Discover more from Beagle Voyage with Jane Liaw
Everyone is making new friends
In which Beanie joins TIDE Academy...and so do we
This little school
Beanie started school at TIDE Academy on Monday. I think we can call TIDE a microschool, though it’s not quite as tiny as Red-tailed Hawk Forest School or Acton Academy Concord. We accompanied her into the building the first morning and watched the morning assembly—there were about 50 kids in total, and about 10 students in each class. The grades are mixed—1st and 2nd together, 3rd and 4th together (Beanie’s class), and so on.
The school is housed in a small building, painted colorfully but otherwise nondescript and a little rough around the edges. That’s part of its charm. Some of the dividing walls are made of plastic, Beanie said, including the wall separating her classroom from Principal Adam’s office. Her teachers told the class they would have to be very quiet, no yelling whatsoever.
An iguana named Iggy lives on the TIDE campus. When we asked Beanie about her favorite part of her first day, she said it was when one of her classmates dropped some popcorn from his lunch by accident, and Iggy ate it. Principal Adam warned them Iggy might throw up, but Izzy kept that popcorn down like a champ.
Iguana pics and other good stuff in your inbox weekly.
TIDE also has a campus dog; it’s actually Teacher Sydney’s dog that she brings to school. The dog has not come to school yet because of the chaos of the first week and all the new kids, which Beanie said would be overwhelming (I don’t know if she meant overwhelming to the new kids or the dog, but probably both).
Most TIDE students are from Canada or the US. It doesn’t seem like there are many local families or families from other Latin American countries, though I did hear a few parents speaking Spanish. The dominant language of instruction and on the playground is English. Students can opt to do Spanish Academy—extra Spanish lessons, which Beanie is taking—as well as Surf and Skate Academy, which Beanie is warming up to taking when it starts in October. It’ll be very early mornings for the whole family if she starts surf lessons, but I’m looking forward to seeing how she does with it, and how she handles the frustration of what I understand to be a steep learning curve.
I’m also looking forward to having her teach me Costa Rican history, which she’ll have twice a week. I’m always curious about history lessons taught in the classrooms of different countries. It’s like that parable of blind men touching and each trying to describe one small part of an elephant. We’re all getting a little sliver of the truth, and an uneven, refracting sliver at that. I remember the World War II lessons I learned in Singapore and the focus on Singapore, the Asian theater of the war, and Japanese atrocities. If there was any discussion of the Holocaust, it wasn’t extensive. Later, I got a different sliver through world history classes in US schools. I learned more about Nazis then, but the average American high school student has never heard of the Nanjing Massacre.
Anyway, Costa Rican history will be a learning experience for us both.
We haven’t gotten the measure of the teachers yet, but it’s promising that Principal Adam remembered what we’d told him about Beanie’s reading and math levels. He seems to know a little about every student—a degree of individualized attention from the principal that can only really happen in a small school.
Every Friday sunset, families from the international community meet at Tamarindo beach to unwind into the weekend. We joined in last Friday, eager to make connections and see if our expectations of finding like-minded people would bear out.
One mom who has lived in Tamarindo for two years told us that most TIDE families are here for only a short time; out of the 10 kids in her older son’s class, she thought perhaps one other was returning. This mom is here for the long haul, but most of her previous cohort had left. She had talked to her kids about their friends moving away and she encouraged them to look at it as a positive—now they had friends in so many faraway places.
It’s just occurred to me that this type of worldschooling community is a rare opportunity for us as parents to meet a group of people who are also fresh arrivals to town and open to making new friends. Usually, by the time you’re middle-aged, you are entrenched in your settled life. I’ve heard people declare they’re not interested in getting to know new people, because they don’t even have time for the old friendships in their lives. Others might not say it, but it’s clear where their priorities lie.
And if you are one party to an old friendship, at that phase of life with children still at home, work, and assorted other obligations, you’re participating in a dance of scheduling gatherings weeks or months in advance. When they happen, the gatherings are on a clock—by the time the catch-up chitchat is over, it’s time to go home already. It’s frustrating and sometimes unfulfilling.
So this is an interesting situation we have here. It’s almost like us parents are starting school together too. As well, people who are drawn to a school like this, one whose tagline is “an alternative school for students with non-traditional lives,” are probably on the lookout for kindred spirits.
We’ve met a handful of TIDE families, and so far everyone’s backgrounds are quite different, as are their reasons for being here. Some I’ve vibed with straight away…some, I’ve found, hold viewpoints on sensitive subjects that I don’t share.
Back home, I’ve didn’t interact much with people who held extremely different political views from myself. Here, we are all one small community, and that’s probably a good thing. The divisiveness of discourse back home is something I wanted to get away from, so I’m trying not to bring my northern baggage down with me. I recognize I need to focus more on the many facets of every person I meet (and every person has so many facets) rather than zeroing in on the one that speaks the loudest to me. I think, especially in a place like this, I’ll find as much commonality as difference with everyone.
What was that local saying that means so many things, including “live and let live”? Oh, yeah—
Pretty Good Things
My favorite Japanese dessert
As some of you know, I love me a Japanese parfait with shiratama dango (mochi balls) and jellies. If you like Japanese parfait as much as I do, check out this par-fay post and the ensuing discussion: Do you Parfait?
Welcome to Wrexham
I think there might be quite a bit of buzz around the new show “Welcome to Wrexham,” but I only stumbled upon it while browsing Hulu. They’re dropping episodes weekly—so old-fashioned—of this documentary series that follows Ryan Reynolds’ and Rob McElhenney’s takeover of the Welsh football team Wrexham A.F.C. This is the story of an underdog town as much as an underdog team, and it’s pretty compelling so far.