March 29, 2015

The fairy of International Day

It is one of the school's highlights: International Day. Every year the community rallies together to display their countries' virtues, traditions and culinary delicacies. It feels like the United Nations is throwing a party on a Saturday afternoon. You can hear Indian sitar music emanating from a classroom, Brazilian samba tunes sweeping across the courtyard and the Italian anthem blaring out of a loudspeaker all at the same time.

Volunteers from over 30 countries have come together this year in order to make this day a truly special experience that will stay in our hearts and in our memories in the years to come. We even had an alumni visiting for the afternoon from London. I admit when we moved to Lugano, we also went back to Madrid for a day just to participate at International Day. That says it all!

It is not only the food, the drinks, and the music that makes this day so special. It is the involvement and dedication of each participating country to share and educate the rest of the community about their part of the world that will make you smile or even stand in awe with respect.

It is a way of traveling across the globe without leaving the school grounds. However, the day you DO end up traveling to these destinations you'll be a little wiser and a wee bit more prepared thanks to International Day. You'll remember the person that taught you that particular custom and memories will come flooding back.

The Falafel that you had never tried before, the Jamon Iberico that was freshly cut, the Swedish meatballs your friend cooked 7kg of, the Caipirinha that was served with the biggest smile and knocked you off your feet, the Australian frog-in-a-pond not to mention the pavlova that is now my son's favourite dessert. American BBQ or Peruvian Ceviche, all of these dishes are forever linked to a friends' face.

But there is one lady who, year after year, makes it all happen here in Paris. Uma fada português who spreads her magic combined with her organisational skills and rallies hundreds of parents together to sign up their country and come up with questions that will be printed on a passport that the kids need to compile by visiting each country's booth. All of this would never happen without her! So next time you remember International Day think also of the Portuguese fairy who devotes endless hours of hard work and immense dedication to enable us to share a little of our cultural backgrounds with other members of the community and encourage the “international-mindedness” in our children.

Obrigado. Estamos todos muito gratos!

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