the wonderful things we get to experience that have yet to come!

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8 thoughts on “Start of a New School Year

  1. Such great skills for little ones to learn…navigating public transit, counting/using money, and sitting next to girls. I’m glad I got to see it through your eyes—love it!

  2. Great story! I see a few kids in school uniforms here in Indy, but only for those attending private schools. A bus full of professionals can certainly relate to that carefree attitude that comes only with the dismissal of school for the day. Joy! Joy! Joy! 🙂

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