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Is a magical date. It is the day that -in Belgium- the new school year starts. Even when you have long grown up, this day always does something to you. If it’s not because your own kids go to school, there is always someone around you who takes the day off to assist them on their first day.

The magic soon disappears when you move to the southern hemisphere when, on Sept 1, your kids are in the middle of a term. Here school starts somewhere between the end of February and mid March. Depending on the school. It seems a lot more logic that the school year is the same as the calendar year. At least, it does when you live here.

Thanks to the government we are having more and more national holidays each year, and thanks to them school starts earlier every year, just to be able to come to the 180 days obligatory schooldays. Thanks to them this year school starts slowly, the 2 first weeks being short due to extended weekends. There seems to come no end to holidays here. Every month, there is at least one extended weekend.

Although after 3 months of holidays school comes as a welcome change, it is hard to get started. With these hot nights, dinner at 9 or 10 pm, and waking up at 6:30 am, the nights are extremely short. I know of Argentine fathers who don’t wake up to send their kids off to school, and moms who go back to bed after the kids have left, and I only wish I could be more like them….