Wednesday, September 05, 2007

They're In

Yesterday we got the children settled into their rooms at the new school, and today they are starting their first day of lessons, while Karen and I wonder what to do with ourselves.

We spent yesterday afternoon talking to the staff, sorting out a few bits of last-minute paperwork, unloading the car and helping them unpack their things. All the staff were very nice: positive, light-hearted, helpful, and really gave me a reassuring feeling that our children would be well looked after.

Unpacking Abigail's stuff

...pretty soon it looked just as tidy as her old bedroom!

The girl's and boy's boarding areas are quite separate, each being accessed from the ground floor only and from different staircases. I'm sure this is a good thing for the school, as it helps to ensure proper behaviour etc., but for parents helping both a boy and a girl into their rooms at the same time it meant a good deal of stairclimbing with heavy bags. Quite a workout! My legs are stiff this morning from the exertion.

NOW he feels at home.

After unpacking we joined all the other parents in a large room for an address by the Deputy Head (the Head is on sick leave) and by the boarding staff, then we went with the children to the Refectory for Supper. It was my first "school dinner" in a lot of years, and as Abigail pointed out, her first... ever, as she'd always had packed lunches before. I won't say it was delicious but it was perfectly edible, with a choice of chicken kebabs or scampi.

Abigail in her new room. Note the new haircut!

I was so busy stuffing my face I forgot to take a picture of supper in the refectory. Sorry (burp).

Supper over, it was time for us to leave and for the children to stay. We hugged in the Reception hall, and Karen and I were a good deal more emotional than Elliot & Abigail, who I think by then were so excited and in a spin with all the activity that they just wanted us to go so they could get on with settling in and meeting new friends.

College Chapel

Since returning to our rented flat in Windsor I have not had any strong feelings of missing them, yet. Elliot phoned to tell us he'd met another student whi is the lead singer with a band called Mock Heroic, and that they were happy to have a second guitarist, so that helped him feel better about everything. Karen also spoke to Abigail last night, who had texted to say her room-mate had arrived and that the "corridor was chaotic!".

As I write this on Wednesday morning they will be starting lessons on their first full day. For me it feels OK, like they're away on a sleepover and will be back soon. But the full realisation will come over the next few days when they don't come back. It will be made easier while we're still away -- Karen in UK and me going to the U.S. on Sunday for a business trip -- but I'm not looking forward to how things will feel when we're both back in Riyadh and suddenly we are at home, and the children are thousands of miles away.

Enough whining from me. The children will have a fantastic time, superb new opportunities, and a top education, and while Karen and I may be flung to all corners of the world over the next few years, they will have a solid, consistent environment for both their education and their friendships.


Izzie Mathis said...

just commenting this blog for the first time, although it is a very large source of amusement for me.
My name is Izzie... I'm a friend of Abi and Elliot's. I met them through Alix originally; we went to Primary School in Australia together. I'm still in Canberra, wishing I lived somewhere awesome like the UK. Just expressing my amazement with Connor...Elliot has ALREADY joined another band! Suprise suprise, that boy is straight to his guitar when he moves into his room. Elliot has told me he's already making lots of new friends, and thats great to know. I really hope Abigail and Elliot have a really good time at their new school, as I'm sure they will. I would also like to say, Abi's new haircut looks absolutely stunning and seeing all these photos made me smile. As it's much harder to communicate now their internet is limited, I'm already missing you guys!


Laura said...

Brought a tear or ten to my eye - and they are nearer to us now! So proud of their fearlessness!

Izzie Mathis said...

Elliot certainly seems to be very happy to be back in the UK anyway...