Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day Three in Basel

Today was back to business.  I was picked up at 9:30 and taken to the man who was going to help us with our health insurance.  In Switzerland all people are required to have health insurance yet no company is required to cover it for their employees.  And it is very expensive, so that was a fun little gem to find out.

The meeting was painless, and actually kind of fun.  The guy works for Roche and only does insurance for expats, so he was very knowledgeable.  We got a lot of good information to review.  We cannot apply for insurance until we get there, but at least now we know how it works and what it covers.  It was great to do have a chance to meet with this department face to face.

Once the insurance meeting was over, Kaya restarted our tour.  Today was about the schools.  We first visited the school that Finley will attend.  It is called Academia International School.  We have been communicating regularly with this school especially since Finley (who is my youngest) is vision impaired.  This school has been very open to having her and also had done all the leg work to make sure she got a braille teacher, and aide, and a mobility specialist.  They have been very easy to deal with and talk to and have answered all of our questions.  Finley was in love with the school from the moment she saw it.  It is small and quaint - there will only be 16 kids in her class (that is the ENTIRE 5th grade).   She wanted a small, intimate setting because with her vision issues, she tends to be a little shy and unsure.

This school is a bilingual school.  They will teach the lessons in English and German.  We were excited about this because we really are moving here to immerse in the culture.  We will all be taking intense German, so for Finley to have it daily at school - she will be fluent in no time.

Arlington will also be attending the Academia International School, but on a different campus.  She will be in the College (which here means high school).  She did come along on the tour today because her next year's classmates are still at this campus.  She had a chance to meet some of the kids she will be with next year, which helped.

After a successful tour of the Academia school, we had a very nice lunch at a nearby restaurant.  It was so hot that the kids didn't want to eat much.  We have found that many of the menus are ONLY in German with no English translation, so we were happy to have our guide with us.  My mom had ordered scallops thinking she was getting fish, but scallops in German is a veal.  That was a bit of a surprise, but we learned something!

After lunch we visited the school that Cainan is interested in.  It is called the International School Basel.  This school could not have been more American.  And it was HUGE.  It would be a perfect fit for Cainan, but it is very, very far away from the school for the girls and Mat's work, that we are having second thoughts.  Cainan loved it because it is exactly what he is used to.  Cainan doesn't like change  - loves his routine.  So I could see him here.  We need to think about its distance.  Especially with taking public transportation......his commute would be very long.  But the school was beautiful.  Most of the teachers were American or British.  They did teach German in this school, but it is not a bilingual school.  We shall see.

After seeing the International school, we stopped at the Academia College so Arlington could see where she will be attending classes next year.  This campus is right in the city, but is moving in about a year to even a more central location.  This school is growing and the new building will be bigger and have more amenities for the teenagers it caters to.  Arlington talked with the teachers and she asked a lot of really good questions.  AFter that meeting, she was 100% sure this was the school for her.  Some of her classes will be bilingual, but at this age, Switzerland is doing the opposite - making sure most of their students can speak English.  So Arlington will take some intense German classes outside of school to catch up to her peers.

Kaya dropped us in the town of Muttenz at the end of our day because we wanted to explore their downtown and get some dinner.  We walked the streets and stopped in a bakery/sandwich shop to eat.  We were able to get ourselves back to the hotel on the public transportation (and patted ourselves on the back for not getting lost) and are now in for the night.  It was a full and great day.

Enjoy the pictures  (you can click on them to make them bigger)

Outside of Finley's school.  This school is very close to the German and French borders.
 A large part of Finley's school.  Very Swiss and really beautiful.  The building is 350 years old.
 The International School Basel.  This school is huge.  The elementary school is home to 600 students
 Arlington's school - not a great picture.  This is its temporary house until their building is finished next year.
 The bakery/sandwich shop where we had dinner in Muttenz.  Most businesses close at between 6-6:30pm daily.


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