Friday, October 12

And Everything In It's Place

There are exactly 422 students enrolled in the primary school at The International School of The Hague.

I know, because I have counted every one of them.

And then I counted them again.

The last few weeks at work we (meaning my colleagues and I) have had the pleasure of been documenting each and every child attending the primary school. This accounting which is crucial to the Dutch government includes knowing interesting information about each of them such as their name, birth date, address and phone number. Obscurely enough part of the required information is the nationality of each student's parents. Not so obscurely the way to find this information was to open each of those 422 paper files individually and find the information.


You are already picturing the painstaking fun.

Heads bent over paper we have employed multiple techniques to get the information fast. (Of course there was a deadline for this monumental project. What fun would an impossible task be without it?) We filled in temporary forms with information, we read aloud to one another the facts and figures, we deciphered the scrawls of international parents filling in English forms. And we input data as fast as our fingers could fly.

Trust me, it's been a real party.

Today we sat down with the class registers, the printed database and a highlighter pen, to count, recount, and account for all the children attending our school.

And you know what?

We. found. them. all.

Including the 7 children who we knew were attending school (according to class registers) but did not show up on the database. (Like computers know everything? Please.) Something akin to a needle-in-a-haystack search we compared name for name and counted them each and every one. To our delight the missing surfaced and our happy dance began as soon as those names were entered into the computer and the whole file was winging it's way electronically to those who had been breathing down our necks about it need it.

My new favorite number is 422.

And my favorite Dutch word this week?



  1. :D Finnally finished! That calls for a celebration! (I still need to finish that skirt I've been making for about a year now...)

  2. Jenn - I got my beautiful postcard today! Thank you so much! I just returned from vacation yesterday and felt a little down, so it was a wonderful treat.

  3. compleet. hooray! But getting through those really dull tasks was a good way to bond with your colleagues I bet.

    I clicked on the link and looked at the school - looks good!

  4. How lovely! Really. What an accomplishment. I can only imagine what the forms were like to fill out. For. Each. Kid.

    And oh, what a lovely voice you have my dear!!

    And nice penmanship too.


  5. oh I bet you love the next phrase as well "het klopt"

  6. Hurray! Nothing feels quite as good as the completion of an impossible mission. Good for you!

  7. Compleet. You make me smile, thanks. Come see what I said about that:

  8. Congratulations, 422 is a very nice nummber for a school. We have over 1100 at our school, which is too many children.

    I received your very nice postcard today, all the way from Holland.

  9. Well done! I soooooo do not envy you the "accounting" part of your job. Ick.

  10. A wonderful word indeed! Hope you are looking forward to a restorative weekend!

  11. Way to go, Jenn. Compleet, indeed!

  12. Ugh, ugh, ugh... oh, I'm glad you're done! I got a headache just thinking about this. How about some genever? (Is that how you spell it?)

  13. Just visiting peace globe bloggers tonight.
    We will have another BlogBlast For Peace November 7, 2007. You are cordially invited to fly your peace globe and write a Dona Nobis Pacem post that day. Thank you for participating in the past. It will be a fantastic day in the blogosphere! Click here for the scoop and please spread the groovy peace vibe.
    How To Get Your Peace Globe November 2007


  14. Akh!!! What a pain! So glad you finished. I'd say you deserve a weekend away. Like, to Belgium or something...