Friday, January 29, 2010

The First Day- Take Two

I love the first day of school. I love the new supplies, the fresh clothes, the eager faces, and the excitement of having a new class. It's the teacher in me, I guess.

So, I was a bit let down by the way the first day of school unfolded for the Little Princess yesterday. First of all, we never got a school supply list so there was no big shopping trip to pick out fresh crayons and textas (that's Aussie for markers). Instead she took her old pencil case from last year. I did buy her new uniforms in the next size but they were too big so I decided just to let the hem out on her old ones. So no fun mother-daughter school clothes and school supplies shopping day.

Nevertheless, she was so thrilled to be starting year 2. She woke up early, got herself all ready had a huge smile on her face when she saw many friends waiting in the COLA (covered outdoor learning area). Unlike our American school, we didn't find out which class she was assigned to. Instead, all the kids line up with their previous teacher and go to their old classroom first thing in the morning. Then, at some point in the morning, they were assigned and moved to the new classroom.

I was eager to hear all about her day, so I waited for her after school. She came bounding out, telling me about how her BFF is in her class and so are several other dear friends. She told me her teacher's name and then bolted off to play with the other kids.

I fished through her backpack, looking for the typical (American) packet of back-to-school paperwork but came up empty handed. Nothing. No note from the teacher, no supply list, no forms to fill out, nothing that shows which classroom she is in or how to spell the teacher's name.

When I asked her about her day here's what I got:
"Tuesday is sport day, Mondays we go to swimming, we have a smart board in our class, we share a room with another class, and we can bring sliced apples into the room to eat while we work." Huh? That's it?

I'm hoping (but not necessarily expecting) to get more information today. This is Australia and as they say, she'll be right. I guess.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You Know You're in Australia When . . .

You know you're in Australia when
you are at the Oval watching your 6 year old do Little Athletics
and a huge kookaburra swoops down
and snatches a sausage
right out of the mouth of the little girl standing next to you
and she is left holding an empty slice of white sandwich bread.
Then you know you are definitely in Australia.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Art for Everyone

It was hot, hot, hot today in Sydney. Since we were in the city and needed a cool place to hang out we decided to hit the Museum of Contemporary Art. My kids love that place.

The Little Princess had fun completing the "Kids Aventure Trail" activities and the Little Buddy surprised us by remembering several of the exhibits we saw when we were last there a few months ago. We were all sad that the "rain room" exhibit was gone, but none of us felt sad that the strange plastic patio furniture display had been replaced by some really interesting modern aboriginal art.
Of course, there was some creepy stuff, like a series of photos showing people in black KluKluxKlan like hoods.
Our very favorite exhibit was the one we nicknamed "the ghost train". We watched it over and over and were all fascinated by this image of a train moving down the tracks and then seeming to disappear right into the wall. Very cool!
Not only is the MCA air conditioned, but admission is free. It's the perfect place to spend a few hours on a hot summer day.

*Photo of the MCA taken during the Sydney Luminous Festival last winter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Day

Today the Little Buddy started preschool. I felt a little sad about it. But it will be good for him to have some time away from me (I guess). The teacher called mid-day and said he had a few tears but an "enjoyable" morning. I'll take that as a good sign.

The Little Princess and I went to pick him up early and he was sleeping like an angel on his little cot. We could have come back later but we woke him up because we missed him so much. Starting next week- 2 days. Hope I can handle it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Home Sweet Second Home

We're back. We all arrived in Australia early Friday morning with Grammy in tow. As usual, the kids were fabulous on the flight for 13 and a half hours, then melted down 30 minutes before landing. They've made this flight across the Pacific 5 times now, so I knew what to expect. But it is a little embarrassing when your 3 yr old starts crying for his headphones after the seat belt sign has been turned on. I'm sure the people around me were wishing I hadn't packed those headphones up so early. Oh well.

It's a little surreal having a life on two continents. When we were home, in our own house, with our own stuff, surrounded by family and friends we've known for years it really felt like home. I was reminded how much I love Southern California. (And the weather was perfect)!

Here are a few photos from our time at Disneyland, which I do believe is the happiest place on Earth.

But now that we are back in beautiful Australia I can't help but appreciate this amazing opportunity we've been given here. We're settling back in to the routine that has become our new life. We're seeing our new friends and realizing how blessed we've been to have met such wonderful people here. And of course, we've been playing at the beach.

Sure, I'm sad to leave my family and friends and behind. Especially because we aren't sure when our next trip to the US will be. But being back in Australia feels like being home, too. And I can't help but be happy to be here.
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