The neighborhood was buzzing this morning, with kids on their way to their first day of school. When I was heading home in the lift, I was struck with a memory of a first day of school when I was teaching Kindergarten. One of our German students came on his first day with a traditional first day of school Tüte.
My co-teacher Katherine stared hard at the huge cone of treats and school supplies in little Morton's arms while she answered my question about what it was. "It's like a traditional gift for German children on their first day of school and it mocks poor Swiss children. We grow up watching German programs and think that the Tüte is a tradition here too and then our first day of school comes and there's no Tüte." There's no school bus from the American series, or snow days or prom and I'd heard from other Swiss (and Lichtensteiner) friends how kids pop-culture had confused them.
So today, the Swiss kids were on their way to school, sans Tüten, but full of promise and many accompanied by a parent for the only day this year. (Though neighbors complain that parents are getting more American and sometimes using a car to pick up their kids as if they can't just take public transport or walk home.)