Day 330: Last Day of School

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Today was the last day of school for my kids in Holland. It’s significant to me for several reasons. It is a milestone that we’ve reached as a family and I’m hyper aware of the end of our journey in the Netherlands.

We had several goodbye celebrations to mark the end and transition and to maximize our time with friends.

The hardest part is letting go and hearing Charlie cry from the pain of realizing he won’t see his friends again for a very long time. He made some really great friends here and trying to help him accept and process the loss of such strong connections is difficult, especially when I feel the same way.

Goodbye to all my Holland friends until we meet again. Goodbye to all my expat soul mates who understand this journey and can relate because you’ve been there with me and get it!

And as Jen said to me this morning as the day started, don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened. Great advice that carried me through the day, despite the heavy sadness.

Safe travels my friends until we meet again.

xoxoxoxo
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Full house
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Best friends

Day 221: International Sports

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We are all relaxing on the couch, after a long weekend of basketball, basketball, and more basketball.

The kids had a basketball tournament that started on Friday night and ended today at 5:30 pm.

Juliana’s team took first place, and Christian’s team took fourth.

Here’s what I loved about the tournament:

1. Watching the kids play, of course.

2. Observing the games and cheering and laughing and bonding with the other parents.

3. Seeing the kids cheer for one another, and giving each other high fives.

4. Watching our school teams support each other – girls watching the boys games and the girls watching the boys.

5. Listening to Juliana’s team cheer and sing and dance after they won.

6. Looking at the team rosters from the various international teams and seeing the same cultural diversity across teams.

7. Christian was hanging out with the boys from the Germany team, as he stayed over night at their homes during the Bonn games. He now has friends from other schools in Europe.

8. The mandatory social dance on Saturday night and Juliana meeting someone from San Jose, who was wearing a Sharks hat. Small world.

9. Seeing girls be aggressive and play hard, focused and fighting for the ball.

10. Watching my kids grow up, hanging out for hours between games on their own, being responsible for their own belongings and wanting to take the bus back to school to be with their friends instead of driving back with us. They’re practicing their independence in a safe environment.

Sports are so good for many reasons and watching my kids play in an international environment with teams from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Denmark is still amazing to me. These children come from all over the world and most are expats, just like my kids and they’re all brought together through the love of sports. I love that they chose to participate and were picked to play on their teams.

Life is good!

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Day 203: Global Village

Do you feel like you are part of a village? Do you look after your friends and neighbors and help one another and celebrate each other? I always say the expression, “It takes a village.” And today I felt like I belonged and was thankful for our diverse village.

At our international school, we celebrated Global Village Day. This is a day for celebrating the cultural diversity of our school. There was entertainment, a parade of nations, and “villages” set up by the parents of each community to help the younger children learn about some of the various traditions and foods and activities from each group.

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The United States of America created a large village with multiple booths and was well-received. We had surfing from California, flower lei making from Hawaii, camping in the woods, baseball throwing, football throwing, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, fair- like games, arm tattoos, flag making, butter making, etc.

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Jen and I ran the California Surfing photo booth. We had a lot of fun with the kids, teaching them to hang 10, and to squat down low to catch a wave. They were smiling and laughing and gathering friends to take pics together. The day was a lot of work, but it sure was worth it to see their happy faces.

I took a break to check out the other villages and loved how much fun the adults and kids were having in Africa, Australia, South America, India, Japan, and France to just name a few.

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One group that made me think was the Global Citizens group. What I’ve recently learned is that, some expat children don’t relate to one specific country. Teachers should not ask kids where they are from, because sometimes that can be stressful to them when they are not really from one home town. I can understand that.

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Today I felt like a global citizen. I cheered for Holland and Italy and USA and all the countries with only one or two students representing their home towns. I chatted with the Caucasian mom next to me observing the parade, who cheered for Japan, saying that her baby was born there. She was from Germany and her husband was from France. She speaks German to her baby at home and her husband speaks French, and their friends speak English to the baby, who will be starting school at a local Dutch school in the next couple of years!

I missed home and our own International Night and potluck dinner, celebrating the 26 different languages spoken in our little Silicon Valley school. And I appreciated being where I was, in my new global village with my new friends, while my husband and April and Steve were in Germany for the day exploring Dusseldorf. Life is amazing…. exploring, learning and sharing, playing and laughing in our small world, together!

Namaste.

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