Returning to KVMEG, the school where Paul taught and Sylvie & Eliza attended classes in 2007, was certainly a highlight of our time here in Bangalore! It was so wonderful to greet my old colleagues and students! KV stands for Kendriya Vidyalaya, or "Central School," which might be the largest school 'district' in the world. It is the central government school system, for the children of officials, military families, and public servants, and has about 1,000 schools spread all across India. There are about one million enrolled students, and when we visited a few days back it seemed as though they ALL were at our school! Our kids were a bit nervous, knowing that they would be swarmed by friends, all wanting to hug, shake hands, and ask a bunch of questions... This indeed was the case, but afterwards even Eliza said, "that was actually pretty fun... When can we visit again?"
Here is what happened, in Eliza's words:
I was in 4th grade last time we came to India, and during that time, we went to a school called Kendriya Vidyalaya. We really loved it and were sad to leave all our new friends. Before we visited I was really nervous because I thought I'd have to give a speech in front of 2,600 kids!
When we got there it was the start of the day, and kids were still arriving. Almost all the student recognized us, and I recognized a lot of them too. Everyone was so happy to see my Dad, because he had been a teacher to many of them. One girls ran up to my Dad screaming, "Paul Sir, Paul Sir.... you came back!!!" My dad guessed her name right, and she said, "You remembered me! I am so honored!" Then we went to the office to see all the teachers. My Hindi, Math & English teachers were there.
Then we went to morning assembly, where they give announcements and to morning prayers and yoga. We DID have to go on stage, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. We didn't have to say anything, and it was SO cool to see all those people!
Before we left, it was recess, and we got SWARMED! So many people wanted my dad to sign autographs. It was really funny when I was standing off to the side, and a huge group of girls gathered around Lupin who was sitting down. They were all pinching her cheeks, asking for her autograph, and squealing, "Ohhhh sooo cute!!!!" When they left her, Lupin was rubbing her cheeks and looking a bit bewildered.
After that a group of kids crowded around me, and I signed about 50 autographs. Students kept asking, "Do you remember me? What is your good name? Which standard are you in? Can you sign my copy book?" They all wanted to shake hands too. It was especially great to see kids from my old 4th grade class (now in 7th). They were really nice, and really happy when I could remember their names.
I LOVED visiting our old school, and can't wait to visit again!
Back in 2007, we hosted big Christmas Party at our home for friends and colleagues. We had purchased a live potted tree to decorate, and just before our departure, students & teachers helped us to plant it on campus. It has thrived these past 3 years, more than doubling in height!
KVMEG is hosting the National Athletics Meet in a few weeks, where thousands of KV students from all over India will descend on Bangalore. The MEG students are therefore practicing dances, music, and drum performances for the "opening ceremony." We hope to attend the dress rehearsal on the morning of Sept.20th, just before hopping on our 2-night train.