Yesterday Eric realized we are about to be separated for a month, so he took today off so that we could spend some time together. He thought we would do something fun.
Also yesterday, I began to get things rolling with school applications. I received a list of needed documents from the school and some are needed by next Tuesday. We decided to take what documents we had to the school this morning. Not fun, but necessary.
So we all headed off to the school. Eric drove. I think he wants to be a Taipei taxi driver when he grows up, because he sure drives like one. Which is to say I get more gray hair every time we go someplace in the car. Anyhow, we arrived safely at the school. The parking lot is gated. One gate said exit and the other said buses only. Since it was raining and we hadn't brought umbrellas Eric dropped the kids and I off at the front gate, then he parked and walked in.
It was good that we went in person. It gave us a chance to try to explain Anna's crazy, mixed up school record to the admissions woman. It goes like this: kindergarten at school A except we left on a temporary assignment before the year was over so she has no grades for the last semester. ("where did she go to school then?". "She didn't. I sort of home schooled her".) We returned to school A where she began first grade, but then we moved. She then began kindergarten at school B. ("you mean first grade?" "No. Kindergarten. The curriculum...") The next year I home schooled her. ("Did she take some standardized tests?" "No.") Last year we put her into 3rd grade in school C. Except we left on a temporary assignment so we pulled her out early. I imagine it all sounds very fishy.
Once we clarified things as much as we could we left, armed with a list of things we still need to provide. Time to go do something fun! Except, our car was gone. Oops! Guess it's not legal to park on the street here. The fact that the car was towed wasn't too big of a deal. The problem was figuring out where it had been taken to.
Eric went to the guards at the school gate and they helped us out. They flagged a taxi and told the driver where to take us. On the way Eric asked how much money I had because he didn't have much. Actually, I switched purses today and all of my money was still in the other purse, so I had none. Thankfully we had enough to pay for the cab!
Near the tow yard I saw a sign on a building that said "Post". I assumed that was a post office and I've read that the post office is also the bank here, so I sent Eric there in search of an ATM. He returned several minutes later to report there were 2 ATM machines but neither worked for him. (This happens to us here - some machines work for our account, some don't.) He set off in the other direction to search for another ATM. He found one which, he told me later, was only in Chinese. He managed to get money out of it though! He said he just kept pushing buttons and eventually it gave him some money. Perhaps it came from someone else's account! (Probably not.)
By the time this was all taken care of it was afternoon and we were all hungry. Also, one of the things on our school "to do"list was to have physicals for the kids at "the clinic". We decided to forgo our fun and take care of business. So we went to the clinic, which is actually the hospital. In Taiwan apparently doctors rarely work out of offices. They work in the hospital. We approached the information desk and Eric pointed to a sign that said "English Interpreters". Someone was quickly summoned. I must say, we received an impressive amount of help at the hospital. There was a woman who helped us with the forms. (Just 1/2 sheet of paper per child. If we were in the U.S. we would have been required to fill out pages of forms.) Then a very friendly man escorted us to the area where the doctor worked. He remained with us and interpreted for the nurse. He then gave us some instructions and left. We waited only a few minutes before the doctor called us in. His English was excellent so no interpreter was needed. He informed us that the kids would have to give specimens, and the male interpreter appeared again to escort us to the proper area. Once that was done, he directed us to the nearest McDonald's because we had to wait about 40 minutes for the results of the urinalysis, then the doctor could write up his report and we would be finished.
After all of that was done Eric was taken to the cashier to pay. You will not believe the cost. The total for BOTH kids was approximately US$30! I am so glad we did it HERE. We could have waited and had the physicals done in the US. It would have cost a WHOLE lot more money.
Catchy headline, huh?