Friday, April 29, 2011
There is a lot of prep work to moving and frankly, I am tired already. Lots and lots of paperwork. Getting our housing, getting our temporary housing, getting our title to ship our car, finding out what is in the Welcome Kit when we get to Brussels, looking at luggage, you get the gist - a lot of hassle.
We are supposed to be in temporary housing for seven weeks. The good news is our temporary housing is in the same 'hood as our permanent housing. The bad news, our stuff, the stuff that has been in storage since July 2010 will remain in storage until we get to our permanent house. This means once again, we will live out of a crate of stuff for seven weeks.
Word on the street is they are redoing the kitchen in this future home of ours. Good news: We get a new kitchen. Bad news: seven weeks? With projects like these I always expect the unexpected and hope to be pleasantly surprised if things actually stick to schedule. Does that make me a pessimist or an optimist trying not to get bummed?
Oh, and the best part? We have sponsors. This is the person that you email and answer questions before coming to post. A good sponsor usually throws in a few groceries or a meal, an average sponsor answers an email or two and picks you up from the airport. So for our sponsors have been great. They just got to post a few months ago and are really tolerant of my anxieties.
The one thing our sponsor did stress is the need to get on the preschool bandwagon, now.
As in NOW.
So this is how I feel about the whole preschool thing, I think preschool is a good thing for a kid. I do not think preschool sifts the wheat from the tares academically speaking. I think my kids can probably learn as much from me at the grocery store as they can at some fancy preschool. I feel like the onus of academic learning from toddler to child is on me. Stella reads now, she is doing great, I am not at all worried about her getting ahead or getting behind. Tiger is a mama's boy and I will look at preschools for him in January or so.
So...I have a major problem with preschools charging $12,000 for tuition a year. I love my kids but there is no way I could possible justify that kind of cash for preschool. That should go to a college fund, which I may add would be more than the cost of my entire four years of tuition during undergraduate. So, no I am not going to put my kids in expensive fancy preschools.
Brussels has many free preschool options starting at 2 1/2 years old. They are in French and this could be a good opportunity for them to learn a second language.
So the hunt begins.
The CLO has a 70 page out-dated document that is start. A lot of the numbers and emails are disconnected but it gives me a name and a good description.
Seth helped me translate an email that I can send to the schools if I can find an email address.
And then there is the phone.
I decide to try out the extent of my French and call someone, after all schools are full of teachers and educated Europeans who should speak English, right? This is what I am trying to tell myself as I figure out how to dial out of the U.S.
My conversation goes like this:
SCHOOL: (French accented) Blah blah blah
ME: Bonjour! Parlez vous Anglais?
SCHOOL: (French accented silence) No Madam
ME: Hmph, mrph, hmmm, OK well then. I guess I will call back. Ummm. Sorry. Gracias. Merci
And then I hung up and cried.
It wasn't the actual lack of conversation. It was the harbinger of things to come. The big fat red harbinger of what I am so incredibly freaked out about.
My husband has had a job of learning two languages in the past eight months. When he gets to work he will be surrounded by folks who all speak English. He will be surrounded by things that make sense.
I have had a job of watching two small children and trying to fit in a few hours of work a week at home. When I get to Belgium I am going to have to navigate getting settled and getting around. I will be alone throughout the day. I will be surrounded by people that speak French and nothing will make sense.
Can you see my anxiety here?
Friday, April 22, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
The flight from DC to Sarasota is two hours. After doing Manila, Salt Lake City, Hawaii, even a car ride during rush hour, this flight was supposed to be cake.
So there I was completely and totally prepared for a flight. I am like MacGuyver Mom of flying. I have baggies of food, baggies of snacks, a change of clothes, toys, new toys, ipods loaded with new games and videos. I am about as prepared as I can get.
For those of you who did not watch Star Trek every day when they got home from school while eating chips and salsa, check it out now on Netflix with the chips and salsa. This is how my kids seem once they are given an ipod. Totally wired in.
So there I was trying to keep the iPod big guns put away until that magical ding that says its okay to turn on electronic devices. So I pulled out paper and pens. The iPod of the 80s.
We had yet to even start taxiing so the kids had the tray tables down and they were coloring. Tiger really loves to make dots. He does this while saying, "dot, dot, dot, dot." An older lady sits down in front of us. Tiger continues to color. The older lady says, "Stop kicking my seat." I politely inform her we are simply coloring and there are no feet near her seat. Tiger colors some more and she yells, "STOP KICKING MY SEAT." All of this before we had even left the gate. I told her I was doing the best I could and looked around at my seat neighbors to see if I was the only one who thought she was being ridiculous.
I knew this was going to be a long two hours.
Fortunately everyone around must have looked at this single mom with two kids and gave me pity. A couple behind me switched so ole crotchety could get to her Floridian promise land without my son's pointillism disturbing her.
When we got up to switch Stella was confused and asked why we were switching. In a much needed passive aggressive move on my part I told Stella we had to move because some people were grouchy about her and Tiger's coloring. I know, lame but it felt good to say it out loud.
And then we got to Florida. We went to the beach every day. We played with cousins. It was perfect, perfect except for one giant gaping hole in the plan: no Seth.
I admit my secret furlough back up plan was to fly Seth out to Florida to be with us. But alas, the powers-that-be managed to get it together at the eleventh hour and so I was able to try out semi-single parenting. I have to say, I am capable but I prefer a husband. So to my friends who have or are doing it: hats off.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
This means in about 1200 sq feet there are six children. Of the six children four of them are three and under. But we are in Siesta Key!
So, the good news is there is water and sand and pretty much that is all you need when you are three and under. The bad news is I spent a night with both children trying to climb into my air matress bed. Not my best night but last night was better. (It helped that Stella is not "shy" around her cousins anymore and could sleep in the same room as them).