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expat parent abroad

Trying on Ski Gear in the sports shop

Where do I start? How do I explain? Do I know what I want to say? If I can’t get it right in my head, how can I get it right on paper? Or, at least, vaguely comprehensible, for the person reading it.

Ah, got it. Putting it on paper, as it comes out and then re-reading, re-writing and re-thinking … Yep. That’s how I’ll do it.

So, where do I start?

Ok. Let’s start with the right here, right now.

Here goes …

I’ve just come home from a school meeting. Our 10 year old son ( yep, I said 10, remember that!), is going on his first overnight ski trip to the Sierra Nevada in 2 weeks time. Is it 2 weeks? OMG. It’s on January 28th. Ok 13 days. Hmphhh.

I’m in a virtual fairground, on an interminable ride. The biggest, most exciting and at the same time, the scariest of all. The infamous roller coaster. Not one but three: The roller coaster of life; The roller coaster of expat life and The roller coaster of parenthood. (Now that’s another blog post I’ll be sharing with you!)

And sometimes you just need to jump off the ride and gather your thoughts. Back track and work out whether you’re screaming for joy, or screaming in fear.

expat parent abroad

This is us enjoying the rides … totally soaked but loving it!

I’ve just managed to stagger off the education waltzer. (Yep. That’s another mind boggling post I’m waiting to share with you) I’ve being whirring round and round in circles for a few months. The ride finally ended and my dizziness was starting to clear.

It is literally a non stop ride at the moment.

But, I am happy to say, it’s not shrieks of fear you will here in our house. It’s shrieks of excitement. We’re loving the ride…

Are you getting dizzy yet?

Maybe adding some bullet points will slow things down.

Here are the ups and downs, twizzes and twirls of the past few months:

  • For the first time ever, I was doubting our son’s school
  • I researched the private school option
  • I was convinced I had found the best school ever for him
  • I decided I didn’t want my son to change (he is the most beautiful person!)
  • I rediscovered why we chose to live where we live
  • I was unhappy with our materialistic ways
  • I researched a year travelling, with all the family
  • I considered a trip to South America with my son (volunteer projects)
  • I started teaching him coding thanks to Khan Academy

I need to put my thoughts about each of the above points in writing, but that will take time. You know, like needing to hold onto something and clear your head, as you step off a fairground ride. If you jump off and walk away, you’ll probably fall flat on your face. When you experience these rides, you need time to process it all and to be able to think clearly.

expat parent

Shrieks of joy or shrieks of fear ?

So, back to the Sierra Nevada Trip.

In a couple of weeks, 36 pupils, aged between 10 and 11, from our son’s Spanish state school, will be going to the Sierra Nevada, for two days of fun. They will travel via coach, leaving the pueblo early on Thursday morning. On arrival they will be kitted out with the necessary equipment and will receive 5 hours of instruction, with one instructor per eight pupils. That night they will eat and sleep in a hotel in resort.

The following day, they will have breakfast in the hotel and then head to the slopes for another 5 hours of instruction in their groups. They will then jump on the coach and head back home (To their eagerly awaiting parents).

It was decided that, due to the short duration, all the children would have snowboards lessons.

“How bloody great is that. At only 10 years old!”

Aaaargh … this calls for “Ninja mum” action. (Thanks Tania from Sticky Fingers blog. I’ll be referring back to your inspirational words in another post!)

This year, 2015, is all about family travel and family fun, for us. We have several trips already booked and are looking to fit in as many more as possible.

When Joshua, our 10 year old, first mentioned the Sierra Nevada trip, which was only a vague possibility at that stage, hubby and I both agreed that we didn’t think it was a good idea. We have both worked in ski resorts (in our child-free days) and we really want the children to have an enjoyable first skiing experience. As a result, our first family skiing holiday is yet to happen. (Although we have now booked to go to Andorra in Semana Blanca this year … Yippee!).

We both agreed that 2 days was not enough to get a good feel for the sport.

Time went by and the possibility became a reality. Somehow he just ended up with his name on the list and the deposit paid. Luckily, attending the meeting, this evening, eliminated any doubt I may have had. It is so exciting. He is 10 years old and he is going to a ski resort with his classmates, and they are staying overnight. What an experience!

As a parent, I believe the more experiences we give our children, the more open and well-rounded they become. Even if it is not always easy for us.

Oh, and that mobile phone that I carefully convinced him that he didn’t need, despite the fact that most of his friends have one, is now on order. He doesn’t know yet. But, in this instance, I feel I want him to have a phone so I can speak to him whilst he’s away. It will only be used in these instances. When he comes home, the phone will be put away. I’m not ready for him to take that path yet.

The mobile phone debate is one I am sure takes places in many households. I was shocked to read the following statistics in this El Pais article:

Around a third of 10-year-olds have a cellphone. By the age of 12, the figure is 70 percent, and by 14, 83 percent.
A fifth of 11-year-olds have a social network profile. By age 12, that figure is 50 percent, and by the age of 15 on, 90 percent.
Sources: National Statistics Institute and the Interior Ministry.

The world is changing at in incredible speed. Learning how to jump from one ride to another, without getting dizzy and falling flat on our face, is one of the many skills an expat parent abroad has to master.

So, ski gear shopping has begun and the roller coaster carriage is slowly chugging upwards … this is going to be an incredible ride!

expat parent abroad

Joshua, all kitted out and ready to go to Sierra Nevada!

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Lisa Sadleir

Founder at Family in Spain SL
We love Family Life In Spain. Join us as we share experiences and essential updates, advice & assistance related to living in and moving to Spain. ¡ Olé !

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