Today was a day of firsts for both me and my daughter. For Amber, it was not only her first day of elementary school, it was also her first time to attend a school in the United States. Separation anxiety? Not with my first-grader. She couldn't wait to get on the bus this morning, so anxious was she to get started, that she didn't even bother to turn around and wave to her parents as the bus pulled away. The only one in my family close to tears was yours truly, as the realization dawned on him that his little girl is growing up right before his eyes.
As for the first day of school, Amber seemed to enjoy it. She's attending an elementary school that has an excellent reputation in this area, and it's too bad that she won't be able to stay through for an entire academic year.
In the living room, waiting to walk down to the bus stop
With a friend from the apartment complex who is in the classroom next door at school
Coming off the bus in the afternoon after a successful first day
It was also the first day of instruction for me. Mandarin Chinese (pǔtōnghuà 普通话, or Guóyǔ 國語, as it's called in Taiwan) courses at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center began this morning with an orientation welcoming all the new students. My particular course of study is scheduled to last 21 weeks, and will hopefully provide me with the linguistic skills I'll need for my posting early next year to Shànghǎi 上海. It's a good thing I don't believe in omens, however. According to the personal information sheet that the language section at FSI has on me, I failed a Japanese exam that was given over the phone a couple of years ago. The truth is I passed that particular hurdle, and by doing so, received points that moved me up the register and helped lead to my eventually being offered a position in the Foreign Service.
Or did I? Perhaps somebody somewhere made a mistake when entering data into the system. Good thing I have this bottle of Loose Cannon American Hop3 IPA, brewed by Heavy Seas Beer out of Baltimore, MD:
For study purposes only, of course.