Thursday, January 21, 2010

Update: The Kids in GiTMO

It's been a little while since I updated about anything GiTMO, mainly because I'm so busy running around being busy. There isn't anything here that is too far to go to or too complicated, though there are people who are either complicated or just lazy but that's everywhere. I wont focus on that right now.

It's been four weeks since the kids and I set foot on the island and we've shared our beaches, sea glass, and other fun things happening around here. Everyone is waiting for the huge "UGH! get me out of here" to come because sooner or later it does. Like I said before, every base has it's quirks and it's up to us to make things work or life will be miserable.

So on to the kids for a quick update on them:

Emily (15) is in 10th grade and adjusting well (I think?) Teens only say what's convenient for them so for us parents sometimes it's a wait-and-find-out game. But from what I can see she is doing OK. Switching schools was the biggest transition, you know, because of the social impact it has on her life. However, things have been easier because we have friends of all ages in our block. Emily has a friend named Emily. They have a lot in common and get along well. They've started taking tennis lessons together and spend a lot of time doing what most teens do - hanging out at the pool, the NEX, the movies; they even go on long walks as part of their exercise routine--and I use the word routine lightly. But that keeps them from getting bored.

Even though we came in towards the end of the semester, Emily was expected to catch up and do a lot of the work or at least a portion of what the kids were working on. She had to read Great Expectations in Honors English and later write about it, has several other writing projects going on in her Honors History class. In Culinary Arts she had to prepare a meal for us at home and she did a great job considering she's not the best at reading recipes. She started with an Italian theme and soon it became an International theme. She made Chicken Marinara with Bow tie pasta, a lovely Greek salad, French bread, and Strawberry Shortcake for dessert. In Art she was told that her work could be sold because it was that good, she doesn't believe that but I do agree, she is a good artist, especially with pencil drawings.

Natalie also has friends on the block. They get along great, play a lot and play hard. I love to see these kids playing without worries on the playground. Everyone looks out for the kids because everyone has them and we all sort of expect the same from each other. Natalie jumped in feet first and is loving her class. Her teacher doesn't give them time to miss anything. She is a reading advocate. She wants her kids to be a grade ahead of their years in reading and so far she's been able to get all the kids to test above their expected reading level. She's fantastic and everyone loves her. Natalie is also taking Spanish and Computers.

Jonathan has friends here too. Eva his 2 year old friend across the street. She's a cutie. We get together often at home or at the playground and let them run wild. They play well together. Most mom's know that where there are moms there is at least one play group. Here we have a couple to choose from. I prefer the "disorganized" play group. I call it that because we (the moms) get together have conversation with other adults and the kids play in a playroom, outside, everywhere. No planned activities, just play time. Occasionally there are tears due to the whole sharing thing but we resolved that quickly and send them on their way to play again. By the time we leave the kids are ready for a nap and the moms had a great time connecting with other moms. There are a few dads with little kids but I think they have their own way to connect because they never come to the Tuesday morning Coffee.

What have we done for fun lately: we went to a Kareoke Fun Night where Natalie won 1st prize singing A Horse with no Name. Quite funny how many kids sang really old songs and won. We played kickball at the soccer field. We probably had 25 kids there easily and every single kid got to kick that ball. We have been to the movies several times - it's free!! We go for long walks, bike rides or in Jonathan's case, a stroller ride up and down these hills, it's quite the workout. We go to the pool, the beach, and the playground often and when all else fails, we send out an email saying "hey everyone come over for lunch, bring the kids and your lunch" --how fun is that.

While this all seems like really busy time, I do get a lot of time for me to catch up with homework (last semester--woohoo!) and talk to friends online or via google chat (that is the best, like talking on the phone but free), time to watch TV but best of all I always manage to find time to just "be."

The quiet mornings are my favorite. I usually go out back with my coffee or tea and watch the sun rise over the mountains. The bay goes through a rainbow of colors and the still waters just make me want to be still. It really is relaxing and calming and I am blessed to have that to look at every day.

That's it for now. Until next time.
Feel free to leave a comment, ask questions, talk to me!

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