This entire week has been spirit week at the International School of Stavanger. Whether you are age 3 or in grade 12, there has been dress up days all week long. So for today, Friday, October 23rd, the week culminated with United Nations Day. (which is actually tomorrow - a piece of random trivia for you....) The primary school students were to dress in the national dress from their home country and have a flag to wave from their country. This sounds pretty cut and dry, doesn't it? Well, not so much! Many of these children have parents from two different nations and they strongly identify with both. They actually gave me the choice for Lily...did I want her under the Chinese flag or the American flag? Hmmm.....national dress.....yep, I went the easy way out and chose China! If she had ever lived in the U.S., perhaps I would have chosen differently. However, she looked smashing in her purple Chinese dress, if I do say so myself! The primary school students held a parade of nations through the hallways this morning. It was so wonderful to see all the different flags flying. I do have to say that there were a couple of little boys in kilts that were ADORABLE! I didn't know they made kilts that little!
For those of you that may not know, the international school that my kids attend is English-speaking, but a large majority of the students are not native English speakers. Americans are not the largest percentage of countries that attend ISS. I think it is fabulous that when I go to ISS, which is twice a day at least...that I will hear 4-5 languages being spoken at any given time. That is pretty cool. Dutch, Norwegian, German, Polish...these are the ones I hear just from the classroom area where Lily is. Granted, the Queen's English is still English, but half the time I have to listen very closely to make sure they are actually speaking English...especially if they are from Scotland! (I LOVE a good broad Scots accent!)
Tim, as a middle schooler, was assigned a country from the U.N. in which he had to wear the colors of the flag to school today. He had to type up a few basic facts about his country as well to share with his classmates. His country was Cambodia.
Joe, in high school, we decked out in a shirt with a U.S. flag on it. We have very few of these because we are counseled to not wear clothing, etc., that marks us as being American when living abroad. It isn't that we are patriotic...we just don't want to make ourselves targets (a real danger) and also don't want to broadcast that "ugly loud American" sentiment that many other countries feel we have. Therefore, we are told to blend in with our surroundings as much as possible. I even wear black socks with my trainers now...(that was a hard pill to swallow - and it seems like such a little thing!) Nothing screams American like white socks with your sneakers. It would be like wearing black socks with sandals and shorts back in the U.S. Sigh... I currently have more black socks than white and that's saying a lot for me! When I left the school, Joe had just finished his morning break. He had a senior girl (a very popular pretty one at that!) drawing an American flag on his cheek....and he had several other high school boys making fun of how red his face was! (he was blushing something fierce!) :o) Anyhow, it was a fabulously international day today and I just wanted to share some pictures of the little ones doing their parade. The week ends with a U.N. concert tomorrow night at the school with proceeds going to charity in other countries.