Thursday, 25 August 2016


Jalen went to high school with a few of his friends from Primary School, and he is still best mates with one of his friends that he went to Kinder with. It's funny watching them grow up together as his friend Rani is so much taller than him now.  I love that he is still friends with friends from Primary School and whenever I see Rani he always says 'hi Mum' and 'love you Mum' when he leaves which cracks me up.

I'm sure it's a teenage thing (and probably more a teenage boy thing) but Jay didn't talk much about his friends at high school until last year.  I knew that he had become friends with people who he didn't go to primary school with, but I didn't hear much about them until the middle of grade 10.  He started to get invited to different birthday dinners and I would tell him off for not talking to me about his friends as I had no idea who he was going to have dinner with.  He didn't think it was a big deal but he finally started to tell me more about his new friends that he had made.  It was nice to hear that he was friends with lots of girls.
It was so nice to see him and his friends all dressed up together at the Leaver's Dinner last year and I was so happy to hear that most of his close friends were going to the same 'college' together this year (year 11 and 12).
Over the summer Jay would say things like 'squad are getting together sometime this week' and it would crack me up as I had no idea what 'squad' was!  When I asked Jay what it was supposed to mean he would laugh at me as I'm obviously very old and not cool anymore, if I don't know what squad meant :)  I wonder what Harri will be calling his group of friends by the time he is in grade 10. I'm doubting 'squad' will be cool by then :)

It turns out that everyone in squad thinks Kobe is pretty cute, so I love teasing Jay that the only reason they are friends with him is so they can hang out with Kobe as well.  During the holidays sometimes we would get home and Jay and 'squad' would all be at our house hanging out and Kobe would think it was the best thing ever.  He openly admitted that he had a little crush on one of Jay's friends :)   Kobe makes us laugh as he loves that Jay has a 'squad' and always tells me that he has a squad at school as well.

Harri pretended that he was cranky that they took a photo on his iPad without him knowing, but we know he really loved it.

It's fun seeing photos of 'squad' pop up on my Instagram feed.  Jay said to me yesterday that he thinks he's been in 'town' more this year than in his whole life, and I have no doubt it's true as squad are always going to hang out in town to take photos after school.   I love that Jay loves taking photos as much as I do now.  Apparently it's cool to stick out their tongue or put their thumb up in front of their faces for pics :)

Jay and his friend Mel were both in a production at school and it was nice to have squad (see how I just say that now like it's normal!) come and watch them in it.  This was after the show.
Even though it's normal for me to say 'squad' to Jay now, apparently it's not cool when I say 'I'm going out for tea with my squad tonight' :)  I think I just have to leave it to the young ones.
I love the age that Jay is at the moment, but it's also a scary age as they have to think about the future and what they want to do.  I'm glad that Jay has another year with squad before they have to think about 'real life' and what they are going to do after year 11 and 12 (thanks for letting me use your pics squad!).   

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Milly's cousin Josie

Ever since Dad passed away last year  Mum has obviously found it very quiet and lonely being on her own.  She talked about getting a dog towards the end of last year and always thought she would get a Labrador because that's what we grew up with.

I don't know if it was spending time with our Milly (who is a labradoodle) or realising that a lot of dogs would leave dog hair all over her beautiful house,  but at the end of last year she decided that she wanted to get a labradoodle.  I'm not a dog person at all, so when I decided that getting a dog would be good for the boys, I knew that I would have to get one that didn't shed hair everywhere.

I went with Mum to where we got Milly from at the end of last year to look at some puppies.  The guy actually remembered my name and I said he had a great memory, and he said that he often thought about me because he knew my story and was hoping that having Milly had helped us.  Mum was on a waiting list for around 6 months to get a puppy and she finally got one a couple of weeks ago. She decided on a girl and she is also brown, so she is just like Milly.  Kobe and Mum went to pick her up and Mum brought her back to our house to stay the night as we were going to the footy the next day.  We couldn't wait for her to pull up so we could see her puppy.

Kobe thought it was very exciting that he got to be the first one to help Grandma with her puppy.  We were all oohing and aahing when she got out of the car.  Mum had already named her Josie. 
It was so cute watching Milly and Josie run around the back yard together.  They were yapping at each other and jumping all over each other and having the best time. 
Milly was actually 5 months old when we got her (I can't believe no one wanted her before us!) so Josie was so much smaller than we ever saw Milly as.   How cute is she!?

We loved having cuddles with her all weekend and we were all wishing we had a little puppy as well (until she kept weeing inside!:) 
Because they came from the same place, we were able to check out their background and found out that Milly's grandfather is Josie great grandfather (or the other way around), so they are actually cousins.   They wore each other out by the end of the night!
The next day we watched the Hawks play live and I took this photo of Mum with Josie before the game. I put it up on Instagram and hashtagged it #AFLHawksCarlton and when we got to the game we kept cracking up when we would see the photo up on the big screen at the footy! Mum was so embarrassed and couldn't figure out how she made it to the big screen, but we thought it was funny and very cool seeing them on the big screen:)
Mum said Josie has been so good at her place and is lots of fun to have around. I'm so glad that she has her to keep her company as I know how much Milly is now a part of our family. I think my cousin Toni's kids are loving having a cute little puppy to visit across the road - they now have even more or a reason to visit - not just because there are lots of treats in Mum's pantry :)   How cute is her little face and crazy hair!
I'm sure that Milly will love going out to Mum's house even more now that she has a younger cousin to play with.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Settling In

I was devastated at the end of last term to hear that I needed to be transferred to a new school again - my third school in less than a year. It's been so unsettling for me and the boys and as much as I'm go grateful to have work doing something that I love, I just wish that I could settle down somewhere for a longer period of time.  I love my job teaching English as an Additional Language but I have wondered if it is worth all the stress of moving all the time.  I have joked that maybe it would just be easier to get a job in retail ;)

I find it easy to build relationships with the kids quickly and I think that sometimes this is not good for me as it's so hard when I have to say goodbye to them.  I actually think this is the same for most teachers, but I find it even more so doing what I'm doing because you're so involved with the student's families and lives as you help them settle into life in Australia.

During the last school holidays I was glad for a break, but I was also feeling anxious about starting at my new school so it was hard to really relax.  The first day back at school was a 'student free day' so it was just a day of meetings and planning for the term.  It was nice to see some familiar faces at my new school, but there were also lots of teachers that I didn't know, but it was lovely to have people come and say hi and tell me they knew me through mutual friends.   Everyone was really lovely and welcoming but by the end of the day I just felt very overwhelmed and anxious about starting with the students the next day. I felt okay all day, but by the time I was half way home I had a big cry and felt like a wreck by the time I got in the door. 

I kept thinking about my old school and friends that I worked with there and missed them heaps.  I also kept thinking about my students at my old school and how they would be back at school the following day, and I just wished I was there with them.  I cried all night and went to bed with a big headache but woke up the next day feeling ready to just make the most of the change. 

As soon as I met the kids at my new school I felt much better.   They were all gorgeous and so happy and friendly.  I kept thinking how hard it must be for them to have so many different teachers lately but they seemed happy to have me.

I have now been at my new school for three weeks (I can't believe how fast the term is already going!) and am loving it.  It's SO different to my old school.  They have around the same number of students on the EAL (English as an Additional Language) program but there are SO many kids from different cultures there, and most of them have previously been on the EAL program.  At my old school most of the kids on the program were Afghan but at my new school it is a mix of migrants as well as children from a refugee background.  They come from so many different countries (I think 17 countries in total) and some of my students are from Nepal, Thailand, China, Burma (Myanmar), Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.
I miss my Afghan students and families terribly, but am loving learning about other cultures.  Two of the Nepali girls have been telling me about the period of mourning in Nepal and how when someone dies you have to wear white, not eat certain food and not be touched for a certain period of time.  

My new school is a great school and they are just so used to having children who are learning English and cater for them really well.  This is my favourite part of the school - they display a flag from all the countries represented by the students at their school. Whenever a new student arrives - if they haven't got the flag of their country they get a new one to put up. I love that they celebrate being multicultural. 
Even though it's only my third week there I'm feeling happy and settled already.   Everyone has been really lovely and welcoming including the students, so that makes it much easier to have had to change schools again.  
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