Sunday, August 10, 2014

First day of school, first big mistake

Today is the Kiddo's first day of school! They start early here in Vietnam.  Early in the day, too - we set off to catch a 7:20 AM bus. Back home in Massachusetts, we always left the house at 8:45.

Aaaand... we caught the wrong bus.

We'd made arrangements for Kid to ride the faculty bus. Previously when we'd ridden the faculty bus, for pre-school-year faculty-and-family events, we boarded it on the Nguyễn Van Linh side of Sky Garden. This time, the faculty bus was going to be elsewhere, near the Sky Garden Skymart, but I don't know where that is exactly.  And since we had to walk up Nguyễn Van Linh anyhow, we got to the old bus stop first.

At that bus stop were three AIS buses, but they all had students in them. All of a sudden a man started shouting at me. All I understood was, "Nhà bè? Nhà bè?" And all he understood was nod nod nod. So he whisked my son away from me and put him in the bus.

And I let it happen, because in the half-second I had to analyze the situation, it occurred to me that while this bus was the wrong bus, it was going to the right school. And the right bus was still at an unknown location. If I'd refused this bus and kept walking, I might have trouble finding the faculty bus and we might miss it, and we'd miss this one too. It seemed less of a risk to get the kid to the right location via the wrong bus than to possibly not get him there at all.

The problem is that the kid's name is not on the bus list, and we didn't pay for this service.

But somehow, out of the six AIS drivers and attendants present, plus two security guards who were probably employed by Sky Garden but were helping out, not one of them spoke English. So I couldn't explain my problem to them. I tried. I failed. So, with no other recourse, I raised my camera and tried to take the first day of school picture that I missed taking while my child was getting whisked.

He looks pretty distressed! Haha, actually he was grinning ear to ear most of the time he was in there. And chatting happily with any student who would speak English to him. I think he was just straining to see me out the window at that moment.

Here are the other pictures I took this morning:

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