School supply shopping is still kind of a new thing for me. We did it twice in the States, then once very hastily in January here in Greece. Many parents I know love it: the joy of fresh supplies, new beginnings, kids back in school. But me? I’m not a fan. Poring over a vague-yet-very-specific list of items while dodging the usual clientele at Walmart is not my idea of fun. And now I have to do it in a foreign country. Double not fun.
I wisely left baby Violet with the sitter. I knew this was going to take the better part of an afternoon. First stop, IKEA, because of one item on the list: 3 of each Zip Lock IKEA style bags (small, medium, large). I decided to attempt to make this a fun mother-son outing, so we had lunch first (Meatballs without mashed potatoes…still gets my goat), then headed to the ground floor to hunt for these bags. Along the way we picked up some markers and erasers that were on the list…and nothing else. Apparently IKEA does not have a robust back-to-school supply section. We wandered around a bit, asked someone who told us to go to the wrong place, then happened to find them along the way. Each box was about 4 Euros, and I was unclear if they wanted three boxes of each size or just three boxes total. I decided to err on the side of cheapness.
Next stop, everybody’s favorite, Jumbo!
Now I can’t quite figure if this is a Greek thing, or maybe just an ACS thing, but instead of listing regular pocket folders like we’ve always gotten in the past, Liam has to get these enormous plastic folders with bands on the corners that cost twice as much. Then we had to find a ruler with centimeters on it…mostly so I could measure the requested “Greek style” notebooks that were apparently smaller than all the others. He needed five of those in four colors..don’t ask me how that figures out. We ended up with two red because that was his favorite color. But then he needed a regular, non-spiral bound A4 size notebook for Greek as a Foreign Language, so then we had to find one of those. There were seriously piles and piles of notebooks everywhere, and they were either spiral bound, or didn’t have enough pages, or weren’t the right size. But in the end we found everything we needed.
Liam was emphatic about his new backpack. It had to have wheels, and lots of pockets. He picked out a very cool Star Wars one. Holy Hell, it’s 40 Euros! This kid doesn’t even like Star Wars! But he begged and pleaded, so I told him he’ll have to keep this back pack for the duration of our stay, probably until fourth grade. And it is a pretty rad back pack. Maybe I can have it when he’s done.
At the checkout I plunked down 100 Euros. So that’s 60 Euros just on school supplies, roughly $70. Oh, and another 15 or so at IKEA. Ouch. I don’t think I ever broke $50 on my last two school supply excursions back in Kansas. And that was including a new backpack. But maybe my memory is hazy. Anyone want to weigh in?