Sunday, 21 September 2014

From Switzerland, with Love

So, we are in Basel.

We arrived a month ago, and it's been a whirlwind of changes. First saying goodbye to my parents after a 7-week stay in Algiers. Then joining the BabelDad after such a long separation, in a dodgy B&B, plus BK1 and BK2 starting school two days later in a new country with a totally unkown language.

One month later, and here we are in our apartment, sleeping in our own beds. The older two girls are happily settled at school and seem to enjoy their new life. Sure, some things bother them. BK1 (aged 9) is not keen on the daily homework and the constant threat of getting the loathed cross on her behaviour chart (must show the teachers a copy of Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards). BK2 (aged 6) complains that the work is too easy: they are doing phonics at school, which she did in England 2 years ago.

But overall, the girls absolutely love the freedom they have here. They walk to school by themselves, a mile away, sometimes 4 times a day, crossing a main road in the process! My poor nerves!
I don't have to arrange play dates for them, they simply ask if they can go to play at so and so's place, and just go. All three girls have been spending so much time outside with other kids of the neighbourhood, scooting, cycling, climbing trees, fighting, screaming, roller-blading etc.

I feel this independence and freedom is beneficial to all of us. It relieves us, the parents, from the school run pressure. It also teaches the children self-reliance. For example, they prefer to do their homework soon after lunch so they can go off freely to play.

We miss our friends back in England. We miss the familiarity and the sense of belonging we had there. We are however enjoying our new adventure and looking forward to all the new things it brings!

View from our terrace: white specks are storks!