In August this year, we will have been living the dream in New Zealand for 8 years. I can’t quite believe it. It seems just yesterday that we made the decision to emigrate to New Zealand from the UK. 8 years. So much has happened in that time. Continue reading “Living The Dream. New Zealand.”
Spot. The Difference When You’re 12.
You watch your daughter, coming to terms with being 12. She’s not a little girl, nor a teenager (quite) She’s just… boring old 12. Annoying old 12. Pimple spots introducing themselves from around every corner, limbs resembling a baby giraffe. What used to be funny is now just damn right embarrassing. Especially her Mom. And her brother. Oh, and the fact that the cat is called puss. How embarrassing. Continue reading “Spot. The Difference When You’re 12. “
Incase you didn’t know, proper shoe wearing amongst New Zealand school children, is neither compulsory , nor fashionable. There are, it seems, three options when deciding which way to adorne your wee piglets trotters.
B: Flip- Flops ( when winter hits, they seem to make an appearance).
Whichever your choice, the maximum you will pay is approximately $30 per pair. Already a bargain. I know. But wait…
There is another option . It’s the one that we chose. But remember people, we are homeschoolers, ( and therefore …weird) and this choice isn’t really, well …cool.
I know. Gorgeous aren’t they ?
Comfy as anything, easy to kick off, stylish in a ‘German backpacker ‘sort of way, never wear out. Crocs.
And I’m not talking the real ones, with the picture of the little crocodile on the strap here. No. (Poor Kids. )
We went , and continue to go for , the replicas that are about a third of the price, and at the most, need replacing only three times a year. (And that’s being generous.)
My kids have played at piano recitals and have hiked mountains in these beauties, they really are the bomb.
So…Living in New Zealand.
Cost on shoes per year = $90.
Times two kids = $180.
That’s about 45 pounds. Per Year.
Compared to the Clarkes shoes, which I was buying when we lived in England, which set me back approx 45 pounds per term . New shoes were always needed per term, (I’m sure Clarkes brush some leather shrinker onto their shoes .)
Living in England.
Cost on shoes per year = $360
Times that by 2 kids = $720 .
A whopping difference of $540 per year saving!
If we hadn’t emigrated I most certainly wouldn’t have homeschooled for the past 8 years. Neither would I have started my own touring theatre company but that’s a different blog.
That’s not to say that had we not dragged ourselves to the other side of the world I wouldn’t have dabbled in the waters of schooling without school. But you know what?.. truthfully.. I dont think I would have dared.
Back then you see before we made the big move, I was different. I was a conformist. I wanted to be liked. Desperate to be liked. I wanted to please. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to get my children into the ‘right’ school. I wanted a BA1 address , having such a postcode said to people that I lived not on the outskirts, but slap bang centre in the middle of the historic city of Bath in the UK. I wanted the children to say Barth and not Ba’ath. That way I might be able to pretend to strangers ,through my well educated southern born children, that I myself was as well bred as those that drove to school in the Range Rover and who’s parents had bequeathed them the solid silver cutlery set.
I am ashamed to say this.
I’m just going to say it.
I was a snob. Not a snob in the sense that I thought others were below me. No, that’s one personality trait that I can’t take ownership of. But the snobbiness that comes from striving to be something or someone that you are not ? Yes. Guilty. SHIT, SHiT Shit shit . It’s hard to admit that about yourself.
Keep going Liz. Breathe.
So. Homeschooling back then? Noooo. Infact, NNNOOOOOOO with a capital N. Too hippy shitty..Too weirdy freaky..Too living on the canal boat with the kids wearing each other’s second hand clothes ..too funny haircuts…Too BA4.
And then one morning , walking along the canal path (and let us be clear here, not walking because ‘eco is me and I have the time to walk my child to school’ No. Walking as in ‘I can’t get parked near the friggin’ school, so have to park in the pub car park down the road and sprint ‘ walking) Late as always to get Sonny to extra tuition maths class before school. You know the one. The one where you’re told in no uncertain terms that your kid is shit at maths because he is 7 and cant recite the 9 times table. That one.
When suddenly, on one of those new agey wooden bikes with no wheels, no hang on ,it had wheels ..it didn’t have pedals , that was it. On one of those pedaless things, was a little boy about the same age as Sonny. Riding across my very important and busy pathway. Nearly colliding into my sons very polished and very expensive Clarkes shoes.
Across from him a woman , coming out of her hand painted, beautiful house boat. Herbs balanced along the side, housed in old French looking pots. The remenants of last nights late night moonlit chat in the form of two empty wine glasses and half a bottle of red left at the little wrought iron painted yellow table . She was picking out fir cones from a basket for her fire and she looked over at him , witnessing the near head on .. she smiled.
There it was.
You know when people ask “so what made you want to homeschool?”
That was it .
Her life versus my life. Femme parfait, on her woodsmoke smelling ‘bobbing on the water calmly’ abyss. Smiling. Living the good life in second hand clothes . Tending to her herbs .Not a school notice pinned anywhere on her battered fridge.
Not even.. wearing a watch.
Dragging my son along the towpath in order for him to chant his 9 times tables to an overtired, underpaid teacher aide. In order for me to get to work. In order for me to earn money. In order for me to pay off the credit card that we ran up taking our kids to Alton towers (a totally overpriced theme park in the UK) In order to feel happy thank you very much. In order to buy some expensive make up to cover my frown lines. In order to look as though ..I smiled.
Homeschooling. Take two.
Too free…Too real.. Too loads of time.. Too always seem to be relaxed.. Too confident..Too calm..Too free..
It all flashed through my suddenly clear mind as to if and how we could do it. (Not live on the house boat with femme beautiful, no, I dont like confined spaces.. herbs or no herbs) To just change our lives. Escape from this mess of tangled time tight schedules that we had somehow created. Spending more and more money to try and find a place in our lives that felt safe. Like the safe you feel as a child when you know that your dinner will be ready at 5 no matter what.
This life that we were living.. this BA1 life..it just wasn’t authentic. This life that never allowed me to look for more than 5 minutes into the eyes of my children without saying “have you done your homework?”. I wanted to escape. I wanted to change. I wanted to homeschool. I wanted to smile like the pedalless mother.
That was in March 2008. Within 9 months we were sitting on a plane headed for a country my husband had never even been to. The business? Gone. The BA1 house? Gone. The ever so prestigious primary school? Gone. The debt? Gone (most of it anyway).
My story of the hows and whens of emigrating is at least another 4 blogs long. It wasn’t easy, not by a long stretch. But.. when you see a life in front of you and that life is what you want..like us, you’ll go to the end of the earth to get it. And thats what we did.
A one way ticket for 4 to New Zealand please.Throw away the scissors kids.. you’re growing your hair.