End of Term

Today (Friday 29 September) is the end of the 3rd term for the girls. They did it! They’ve survived their first quarter of school way down here. And they killed. Settled into a routine, made friends, made good grades (well Gracie has – no idea what’s going on with Tate, and honestly don’t even really care), tried new things, and impressed the snot out of us with how they’ve just rolled with it. The next two weeks are school holidays – for the whole country. They do year-round school here and their years start with the calendar. They get two weeks between each quarter and six between the end of one year (mid December) and the beginning of the next (late January/early February). It makes much more sense to do it this way here, especially because their summer is December, January, and February. So we leave on Monday for Sydney, Australia and are taking a cruise to New Caledonia. I know nothing about it – the Professor has organized the whole thing – but will update you when I can. Can’t wait!

Last Friday was the Book Parade at Tate’s school. It happens on the last day of the Book Fair – the kids dress up as their favorite character and then there’s a parade. It’s a really fun idea, and oh my gosh – those little four-year olds are way too cute. Tate “dressed up” as Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson, which should’ve been SO easy, because it’s a t-shirt and jeans. But it’s a very specific t-shirt, so we went on a major search for the all-important Camp Half Blood t-shirt, but to no avail. So then we looked for just an orange t-shirt, but even that wasn’t happening here in the capital city. HUGE shout-out to our new friends the McDowells for hooking her up with the shirt. Because in all of our planning (and luggage), we did not anticipate dressing up as a literary character. And yes, I feel like this is foreshadowing to Halloween. The principal dressed up as Clifford and led one of the classes, and there’s Tatey in her t-shirt…

The next day we had some friends over for dinner. I needed dessert and more potatoes, so we sent the girls up to the shops. Just gave them some money and told them to grab dessert for six and about a kilo (or bag) of potatoes. How great is that? They’re becoming productive members of the family who can and will actually DO things. It was fantastic. Until they came home 25 minutes later with EIGHT desserts. And three potatoes. Because, priorities.

Speaking of productive members of the family, the girls are doing actual housework here. At home they have to set and clear the table, load and unload the dishwasher, and fold and put away their laundry, so they don’t do nothing. But here they’re responsible for cleaning the bathrooms and the floors – sweeping and vacuuming. Gracie’s got the bathrooms until we get back from the cruise and then she’ll take over the floors. Here’s a picture of Tate in the middle of her job. Isn’t she cute even in her annoyance?!

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The next day was so beautiful. You know that first really warm and sunny day before Spring arrives for good? And part of the reason it’s so great is that you know you won’t get days like it regularly for sometime yet? I think Sunday was that morsel of perfection. So after we watched college football on the iPad, we hopped on the ferry and went back over to Devonport. We could’ve taken a bus, but why would you when you can take the ferry? Walked through the town to North Head, or Maungauiki in Maori. It’s a volcano (of course) and because of its position at the entrance of the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf, it has been used by both the Maori and European settlers as a defense or military site. There’s a series of bunkers and tunnels up there and also great views (of course).

The girls didn’t want to come up to the top with us, so we left them on the side of the mountain with Mark’s phone, sitting on some grass, where they proceeded to text us relentlessly with way too many emojis. When they asked how much longer we’d be, we told them we’d found a shopping mall and were at H&M so they just had to sit tight. They were SO annoyed to have missed it, and the Professor and I had so much fun messing with them. As we came back down, this is what we saw. Looks sweet, doesn’t it?

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It was sweet. We had NO idea that just a couple minutes later, Tate would dramatically flop down on the footpaths (sidewalks) of Devonport, because… we’re not totally sure why. It’s probably because she was very, very hangry. Our reward for surviving the drama: 

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Mark REALLY earned his, because he stayed behind with Tate until she got it out of her system. I walked on ahead, because I know where my strength lies and it is NOT with a kid who has flopped down in the middle of the footpath.

Another fun thing that has happened is I have started to work a little bit! Our landlord has a marketing company – PR, advertising, brand management, social media, web content creation, campaign management, etc. I’ve done some proofing and editing, and it’s been nice to have something to actually do. I think after the school holidays, I’ll start doing some writing. Finally earning my keep again! Maybe when we get back home, I can keep working for her and will have to come back periodically for meetings. I think I’ll put together a proposal…

Going to some friends’ this afternoon, having wine with a different friend tomorrow afternoon, lunch with Mark’s department head on Sunday, and then very first thing Monday morning we’re off to Sydney. Fun couple of days and weeks ahead of us.

And this was the sunrise this morning, no joke. No filters, no editing, no doctoring – one of them is actually taken through a dirty window! It was amazing.

I’ll just leave it at that.


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