We all survived the first week of school! Actually, I think we more than survived, dare I say, they thrived?!? I’ll add an update for each kid…
Avery – we knew going into the move that the transition would most likely be hardest on Avery. We were correct. I met briefly with her new teacher (Mrs Sapna, many teachers here go by their first name…). Sapna immediately picked up on Avery being a perfectionist. If she doesn’t know how to do something, she gets very upset. Needless to say she was spending a lot of time the first week in tears. Ironically at home she was happy, chattering about school and excited to get on the bus. She has made a few new friends, the girls in her class seem very sweet. There is a birthday party coming up this weekend which she is excited for. Academically, I think she’s ok. Sapna said she reads well but struggles in phonics. Not surprising since they don’t really teach phonics at home. Hopefully the emphasis on that here will be of benefit. She also has nightly homework (mostly reading, a little math). It’s a lot of reading and we’re struggling to do it early enough in the evening so she’s not too tired. It’s hard to have a good afternoon routine when it always feels like summer. For now, at school she knows she can always go to Mrs Sapna for a hug and that seems to be enough. Oh! And I forgot! Avery tried our for the school play. She was VERY scared to go try. But I am so proud of her for doing it. She didn’t make it (they were very sweet about it and she was totally ok with it). The good news is that not being in the play means she can take her much anticipated parkour class.
Liam – honestly, he has been such a trooper during this whole move. He’s always up for an adventure and generally complains the least. Continuing his streak with always getting the best teachers, his teacher, Ms Christou seems absolutely amazing. She invited all the new families to meet with her on Friday afternoon and gave us all the info and more! I love her already and so does Liam. Liam is loving having a block schedule with more time to learn. He is enjoying mandarin and learning about Chinese New Year. He also loves his UOI or unit of inquiry. This unit they’re discussing energy. The teacher also uses whatever their UOI topic is in math and language arts. For his homework this week he has to write a science fiction story about what would happen if the sun went dark. I can’t wait to see what he writes! Liam also has his very first orchestra audition. They are VERY serious about music here. Most of the kids begin as toddlers with Suzuki lessons. So I was very proud of Liam for standing up proudly, playing his scale and twinkle, twinkle. The instructor gave great feedback, saying that despite his lack of experience, his tone leads them to believe with a little hard work, he will progress quickly. They placed him not in the beginner group but 2 groups up. Hopefully he is ready for the challenge!
Liam also tried out for the swim team on Friday! He’s always enjoyed summer swimming at BRYC but has never been keen to swim all year round. I think the nice facilities here coupled with the extreme heat have made him change his mind, which Ryan and I are so excited about. He will be on the developmental team. They like them to practice 4 days a week, but we are going to try for 3 days. Coupled with one day of soccer and one orchestra, he will have something everyday after school and a swim practice either on Friday or on Saturday or Sunday. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m so proud of him for trying!
Ella – this move was also a complete unknown for us with her. As most people know, she has been struggling with some pretty severe anxiety for a long time now. The change was scary for all of us. While the week was not 100% bump free, all in all, I think she did amazing. Every morning instead of homeroom here, they have advisory. Her group is made up of students that have all moved here this year. They have a teacher who’s job it is to make sure they are doing ok. All middle and high school students here have advisory. They also discuss social issues. This week they are discussing bullying with names. With calling names or making fun of someone’s name. I love this acknowledgement that kids this age need someone to ask them everyday if they are ok. Not just happen to notice, but to actually sit down with them and check in. It’s awesome. Ella also received her long awaited iPhone. I’m happy to report she’s busy WhatsApp’ing away to 2 new friends, Vanessa and Cory. Both are American and in her advisory group (both moved here at the beginning of the year). She has a third potential friend, an Israeli girl named, Maya. Hopefully these friendships progress to the meeting up outside of school phase but either way, I’m so happy she’s making friends! School seems to be going well, though I have less contact with it since it’s all on the computer. Ella also tried out for the orchestra (also having a month off) and was placed in a group that is so excited to have a bass player. There are very few bass players here. We still have to figure out an instrument for her to practice on, but one step at a time!
Such a beautiful bass!
Erin & Ryan – how are we doing here? Hectic. Now that the kids are in school I thought it might calm down. But I’m still waiting. Between being stuck in the condo waiting for deliveries/service people and the never ending grocery shopping (starting to get the hang of that) the days go by in a blink. It also take me about 45 minutes to get to the kids school which I’ve been coming up more than I anticipated (in fact I’m sitting at school writing this!). Figuring out their after school activities and transport has proven frustrating. Making friends has also proven slower than anticipated. I know that I need to get involved to make friends, but that feels a bit far away as I’m still struggling with the day to day. Had a totally frustrating day yesterday where I accomplished nothing. Cried the whole way home from the kids school on the MRT. Good news is it’s a teachable moment for the kids. This is hard for all of us. Ryan’s working a lot, those extra hours he gained from the short commute have been sucked up by the 24 hour work cycle of maintains his position in the US. We knew what it would be but it’s still hard. All in all life here is pretty great, it’s just that sometimes it’s not home. Life’s not all the post-able moments. But, I take heart that the routine will settle in and soon this will feel at least a little like home.