IT ISN’T WARM, FOLKS
The front doors of the Freie Waldorfschule St. Georgen swing open at lunch time as the students who are finished for the day head home. It’s a mad rush and no one seems to have worked out yet that the door isn’t wide enough to allow thirteen people to go through at a time.
Today this happened as the three tones of the electronic “bell” rang out – as usual. When people staggered out onto the front steps, bags over shoulders and chins nestled in scarves, they stopped.
“Scheiße! es ist warm,” they all cried. No, it wasn’t: it was 11 degrees Celsius.
They did all think, though, that I was having a lend of them when I passed on the information that a town in Western Australia had 163 consecutive days with temperatures over 38 degrees, so their concept of what’s hot and what’s not is a bit skew-iff.
A SOJOURN INTO ENGLISH
I met up with Jamie Hearder yesterday in the centre of Freiburg. It was the first time we had seen each other since we were whisked away from Freiburg at a frightening speed.
Forget the Sound of Music. The Sound of English is a more joyous thing.
Just because we could we were talking in convoluted sentences without meaning or requirement. We were carrying on unnecessarily, sharing our experiences and our thoughts on the bizarre.
“The bread’s always stale.” “People are always walking in hallways on the other side I’m used to.” “What’s with this time business? Half-six is 6.30, but when they say half-six, they mean 5.30. Does my head in.” “They have lunch at dinner time and dinner at lunch time, it’s so weird.” “And they don’t ‘do’ morning tea. It’s insane.”
Shall we just say this meeting, which could become a regular fixture, was wholly necessary for our sanity.
Another similar sojourn will be held tomorrow.
A POSITIVE MESSAGE
Prospective parents coming to inspect the school here shouldn’t look at the students sitting with the backs facing out on the sills of the big, open, second- and third-storey windows and worry. They should see it as a wholly positive sign, not one that says: They’re going to fall.
The first few times I saw this happen I thought it was a bit bizarre, but I quickly began to accept it as a standard practice. As soon as we can get into a classroom before a lesson starts the windows are opened. Yes, it is winter here and yes, it is bloody cold, but everyone sits or stands near the windows with their coats still on. For reasons I’ve yet to pin-point – but I’m leaning towards “being sensible” – the girls don’t tend to take part in this ritual.
But it says a big thing about the school: it says that the school isn’t bad.
If the school was bad there’d be kids escaping out of the windows, climbing down on tied together scarves or pieces of string or broom handles, wouldn’t there? But prospective parents see the kids sitting there, contented and just enjoying a bit of (very, stupidly cold) fresh air.
The fact the school doesn’t worry about putting grating there says that they know the school is good – because they don’t have to prevent us from getting away.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have obligatory post cards to write…