Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2nd Grade.

I sent P off to second grade this last week. She was giddy and ready to go back. Our summer had been busy. It included a 9 day trip to visit with family and friends across the country. Lots of flying and driving which translates to lots of family bonding time. Back to school for P is a nice bit of independence for her.

P is so full of confidence and has ongoing friendships with peers she attended preschool with. Our town is small and we frequently see friends out and about. At the park, store, or library we usually run into a few. It is rare that we venture out without someone shouting out her name to say hi.

I don't remember finishing first grade. We moved. Our house was packed up, garage sales were had, things given away or put in storage. Giant crates arrived and what we were taking was loaded. Our dogs were left in the care of close friends and we, along with my cat, made the long voyage across the country to Tennessee. Our journey didn't end there. 

My cat was left in the care of my grandparent's neighbor and my dad took off to New York and then to our new destination while my mom, brother and I waited. I spent the next month or so just hanging out with family. I had so much fun. I joined my older cousins in their classrooms at school, I played, I caught lightening bugs, played dress up in my grand mothers clothes. She had these gold strappy sandals with a chunky heel. They were grown up princess shoes and they had been made just for me! 

When our time in Tennessee ended, we boarded a plane for NYC then connected a flight to Heathrow. It was an overnight flight. They served us food. My brother and I ate two hotdogs a piece! Then we fell asleep with our arms and legs sprawled over our mother. Upon waking we had little busy bags from our aunts and cousins to open, a hot breakfast then landed. I walked off the plane with a cockney accent and we met my dad just beyond customs. 

Our stuff didn't arrive for a very long time. We began school and I was now in "level 3/4." It was a private Catholic school. The gray wool uniforms were different from the red and blue plaid jumpers I wore back home. The children stared at me. I looked down. They laughed at me when I talked. I kept quiet. They all stopped eating when I held my fork in my right hand. I still hold it in my left hand to eat today.

The milk had cream on too, they drank tea all the time and weird cakes with jelly on the bottom, they had strange names for everyday things. I missed my cat. I missed my friends. I missed home.

Our stuff finally arrived. It spent roughly two months docked while waiting for customs clearance. When the crates were finally opened a bunch of our stuff had succumbed to mold. Including my new Strawberry Shortcake purse I had received for my birthday.

The mold wasn't the only thing to take up residence in our personal goods while we waited for their familiarity to ease our homesickness. Cockroaches all but poured out of the crates when the lid was lifted.

I had my family. We are close. I had my beloved blanket my grandmother made with I was little and that was a great comfort. She joined us for quite an extended visit while we were there.

Friends called and wrote, we attempted to stay up late for the Superbowl, we started drinking tea more often, we rode double decker busses and trains, we shopped at Harrod's and Hamby's toy store, we fed pigeons in Trafalgar Square, we were tourists to the Tower of London, Picadilly Circus, and Carneby Street, we tried to make the guards smile, We saw Michael Crawford on stage in "Barnum." I made my First Communion and learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.

We had a little shop up the street from our big house with the green door that sold hotdogs and Lucky Charms cereal. We rescued a lost hedgehog. Santa came at Christmas and we still celebrated Thanksgiving. One night it even snowed.

We loved abroad for almost 2 years and created happy memories where we were which also included touring many other countries in Europe. We had no control over that relocation. If an over seas opportunity opened up for my family today I would not hesitate. We moved back to the states sometime during third grade and I had my first taste of public schools and another happy memory filled time in a place that was still not back home.

1 comment:

  1. An endearing story to say the least. Thank you for sharing a part of your life, I so enjoyed it. I too have moved many times, to strange new places, and I still love to travel. I think it's an education in itself.:)