Erwin and I attended an anniversary party Saturday night. As much as he didn't want to go, he ended up enjoying himself...and so did I. It was so much fun to compare the party culture of Holland vs. Belgium. For one, there was no introduction coffee offered. Drinks started off the evening. Then, at 11 pm coffee and cake was offered, followed by sandwiches of slices of bread with bacon and egg on them...cold. And then more drinks followed with chicken legs at about 1. There was lots of dancing and we all laughed as one dancing fool split his crotch, only to be led from the dance floor and return a bit later in a pair of jeans just as groovy as before the "accident". Watching the line dancers was interesting, and seeing the little boy crazy out there on the floor was quite entertaining as well...especially since Jari considers him one of the really cool guys (watching him dance, you'd never guess that!!!). I drank wine...wine, wine, and more wine...and when I stood up to go outside, my world was spinning as fast as Mr. GroovePants on the dance floor. Only I wasn't dancing...just giggling a lot. Erwin suggested I have a coke but I told him the one chance a year I get to spin I was gonna enjoy it. And I did. I spoke to lots of people and one woman's son was an exchange student in Maine. She discussed the schooling differences between America and Belgium. Personally, I am appalled by America's teaching standards after seeing the expectations in both Holland and Belgium. Kids in America just aren't being challenged like they should be. And comparing the knowledge of European children to American children at the same level makes our society pale. What about junior high kids that get 3 hours homework every night? In America we'd have parents complaining that their kid just can't manage to get it done, they shouldn't have to work so hard outside of school, etc etc etc. Here, parents support the schools and engage their children in homework routines and rituals to prepare them for tests that set them up for their lifelong career. In America, I studied maybe 10 days through my entire highschool career and managed to achieve honor roll status every quarter. Even in college, I was not completing as much work as kids here are expected to do. Sometimes I think it's too much...but in America it's beyond a doubt far too little. Kids should be expected to excel, to try to challenge themselves, to do their very best, but they just aren't. It's sad, really.
Anyway, Erwin and I came home to bed and had an 11:00 sleep in!!! It was heaven! The kids stayed with oma and opa and spent a pleasant day at a war musuem. We were thrilled to be kid-free for an entire day...it was a really refreshing change to wake up late, eat a relaxing breakfast, talk about life, play a game together, and still have time to do a bit of cleaning up without ever being interrupted by a fight. But, my heart swelled when my guys came walking through the door later in the afternoon...as much as life is relaxing without them, loving them and hearing "MMMOOOooooooooMMMMMM!" just can't compare!