Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Private School Difference

Yesterday I got a call from the school notifying me that my sweet daughter was in the health office with a fever and would need to be collected as soon as possible.  So, I hurried over straight away.  When I entered the health office I was surprised to see that it was a complete health facility with several private sick bays.  I was taken into one of the rooms where I found my little girl propped up lovingly on pillows, her shoes had been carefully removed and the nurse was holding a damp cloth to her head. 

It was such a stark contrast to the way sick kids were treated at our public school in Australia.  There, ill children were sent to rest on a plastic lawn chair behind the teacher's Xerox machine.  The front office receptionist monitored them via CCTV.

Our experience yesterday could not have been more different.  There was an actual nurse (who, by the way, has the most beautiful, soothing Irish accent) who offered medical advice, walked us out to the car, wrapped a fluffy white towel around my daughter and reminded me to call her if I had any questions or concerns. 
Of course, most public schools couldn't afford the space or staff for a complete health centre.  But it was the compassion, caring, and kindness shown to my daughter that really impressed me.  And those are the things money just can't buy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for.  Dear friends who come to visit us even when we live on the other side of the world.  Healthy kids.  A roof over our heads and food on the table.  It's a good life. 
So even though today was just another Thursday here in the UK, we had our own small celebrations.
A Thanksgiving assembly at our American school. 

And later, a big dinner at a local restaurant organized by the school.  It was nice to be surrounded by Americans enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal. 

Even though it wasn't quite the event that our last Thanksgiving was, it was a lovely day.  I'm so truly blessed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bruges is for Lovers

Chocolate Lovers:
Chocolate festival in Bruges
Blind taste test at the Chocolate Festival.  I didn't quite understand all the clowns in blackface.

Waffle Lovers:
Enjoying the very best waffle ever!

French Fry Lovers:
Belgian frites
Outside the French Fry Museum

Beer Lovers:
The Beer Temple

History Lovers:
Outside the Gruthouse Museum

Scenery Lovers:
Beautiful Bruges

After an amazing weekend I can say that I am officially in love with Bruges.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason, and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot!

(My kids have been singing this little ditty for weeks).

Last night we celebrated our first Guy Fawkes night in the UK.  We got together with friends and watched the big neighborhood bonfire and fireworks show.  We listened to backyard fireworks going off late into the night.  

One of the fun things about living overseas is the chance to learn about different holidays and traditions and local culture.  This celebration is so uniquely British, and we were glad to join in the fun.

It almost makes up for the fact that Halloween barely exists and, of course, there is no Thanksgiving here.  I guess now it's full speed ahead to Christmas!  

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Lookout Discovery Centre

As part of our travel week stay-cation I loaded up my kiddos and took them to The Lookout Discovery Centre in Bracknell.

This is an easy and super fun day out for kids ages 5-12.  I even brought the baby along and he had a great time, too.

The centre features over 70 different hands on science exhibits.  There is a large water play area, plenty of challenging maths puzzles, a room with light and colour exhibits,  a sound and communication zone, human body puzzles and some exhibits about recycling.  We spent several hours touring the different areas.  There was definitely something for everyone.

After a disappointing lunch at the cafe (next time we'll bring a picnic) we headed outside to the Adventure Playground.

Wow!  Check out this castle.  Kids were having a wonderful time running through the forest and collecting branches to build elaborate tee pees.  There were separate play areas for 7-12 year olds and 3-6 year olds.  There was also an accessible playground featuring lots of unique equipment.

I think my kids would have played for hours, but, this is England.  We headed for the car when the first raindrops started to fall.  And just as I got everyone buckled in, the downpour began!

We all loved the Lookout Centre.  It's on my list of places to return to- and I'm even thinking of having our next birthday party there.  Doesn't that sound fun?

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