Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sledding Day - Friday, 4 February 2011

Every year our school has a "Sledding Day," which I think is a great idea for an international school located in such a cold climate. The majority of the students are not from Kazakhstan; many are from places where it doesn't get too cold, and this is their first real winter. So why not take the entire elementary school to the river one day to go sledding?

So for 2 hours in the afternoon of Friday, 4 February, we went to the riverbank by the principal's house and went sledding.

Kids who had their own sleds brought theirs, and everybody shared. When not using a sled, children enjoyed running down the hill, chasing other sleds, talking, and drinking hot chocolate (provided by the school).

The school van drove some people; everyone else rode in a car with a student's parent or driver--enough parents signed up to help drive that we didn't have a transportation problem. We did have a seatbelt problem--every kid had to be seatbelted in. I was assigned to ride with 3 students and their driver. There were no seatbelts in the backseat, and the driver could not understand why I was making a fuss about it. "Ne nada," he said--"No need." The mother was there in her super-fancy SUV and she agreed to drive us. This car not only had seatbelts but several TVs.

We went to the riverbank by the principal's house, so in case anyone had to use the bathroom, one was available. (Smart idea. In the end, everyone was too excited to think about using the bathroom.)

We went to the riverbank because Astana is flat and the riverbank is the best place to sled.

We lucked out, the weather was sunny and around -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit). Sophia and other children started sweating under their winter clothes. I had to let Sophia unzip her coat and air herself out; she was sweating really badly.

Two kids spent the time crying because they were cold--one boy (from New Orleans, so obviously not used to the cold!) tripped and fell at the beginning; his gloves came off and got snow in them, so his hands became really cold. He cried until his mother arrived.

Another girl was wearing a warm coat, but not a waterproof coat. She fell and the entire back of her coat became wet. Needless to say, she was freezing and not in a good mood.

Everyone else had a blast, though, including the adults. I went down on a sled once--they go really fast and it was almost scary! My daughter enjoyed sharing her sled with everyone--she has one of the nicer, big sleds (a present from Santa last year that we've hardly used).

It was a great idea, and tons of fun. A good end to the week!

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