An arrow from Parow ……

I officially live in the Northern Suburbs.

I have been kidding myself for a while that I actually do not actually LIVE in the Northern Suburbs.

I will tell anyone who will listen that I happen to be on the “belt” between the two worlds of the Northern and the Southern.

I am delusional most days, so this little oversight does not take much effort from my part.

The suburb that we live in is actually an ERF that belongs to the area of Parow.

So not only have I had to admit that I live in the Northern Suburbs, but I now officially live in Parow.

Which if you know the area, is usually something that is used as a source of ridicule if someone lives, comes from, or drives through Parow.  Jack Parow is not called Jack Parow for nothing!

Though – and I would like to add for the possible effect on our house sale price in the future – that the suburb I live in does not say “Parow” on the street signs.  We clearly did not really think about that when we were paying the 2.5 trillion rand for the house.

One of the giveaways  – that I should have paid more attention to – is that our postal code and Parow’s postal code are identical!  Yes, everyone is wise after the fact – where were you in March 2008?

When we moved in to our suburbs, I had to find new schools for the kids.

Finding schools is about as painful as childbirth, but just goes on a bit longer.  The downside of looking for a school is that you can’t get medication on a script to make it less painful, and no one gives you pink or blue balloons!  But you do sort of feel your v-jay-jay tearing at about the same rate.

The suburb where we lived before, had a church, bottle store and school on every corner.

Where we live now you have to drive quite a ways to find any of the three.  Schools do appear to be not as popular as either bottle stores or churches.

I am not sure exactly what social deduction one can make from that observation, but anyway, moving along.

I managed to find schools where Afrikaans was the “taal” spoken and English seemed to be this strange other language that was spoken with unfortunate accents and severe mispronunciation, along with people who wear jean pant and said words like “uver” in place of “other”.

Now I am not knocking anyone who has the taal as a first language.  The problem is Connor is such a rooi-nek he could not speak a word of Afrikaans when we moved in to the area.  Sending him to an Afrikaans school might have been touching on child abuse.

Georgia was at “language development” stage – so I wanted her to develop an English language as her mother tongue. and not Afrikaans or better yet English with a strong Afrikaans accent.

I found a school for Connor that had a dual-medium class, and though we were both a bit scared of how he would cope, he actually was fine.  It was a great school and continues to be a little gem in this area.  He did manage to pick up quite a bit of Afrikaans and fitted in really well with his new “maajties.”

Connor is never going to speak like a natural Afrikaner.  But he has learnt to get by.  His ability to make us laugh as he totally destroys the language of Afrikaans does give us hours of pleasure.

I got Georgia into a school – and I made the assumption that because the headmistress was English it was an English school.

Let’s just say that my assumptions are less than accurate and this is just another one to add to the pile.

Totally got this one wrong.

Georgia was in a class that was meant to be dual medium class but with English spoken as the majority.  I think the teacher only swung to English when I appeared in the room to give the impression that they had a “nice balance of languages.”

The reality was that when I heard the teacher – with the best intentions – reading English I started to weep.  Not in happiness, but in fear that my child was going to officially have the worst accent possible and then I started to pray that she would stop raping the English language and switch back to Afrikaans, which sounded by far more humane.

Of course I said nothing, and instead chewed the inside of my cheek and hoped tomorrow would be a better day in the land of English language teaching.

The day I realized that we were REALLY lived in the Northern Suburbs was when I dropped Georgia off at her fairly Afrikaans school and most of the kids arrived WITHOUT shoes (they could afford shoes you understand, but they choose to not put them on, which is odd as they appear to have taken care with their outfits and grooming.)

But what was more alarming was the dads who arrived wearing those short black rugby shorts and NO SHOES! That was a very sobering moment for me.  If I recall I phoned Kennith a little on the hysteric side.

Just for the record, this is the same school where Georgia learnt to sing “Los Lappie” and “Kaptein Span die Seile” both by the artist known as Kurt Darron.

Of all the smut and obscenity she would hear in our house, I have always been very careful to never infect her with Kurt Darron.  But the damage is done, and Georgia can sing a “liedtjie” like no one’s business.

I have continued to live in denial regarding our living arrangements – I have continued to insist that my children wear shoes to school, or when ever we leave the house.

Connor has moved to a fantastic primary school – and though it is primarily Afrikaans both in look, feel, and culture, the English teachers are fantastic.

I get the benefit of small English classes in primarily an Afrikaans school, and the school is very disciplined and offer a really homely kind of feel to it – so it is win-win for me.

The one thing I noticed – again – was that the kids do not always wear shoes to school.  However there was a stern note that said kids need to wear shoes to school on a Friday as it is “saal.”  (assembly for you cretins who do not understand any Afrikaans)

Connor has been bleating to go barefoot for months – and I have said no.  I really want to keep a semblance that maybe we do not live on a farm, and milk Bessie to get creamer for our coffee in the morning.  Maybe we are city folk!

But we are going through a pair of school shoes every 1 ½ months with Connor.  We are up to school shoe pair number eight this year alone.

This week I have “allowed” Connor to go to school barefoot.  He was so excited and flung his arms around me and confessed that I was “the best mommy in the world.”

Day one he did come to the car limping as his feet were so sore.

But by day two he was good to go.

This morning when I dropped him off I looked around at the school and about ½ the kids – mainly boys – were there without school shoes.  I am not sure if it made me happy or a little sad.

We might need to relook at our neighbourhood sign and see if it actually does say Parow after all.