I love this time of year. All the new grads going off to college. I love the pics of new dorm rooms, movie set-like campuses, and proud parents. Hard to believe we’re only two years away from that milestone. Congrats to all of you new grads and parents. I was going to list you all, but I think that would add a paragraph. Anyway, you all know who you are.
I didn’t always like this time of year. For us, too often, it’s come with lots of tears, and that all too familiar feeling of not fitting in anywhere, like a ghost walking through other peoples’ lives. This year, Alex (grade 11) entered her 8th school, Catherine (grade 9) her 5th. For many of their former classmates in Marin, high school will be their 3rd school. So, you can understand why I approached this new school year with a lot of hope and even more anxiety . . . Waiting to see what kind of mood would walk in the door . . .
August 13, 2015, 3:54 pm, 3:55 pm, BAHM! The door flies open with laughter, excitement, stories, awesome teachers, swim team, archery, new friends, Tata from Thailand, Dahi from Korea, Chiori from Fukuoka, Japan, Lenaia from Germany, Senju from Japan, Thomas from Thailand, Tashi from Bhutan, Didzis from all over the place, all third country kids, all who know what it’s like to be the new kid, all incredibly welcoming, all alike in their extremely diverse backgrounds. My heart was bursting. I was the happiest I have been since we arrived, and so, so very relieved. And, more importantly, my girls were the happiest they had been for a long time. Also, relieved that Prem really was going to be very different.
Alex was able to meet with two counselors before school started; one helped her pick her International Baccalaureate Diploma Program classes for the next two years, another explained how the IBDP works for college applications. Both meetings were incredibly motivating. Alex, basically, has a clean slate in terms of grades, and if she works hard and tests well over the next two years, her dream school is well within reach. The academic counselor also told her of many other science programs, conducted in English, that would be within her reach . . . some in The Netherlands, the U.K., Singapore, and Japan!!
Catherine started off her first two days of school participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award with her homeroom class, team building and problem solving, she described it as parkour meets tough mudder. She loves her teachers, her classmates, the cafeteria, and swim team. Yes, she signed up for swimming after school, joined the swim team, and she’s loving it.
They are both working harder than I have ever seen them work at school, but they are happier than I have seen them in a long time. Everyday they come home from school happy, with some great story to tell. The change in their behavior since school has started made me realize just how stressed out they have been over the last few months, not so much about the move, but about starting a new school, again.
This whole adventure, with the intention of solving an economic problem, has turned out to be the best thing we have ever done for our girls.