Lost in translation

We miss a lot.  Last week, we missed the fact that Benjamin was going on a field trip with his school, so he had his first outing without us knowing it was going to happen, and without us being able to prepare him at all.  (He did fine.)  As a result, we’ve stepped up our own vigilance and reminded the school, too, that they need to be sure to keep us apprised of what’s going on.

They’ve already stepped up.  The day after the unexpected field trip, one of Benjamin’s teachers gave Dan a list of upcoming events, carefully translated into English.  It’s wonderful to have it — they have another trip coming up this month, it reminded us of dates the school is closed, told us when the class will be celebrating Christmas, and told us that today, St. Nicholas was coming to his school.

So, we told him about St. Nicholas coming, and he was very excited.  Turns out, though, we were wrong . . . again.  (Sigh.)  They meant “St. Nicholas is coming” the same way we would say “Santa Claus is coming” — to mean, that he will have “visited” the school, not that he would, corporeally, be there.  It’s a perfectly reasonable way to have expressed it — we would have probably said the same thing if we were explaining it.  And it was a totally reasonable assumption on our part — apparently, it’s pretty common for St. Nicholas to visit children at school here.

When I picked Benjamin up at school today, I asked him if he got to meet St. Nicholas, and he said no.  I asked, “Didn’t he come?” and he said, “Yes, he came when we were out playing in the garden”.  Then I understood.

Benjamin seems fine about it — when he came back in from playing in the garden (which they haven’t done in weeks because it’s been too cold) they all got surprised by cute treat bags full of nuts, fruit and candy.  He was excited to show me his bag and made sure I packed it very carefully into the stroller for the trip home.  I’m sure he’s disappointed, though.  I feel a little defeated.  I know it isn’t a big deal, but it’s tough to see that even when all parties are trying so hard for clear communication, it still eludes us.

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