Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to school they go.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to school they go.

Watching my two sons go off on their first day of school left me a mixed bag of emotions including being happy, sad, nostalgic, thoughtful, nervous, excited and a bit worried.

I spend a lot of time with kids in general and I get sort of attached.

That’s probably natural, right?

I wonder, however, where is the line between being and adult and a kid, a teacher or a parent and a friend.

My mom always said I was like a  mom to her. Ha ha ha. Yes, we are today very good friends. But crossing that line at times from being the parent or the teacher to being a friend is a very fine line, delicate too.

Perhaps what is best is to find a good balance and some days be friends when you are out having fun, say at a park or something, or other times, be the parent or teacher when it’s time to talk seriously.

It’s hard for me to fathom the school system now here in Italy as compared to what I’m used to in sunny southern California.

That’s why I love it. It’s SO different than the United States’ school system. God Bless America.

God bless the world for that matter.

The main difference is that here there aren’t lockers, sports events, dances associated with schools that I know of.

Did you read that?

Here there aren’t lockers, sports events, dances associated with schools that I know of.

I cannot WAIT until the ipod is diffused and my kids can stop hauling 20 pound backpacks full of text books back and forth. I’m exaggerating for literary purposes because the truth is that they only occasionally bring their books back and forth depending on if they have homework. I think the teacher keeps them on shelves. I cannot remember.

When I taught, the older kids in secondary school, jr. high, middle school and high school, the students had their backpacks, rucksack, on the floor near their desks and their pencil cases open on their desks. Except for the time the one girl whipped out her camera and thought it would be funny to post pictures on facebook. Still happens.

I’m off topic.

Topic.

What surprised me living here in Europe was to learn that my kindergarten through fifth grade teacher for my son was the SAME TWO TEACHERS from 8a to 4p every single day for five years.

Some parents like that. Obviously it depends on if you like your teachers or not. We liked ours. They have both changed this year after the first four years so my older son, who is 10, has two new teachers.

I don’t know about you but I’m fiercely protective over my children. I asked how school went. I heard that the teacher said the kids were grounded during break and had to do make up exercises for summer homework.

Say what?

That just about sent me to the Principal’s office. Okay, these are kids reporting but I do know from first hand experience that grounding kids during break is used as a punishment, but NOT ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. Are they out of their minds?

Of course, it was only partially true. It was more like, a minute to review homework.

But I’m watching them like a hawk. I heard my son got reprimanded because he put his hand on the window to touch hands with his brother. WHAT? Again, my blood started to boil. I mean, reprimanding someone for brotherly love? But then I thought, okay, you or I weren’t there, we don’t know what happened, and perhaps it was disturbing the class or at an inappropriate moment.

No, it happened while waiting for lunch. Okay, I don’t like kids touching my windows either.

I need to take a serious step back however because I have to let my children go and live their own lives, at the same time trust that the teachers know what they are doing.

I know that the teachers have their work cut out for them, that teaching is one of the most difficult, challenging and rewarding jobs there is.

Unfortunately our educational system and national budget cuts have been effecting the school systems’ ability to thrive for years.

I did have a sweet moment however with my son this morning when he said he is worried about his new teacher being mean. I just said, Well, then you be nice. She probably needs it.

I asked him, You know how I get mad and angry sometimes? It’s only because I’m going through a rough time.

I asked him if he could try to see a little bit beyond just someone being mean and realize that perhaps she was that way because she had problems at home, or something. We don’t really know, do we, what problems someone is going through?

As my one friend, B says, don’t think it’s different out there for someone else. Everyone has their problems and worries.

Well, there you go. Off to a new start. Hope it is a good one. Sure of it. I plan on doing a list of goals. I’ve got a rough draft.

How about you. I’m so sorry. I went off on my life and schools. How have you been? Are your kids getting back to school? What do you think about parents and teachers being friends? What do you think about having one teacher for many years as opposed to having many teachers?

Thanks for dropping by. It’s nice to see you.

 

What my I wish I knew when I was 20.

It’s been a good ride. I’ve had some good years and some difficult. The way I say it is that my life has been a bit of a ride uphill, sort of like going up a ski lift, and from now on out, I’m expecting to slalom down softly.

I don’t think I’ve learned too much along the way. In fact, the more I know, the more I realise the less I know. But there some things I wish I knew when I were younger. Here they are.

What my current self would have told my younger self.

The friends I made when I was young are going to be the same friends I have now. I didn’t know that. I’ve made quite a few friends a long the way but I truly count my closest friends on one hand, okay two. I met them when I was in University, and even a couple in high school and I consider them to know me better than anyone in the world.

That growing up where I did was awesome.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I am now realizing how lucky I was to have grown up in Southern California. When I left it, I was quite certainly ready to move on. But somethings remain. Things like having to have studied at some of the best schools, the privilege to have gone to University in Silicon Valley and riding my bike to and from campus, the privilege of meeting my best friend there.

I realize now that I was privileged to have things like having a swimming pool, tennis court, baseball and football field around my high school. These are all things I took for granted.

I believe that striving towards excellence in academics and sports were the two most important decisive factors on who I believe I am as an adult. My father told me a little competition is good for you.

My friends and I all started on the swim team around eight years old. I swam all through high school. J9, can you still smell the chlorine and remember how red our eyes would get? I was also a huge fan of my brother playing baseball and basketball and spent a lot of time cheering for him.

One of my favorite parts of high school was taking the stats for the Junior Varsity and Varsity basketball team. I knew more about free throws, rebounds, three point shots and assists than the players themselves. I am speaking strictly from a statistical perspective. Scouts would come and ask me who was the best and I could rattle off averages.

My little awards sit in a jewelry box. Little remnants of honors and achievements.

Other things I wish I knew.

That one day I would have decided to move to Europe. If I can think of one riveting moment in my life it was the day I decided I wanted to live abroad. It wasn’t actually a moment but a progression of choices that paved my path. I feel so blessed to have lived in both Europe and USA. What a fantastic education. Moreover was the choice to be able to go back and forth, not at a whim, but as parter of a bigger plan.

There is no other place I’d rather be than right here right now.

I didn’t know

That my children would speak Italian. I never thought I would have Italian speaking children. It’s quite adorable actually. They speak English well too. Believe me, I insist ~ not all of the time, but a lot of the time.

I think the ONE most important things I have learned as an adult is the capacity to give. For some reason as a child I just felt like I wanted material objects. Maybe I felt this way in order to compensate for the attention I felt I needed but didn’t get. I don’t know.

Now I just want to give. I heard so many times the more you give the more you receive but I think I didn’t believe it. It’s true.

I learned to trust the Lord. It’s not an easy road to give in to His will. In fact, it’s quite a daily struggle but I have learned He does provide, is a loving father and has given me more than I feel I deserve. For that I am truly thankful.

Hope this post finds you lovely and in love.

Julie