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
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.
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.