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And she's off

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Oct 13, 2020

To school camp that is. Due to the timing of our moves, our girls have never been on school camp before, but this morning it was Madam S’s turn!

She was sooooo excited! 

We’ve just finished 2 weeks mid semester break, and the whole holiday she was planning what she’s going to pack, which bag she was going to take, what she was looking forward to most. The fact that this was postponed from March due to lock down, I think added to the anticipation immensely. But what I’ve been most surprised by, she wasn’t nervous or anxious about anything.

Watching her this morning with her friends, she’s a different child. 

We’ve been in New Zealand for just over a year, and today is 1 year since they started at their school. Madam S has grown, changed and developed so much. I feel so proud of her! 

In Taipei for example she wouldn’t read aloud in her guided reading group, and this was a small group of four with two of her closest friends in the group. Each morning I had to walk her to the classroom. I knew I should be fostering her independence, but at the same time I didn’t want to push too hard and add to her concerns.

Arriving in Auckland and starting at a new school, she was immediately open with her new teacher. She made new friends very quickly and even volunteered to present to the new girls on orientation what it’s like to be new at this school! I couldn’t believe it when the teacher told me what she had done! 

At the end of last term she did a speech, they weren’t allowed to bring it home at all, it had to be completed in class time. Her topic was SkyDiving – what the heck? After she had presented her speech to the class, she did bring it home and she asked me to record it for the grandparents. I was amazed – she had confidence, humour, interesting facts and posed questions to the listener. Brilliant!

Then this morning as I was driving home after dropping her off for camp, I found myself pondering – how has this happened? What’s changed?

I know at the core, Madam S has found confidence in herself. She isn’t concerned at all by what others might think of what she says or does, which helps her to shed her inhibitions. She loves her teachers, and she has made lovely little friends. Perhaps it’s her age, or her experience as a TCK but she is really interested in other people, she asks loads of questions about views and opinions. Madam S is very thoughtful, she’s always making love letters or gifts for her friends. 

So on reflection, I think it’s the whole package (the school, the environment, the peer group, her TCK experiences and her own developmental stage) that has created this amazing, opinionated, empathetic young lady. And I couldn’t be prouder!

In a few weeks it’s Miss J’s turn to go on camp… I wonder if she will have the same confidence?

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