After almost three endless months of never-ending summer vacation, Leo finally started school, a new charter school. Frankly, Z and I were excited about it but he wasn’t. He wanted to be excited, but, instead, he was very nervous. I don’t blame him. Starting fifth grade – the last year of elementary school – in a new school is nerve-wracking. Within three days, he decided that he hates it. It was too overwhelming for him. I know making a decision based on just a few days is stupid, but, honestly, my gut had been telling me for a while that the school was not for us.
Even for us it was hard. For the last three years, we’ve been walking the kids to school every day. Getting to the new school from our house is a short drive (without traffic) but when you get to the school, it takes a long time to drop him off and pick him up. The school’s carpool system sucks. If you don’t have another child that goes to the same school in your car, then you can’t use the carpool driveway. You have to look for parking, which is almost impossible, and if you do carpool, you have to wait in a long dreadful line.
Another issue we were worried about was their volunteering requirements. Fifty (50!) hours per year, in addition to “recommended” (read: required) donations of about $1,700 per year! As much as we like the idea of a small school, my husband and I both not crazy about the idea of having to spend 50 hours – that we don’t have – in a school, even if it is our kid’s school. Volunteering 20 hours per year is one thing, but 50 is another.
I always encourage people to volunteer and donate to our public school when possible, even though I think it’s not right, because I think that in a country as wealthy as America, education should be free. Luckily my kids don’t even want me to show up in their classroom in the middle of the day. My little one always begs me to not volunteer. I think it’s my accent. It’s not heavy, or horrible, but it’s not American. No worries, not taking it personally.
The main reason we moved Leo to the new school was for future sake. Like every parent in LA, we are asking ourselves what we are going to do about middle school. The new charter school, we were told, has a good middle school and high school. However, I won’t let him suffer for a year just for the future. As for next year, we’ll see. As my mother says, “Elohim gadol!” (“God is great,” or, God knows where we will find ourselves next year. Santa Monica, Mallorca, London…who knows?!?)
Sometimes I wish life was as simple as making jams.
I wish you all Shana Tova (happy new year) and gmar chatima tova (this one is too hard to translate but in a nut shall, may you’ll be written in God’s good list).
Fig & Lemongrass Jam
- 1 pint ripe figs
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 stalk lemongrass – only the white part
- 1 tablespoon water
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Sterilized jar*
- Rinse the figs, remove their stems and quarter them.
- Put the figs, sugar, lemongrass and water in a heavy-bottom pot and bring to a boil. Stir and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes, giving a quick stir every now and again. The liquid gradually thickens and the figs soften.
- Add lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat if necessary, don't let the jam burn!
- Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the lemongrass then ladle the jam into the jar. Seal and refrigerate up to 1 month.