This whole concept that 1) kids go to school when they are just five years old and 2) they still need daycare because school is in session for only three and a half hours for the five-year-olds was new for me as well as the fact that school has more days off than the rest of people.
The great thing was that for several years, their school started pretty early. The bus would come to our stop at 7-15. Val would drive from Barrington and wait in the car for me till the bus would come, and then we drove to work. The kids and I had breakfast before we left the house, and then they had lunch at the Children’s World and a snack after their nap.
I could not go anywhere during the workday. I would always have the same lunch with me: one sandwich with the Polish ham and Romania salad, and one with provolone cheese and a piece of tomato, and an apple and a banana for a snack.
Our workday was officially over at five, and somebody would drive me to the Children’s World to pick up Vlad and Anna and would drop us at home. I would start making some dinner at home, and Vlad and Anna would start talking: they just started to learn English and had nobody to talk to during the whole day!
And that was pretty much it. We did some talking and reading and cleaned up and headed to bed. Once again, I didn’t have a car and could not drive, and I didn’t have a computer at home. I’ve just spent a good ten minutes trying to recall when I first had a computer at home in the US. I remember that I had a laptop during my second visit to Russia because I had to do some work remotely; I was the only DB person in the company back then. But that was later. And I am pretty sure that at some point, I started to work from home when kids were sick, and that was still in the Countryside Apartments, but I can remember when did it start. In any case, I did not have a computer at home at the beginning of my life in Palatine.
Also, I could not possibly know back then that Pam’s idea to move us to Palatine was the second best thing she did for us (the first was just the whole project of bringing us to the US). I didn’t even know back then how different schools are, how different are different neighborhoods; I knew nothing about all of that.
We saw very little of these advantages first because we could not go anywhere. Val was trying his best to take us to places during the weekend, but he had other things than taking care of us. In Des Planes, GG’s family took us grocery shopping with them; now it was on Val. We were fortunate to have Eurofresh just a five-minute drive away from us. Vlad still takes pride in spotting this store when we first drove to Palatine. It was indeed a blessing with my more than tight budget: a variety of food for exceptionally low prices. Back then, they were still a new store and had some tax exemption, so the prices were even lower than now. I managed to spend just a little bit over $50 for each weekly grocery shopping. It was exceptionally careful planning and watching all sales, but it worked.
We could walk to the Y from our apartment, and we were there every Sunday for swimming, or rather splashing in the kids’ pool, and exercising in the small fitness center, where kids could also jump on a small trampoline. Sometimes, the kids would bring flyers from school about free recitals and school shows in the neighboring schools, and I asked Val to drive us there.
My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.