Saturday 19 June 2021

Summer 2021 - Rhode island vacation

Cobalt-blue water, beautiful bays, divine sunsets, fancy Marlinspike Hall-esque mansions (get the Tintin reference?), the sun shining on it all...Newport Rhode Island is a paradise. The famous Cliff walk is a moderately challenging 3.5 mile walk along the Atlantic ocean, paved in paths and rocky in others. On one side is the aquamarine water pounding on the rocks, the other side is lined with the mansions of rich and famous (some of them converted into boutique hotels). The Sachuest Wildlife Refuge, the Cliff Walk and all the beaches were close to the airbnb where we stayed. A short drive away was the Fort Adams State Park which claimed to host the best sunset in the area.

Good food (first time in a while all of us went to a restaurant), long lovely walks, and a side trip to Providence to walk around Brown University. We spent a day in Yale (New Haven, CT) on our way back home. 

The summer holidays have just begun, with a bang :)

Thursday 10 June 2021

3 years of school - recap

3 years completed in the public school system in the US, and the kids have grown and blossomed. Well beyond my wildest expectations. When I think of the anxiety I experienced in July/August 2018, it feels almost absurd that I should have been so scared. But worrying is a parent's prerogative and burden; thank you to Ads & Y for showing me what resilience is all about and for taking the good bad and ugly in your very smooth stride. 

Reflecting on the past 3 years, some strange and some interesting happenings:

1- Y and I standing in line to pick up Advaith's laptop in middle school, the teacher mistaking Y for the incoming student (8th grade) and profusely welcoming her until I corrected her and said that Y's brother is actually joining. Y was happy that she looked taller and older!

2- A horrible afternoon on the first day of school. Ads' bus from middle school was late, and he wasn't on board! Made the driver call the school. They said he had missed the bus. Rushed to his school. Couldn't find him anywhere. In full panic mode now. Realized I was getting late for picking up Y so rushed to her bus stop. Fortunately, she was on board. Quickly dropped her home. By now, am almost in tears and at wit's end. Suddenly a phone call, Ads using some random stranger's phone. He had taken the wrong bus and also got down at some stop that he didn't recognize! Fortunately, it was not far away. Told him to stay put and jumped into the car (again!) to pick him up. All this in 100-degree heat and 90% humidity.

That same evening, marched Ads to Verizon and bought him a phone! Later on, the same kind stranger from whom Ads had borrowed the phone called to ask if everything was okay :) 

Where was S in all this? Travelling as usual!

3- Colonial Day in Y's school where I volunteered for several hours, and watching Y dance colonial dances, play the violin etc. 

4- Watching 4th grade perform a musical based on the Wright brothers 

5- Last week of 4th grade and a lovely pancake breakfast in the classroom. I volunteered and got to meet other moms and make pancakes. The homeroom teacher got sudden back pain/muscle spasms and started crying. Dramatic ending to a fun morning!

6- Y contracting the flu just a day before a much-anticipated field trip to Yorktown and Jamestown. She was so upset. 

7- Proud parents watching Ads make the honor roll in 8th grade, and getting a prize for best student in English 

8- Open houses in 8th and 9th grade, and wandering bemusedly through school corridors, wondering how my kid would ever navigate the confusing layout and crammed daily schedule! He could, and he did :) 

9- Working on the 8th-grade science fair project, and helping make Ads' charts 

10- This year, proud of Y for getting a President's Education Award Certificate for outstanding academic excellence, one of the few in 6th grade in her school. It is given to graduating elementary school students who maintain a certain high level of academic performance (in Y's case, in 5th and 6th grade) and get atleast one "Pass Advanced" in the state exams. It was totally unexpected and a lovely surprise. 

11- Being able to participate in the many wonderful events and activities planned by the school staff, teachers and the PTA, for graduating 6th graders. Car parade, a virtual promotion, a field day, a memory walk etc - truly they made it a very very special send-off. I was very skeptical of all the tamasha initially. What's the big deal, I thought? Much ado about nothing. But it is a cute rite of passage as these kids transition from carefree elementary school to becoming responsible teens. Middle school is a different ball game. No one is going to handhold you or spoonfeed you. You are accountable and responsible for your grades, cocurricular activities, and your schedule. Parents and teachers are no longer going to support you as they did in elementary. In fact, parents will rarely even know what's going on. I am glad that we got to experience this with Y. 

Here's to summer, and new experiences in middle school!

Yard signs for all 6th graders

Memory walk