Childhood – The Great Unifier

The girls start school on Monday so, today, we had our parent/student orientation.  I’m a bit of a mixed bag of sentiments with this one. The school is incredible. The student/teacher ratios are super low (approximately 12:1) and the education is internationally-focused which I believe will make our girls (and ourselves) more well-rounded. In addition to the single-grade teachers, there are many “specialist” teachers in various languages, arts, physical education, and more. The lower school principal, a jovial guy that would look right at home in 1920s Atlantic City, greeted us. (Don’t know why, but I instantly thought of John Goodman strolling along the boardwalk, even though he looks nothing like John Goodman.)  He introduced the 29 teachers dedicated to pre-K through grade 5. This is for maybe 150 students, at my best guess.  In Sarnia, I believe it was 24:1, maybe at most 26:1, a significant difference.  Next week, we’ll get some information on all of the after-school programs the kids get to choose from. My understanding is that there is no age or grade requirement to be in these clubs, unlike at our girls’ school back in Sarnia. The school’s hot lunch provider, Air Serbia, has provided the school with an exhaustive 13 page menu, with 5 hot meal options available to students every day. Meals range from $1.25 – $4.00 Canadian, in total, and I couldn’t sign up fast enough. I’m a foodie. I always pack my girls huge, 20-pound lunches because I’m scared that they might suddenly go through a growth spurt at school or that their friends might not have enough to eat, so they can share. I LOVE the hot lunch option, and with more nutritious options than kid-favorite hot dogs and pizza, I’m all in.  Of course, they’ll still get hot dogs and pizza, but we’re all for exposing them to new foods and they have been amazing, even eager to taste them.

Our girls are the most important part of our lives, so we considered the move to Serbia very seriously. When we understood that they would be going to an IB school, that they would have serious advantages in terms of tools and attention, we knew we had to do this, we knew that moving to Serbia would be an incredible opportunity for our children.  I could cry I’m so happy we could do this for them.

I could also cry because my babies will be gone all day, again. When Chris left for Serbia, I had 4 months alone with the girls while we waited for them to finish school in Canada. When we came to Serbia and Chris went to work, it’s been just me and my girls until he returns home in the evening. We’ve always been attached together, but now they are leaving me during the day. What. The. Hell. Am. I. Going. To. Do?

I’ve been dreading being home alone for some time, so I’ve been searching for a local gym, maybe become a gym rat. (Ha ha….er…um..).  I also contacted the University of Belgrade a few times to see if I can get my MBA here at the campus in Belgrade before we return to Canada. I’m thinking they are either on vacation, because they didn’t answer my calls or email, or they don’t speak a stitch of English. On this note, I figured I should still seek higher education while I have the time and opportunity to do so, so I’ve done quite a bit of research on Canadian, American, and European Universities and the online programs they offer. When I was getting my degree (13 years ago), I didn’t regard distance learning as reputable as on-campus learning. Now, universities everywhere offer some pretty interesting, and high-level online academic studies. Marry this with flash-advances in technology and I’m seeing possibilities that I wouldn’t have previously considered. Long story short, I narrowed my search down to a university in London. After a chat with one of their counselors, I was told that my degree needed to be 5 years or newer and that they would consider me as a mature student.  #$@%!, I thought. Really? I’m 39 years old. Does this mean I’m mature? Yes, I get what they mean, but I couldn’t help but feel old.  I also had to carry at least one honors degree. I had to be smart and young, apparently. I did graduate with Distinction (honors), though the year before I carried on with Great Distinction (great honors). I submitted my transcripts, personal essay, resume, and proof of citizenship three weeks ago so I’m patiently waiting. I will be mortified if I get rejected. There, I said it.

I’ll leave you with an image that, in light of recent world events, we all need to see. This is Laura and her new friend.  They are from different countries. They also met for the first time about 5 minutes before I took this picture.

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Author: S.L.Luck

Writer of fiction, non-fiction, and stories in between.

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