It's immigration month in the fourth grade. Last week, the girl had to bring a pillowcase to school, weighing no more than 10 pounds, containing the essentials you'd pack quickly if you had to make a run for the boat to America:
- Spoon & fork
- (Small) Blanket
- (Small) Pillow
- Picture of family
- Grimm's Fairy Tales
- The Tempest
- Money (a fake $100 bill)
- Jewelry (a "pearl" necklace)
- Key (to the dacha, in case they return)
[She refused to bring underpants: "what if someone sees them?" No discussion of why you always travel with clean underwear would convince her.]
Today was the immigration simulation, where all of the fourth graders get off the boat and line up in the cafeteria to be admitted, detained or deported. For that, she was dressed up as her character, a Russian named Ekaterina Romanoff. [Actually, she started off as Maria Romanoff, until I suggested that Ekaterina was nice because it was the Russian version of her middle name.]
Tomorrow, they go to Ellis Island. Thursday and Friday are the performances of the class play - with, naturally, an immigration theme, and Friday is the international luncheon. Being Northern European mutts, I wasn't sure what to send in, so I'm going to make blitz kuchen, a "lightning" fast German crumb cake that my mother used to make.
The other night, just because, we poked around on the Ellis Island website, and found some relatives: my two grandfathers, and one of my husband's. None of those were immigration journeys, though - they were returning US citizens. Still, it was fun to find them there.
I have to say, it's a pretty wonderful immersion.