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San Silvestre Prom XXX - my school class!
San Silvestre beginnings
In April 1963 my father withdrew both my sister Susie and myself from our school due to a discussion with the school director over a matter of principle. For two weeks we had no school to go to, until my parents found St Marks School, which accepted us. The problem was they had no secondary school, so they had to invent a special English class just for me! The main idea was to improve my English, so I was supposed to follow the English teacher around, regardless of the grade she was teaching! I had already finished primary school, but in the new school, my classmates were much younger than I was! As she did not have good hand writing, I had to write everything on the blackboard for the teacher and also read things, as students understood my accent better than hers. I was also the oldest girl in the school and I resented that. I believe the year spent in that school disappeared my confidence and it took me long to recover from the experience.
One day I had to go to San Silvestre for a test, as a vacancy had turned up, and I was lucky to be able to start there in April 1964. My sister Susie was not so lucky, as she had to wait for another year, which meant she was not able to graduate like I did. I was placed in the B class at first, but soon I was transferred to the A one. We had a Latin test when I first started and the mark I got was 0 and that was the first time I failed a subject in school! But when we sat for our Cambridge University exams in 1968, I was one of the few who passed Latin! I still remember the locative for a place in Latin and that was Gadibus, so that became my nickname from then on!
San Silvestre was organized by the British Council and it was a very international school. Many girls were either born overseas or their parents were. One of my best friends was Vera N, whose parents were originally from Czechoslovakia. When I visited Prague in the early 1990's, I was happy to see that well known Bata shoe logo!
My favorite subjects in school were Geography and Maths while Art and Peruvian History were the subjects I liked the least. It's funny now that of my two children, Gisela has opted for Visual Communication (Graphic Design), while Christopher's is fascinated with History!
While in school I joined the Girl Guides and we made many fun outings. Vera also had a weekend house in Chosica, a town about 42 km from Lima and I was lucky to be invited to spend many happy weekends there with her family!
At the beginning of 1968, my parents sent me to Wethersfield, Conn. for 3 months, so I could go to school there. I really enjoyed my stay and I perfected my English. Half way through that year and once back in Lima, my father told me that the family would be migrating to Australia in 1969 and my whole world suddenly disintegrated before me!
The time came to think about our school album, prom party, as well as our school ring. I still wear that ring, designed by Simone F, on my left hand, so I can see the 68 written on the side! I have lost it twice, but were lucky to find it again below my bed, in Santo Domingo and again in Austria!
After our graduation, I had to leave Peru on January 16 to fly alone to Hobart, our new home. I enrolled in Tasmania Univ. a couple of months later and I enjoyed it there. Unfortunately, Tasmania was not a tropical island, so we were forced to look for a warmer place somewhere else and found it Brisbane, Queensland (the Sunshine State)!
The work I did in the Univ. of Queensland inspired me to study librarianship, in what today is called the Univ. of Canberra, so 1973 saw me moving to the capital city for a most successful year. It was there that I met my Peruvian friend Javier and we are still in contact! He was the one who sent me a few Caretas magazines, with pictures not only of Vera and her husband Gabriel but also of our friend Marietta R and her daughter, who studied in our school.
1976 was a bad year for us, as a friend of my father did the dirty on him and we lost our house, Inka Shop and the business importing Latin American handicrafts. Unfortunately, Foreign Affairs did not help him, even though he was Peruvian Consul then. A few months after that experience, he decided to return to Latin America and found a job in Santo Domingo (SD), Dom Rep. and we all followed him. I ended up developing a love affair with that country and I am sorry not to have become a Dominican citizen, even though I had the chance then.
My sister Susie and I took 7 months to get from Brisbane to SD, as we went past New Zealand, Peru and many Latin American countries and that trip was quite an experience! I arrived in SD in April for the start of 12 beautiful years, where I was not only able to succeed as the librarian in the Central Bank, but I also make many meaningful friendships there.
The country Down Under called in 1988 with Expo 88 in Brisbane and it was there that I met Gernot, whom I married a year later and that was when that my travels really started! We lived for four years in what had been my city before (Brisbane) and it was there that our two children were born. With the kids only 4 and 18 months old, we moved to Austria, so Gernot could accept his dream job, as Prof for Structural Analysis in the city of his birth, Graz.
My father had his first spinal operation in 1958, but that needed to be followed by a few others. In 1979, he traveled to the U.S to collect money for the victims of the hurricane that hit the DR and his doctor decided to operate once again, but there was a problem and he was left completely paralyzed! Nineteen years followed with my father continuing his social development work from his wheelchair until he passed away in 1998.
My mother married a Canadian and moved to his country, but then he passed away, the cold got to her and she ended up moving to her home country Uruguay for four years. Mid 2010 she visited Australia, liked it and she settled there with my sister Sonia and her son.
Gernot will be becoming Emeritus towards the end of 2012, our son Christopher will be finishing high school, while our daughter Gisela is already in Melbourne, where she is studying. My husband was appointed Adjunct Professor in Newcastle so that is where we are moving to next year.
A few of the girls had the idea to create a site on Facebook called San Silvestre XXX prom and they contacted everybody and published many old pictures there! They plan to have a big reunion lasting for a few days in Lima on June 9, 2012, to coincide with everybody's 60th birthday that year. I am always wishing to have more friends, but I could not believe my eyes when all of a sudden, all these friends from the past started contacting me through FB!
I have not forgotten our teachers and it seems that neither have the girls! I will always remember how to spell possessive, as Miss Munro used to repeat P.O.S.S.E.S.S.I.V.E to us all the time! When my son was in primary I also used to say that he had to sharpen his pencils, as Miss McKay used to break ours when they were not sharpened!
Many of the girls I could recognize as they had not changed much, but many of the others I had no idea who they were, so I had to hover my mouse over the pictures to read their names! The problem is that some use their husband's names, others have colored their hair, while others have changed their appearance! Some are already grandmothers too, so the FB pictures I see might belong to a daughter, so what hope have I got? 43 years is a very long time my friends, an eternity really!
I like Austria, it is beautiful, with nice mountains, lakes and forests, but the problem is that Austrians and I don't seem to have the same wavelength! It is like the I am from Venus and you are from Mars lyrics! I have really tried hard, but despite having once learned English, French and Latin, German has just escaped me! Even after more than 18 years living here, I still feel like one of the 3 monkeys!
In addition to the language, I have also had difficulties making friends and getting a job. In contrast, when I was in Australia for a week last year, I was able to buy a car, get my old tax file number, get a copy of my Australian Driver's License and open an Australian Business Number, which allowed me to get paid for translation work done here in Austria! I am looking forward to living in a place where things are possible! I am sorry, but I feel very inadequate here, where I am always Frau Beer and not just Sylvia!
I would like to thank all the girls involved with our site in FB, as they are doing a great Sherlock Holmes, or as they sometimes call it, Gestapo job! Special thanks to them!
We had a set of twins in our class, Marie Odette and Marie Claire, but we also had a second pair who spoke French and had an Italian surname, but they did not stay for long. The girls have done some research and even found the story of those second twins on Internet and it turned out to be a tragic one, which was very sad to hear! Three of our friends have also passed away, either from a car accident, cancer, or another medical problem.
The love for my country is still there and the evidence are all the hubs I have written in HubPages, without having been there for many years!
Please visit http://sylvia13.hubpages.com/ if you would like to read some of my hubs.