Starting School

Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NEWS FLASH....................

Well the weeks are galloping past towards Christmas so quickly and as yet we don't feel particularly Christmasy! 

We thought a visit to the Auckland Santa Parade might sort that out and what an experience that turned out to be!  We had no idea just how many people would flock into the city centre, traffic jams, roads closed and extremely large crowds of people.  Larissa and the girls arrived in the city at lunchtime and set up camp.  We unfortunately arrived about an hour and a half later, by which time Larissa had been harassed by some English 'grownups' who were not happy about a spot being saved for two children!  To the point of them pushing forward and standing all over Larissa's picnic blanket.  When we finally arrived, we became victims of further comments, but this time from some Kiwis, I wouldn't have minded if we were spoiling their view, we were happy to stand at the back, just putting the children forward with Larissa.  None of them had any children with them which really left a nasty taste in our mouths, we started to ask the question, exactly who is the parade aimed at.  The matter was made even worse when an extremely tall man decided to stand at the very front, blocking absolutely everyones view including many children and was very arrogant over the whole thing. 

The children did have a good time, as they were completely unaware of the barrage of comments flying around.  Not quite the attitude we expected after the super friendly Kiwis we have met since arriving.  The children enjoyed the magic of the different floats as well as the clowns on uni-cycles and the cheerleaders and bands.  The parade lasted for nearly an  hour and finished with a visit from Santa.  Afterwards, the hoards of crowds all headed back to their cars to try and get out of the city so we decided to wander down to see the giant Santa on Queen's Street.  Thank goodness that was over.................

Monday morning saw the children going to school for the first time.  They were so excited and were up very early, so eager to get there.  They loved the fact that they didn't have to wear a uniform and the fact that they didn't have to leave for school until ten to nine!  On arrival we headed for the office where we were greeted by the Principal who really made the children welcome.  She took us off to meet the children in Dan's small class which he seemed quite happy about and then we headed off to meet Lucy's class.  Unfortunately Lucy's new teacher was off sick and the supply teacher was a man!  Lucy clung to my leg like a limpet!  He was ever so kind and welcoming, as were the children.  Unfortunately for Lucy, it really hit her hard and she was desperate for me to stay with her in class, she was terrified.  Jeff took Dan off to his class while I stayed for a little while with Lucy.  Once she seemed a bit happier we headed off to the staff room to have a coffee with the Principal.  She was absolutely brilliant and gave us so much time.  I definately think we have made the right decision in choosing this school.  Afterwards, we called back to check on the children and then went home.  It felt ever so strange returning home to silence.  It's the first time we have been away from the kids since July!  There were no calls from the school during the day, and when I collected them there was lots of smiles.  They were so desperate to talk about what a great time they had had.  Happy days :-)

Every day has been smiles and a general enthusiasm for going to school which makes us feel a lot better.  Their first day was probably as traumatic for Jeff and I, as for the children, once again it was the guilt thing, it was us putting our children through this trauma.  The usual question dominating our thoughts: have we done the right thing?  I know now after seeing how they have grown in confidence that we have done the right thing.  As well as the usual academic subject, they now get to swim every day in the school's outdoor pool, get to climb trees, grow plants and veges.  Lucy has even helped to make a story seat, coming home so excited to tell us she had been hammering nails!  They also had to dress in flowery shirts and jandals (flipflops) one day and got to play on a waterslide, all in aid of raising money for Surf Rescue and the tsunami victims.  They finish for a seven week summer holiday in just over a week and it's the first time that they don't want a holiday, they just want to go to school with their friends!  Roll on February in their eyes!

Last weekend we spent time in the house putting up yet more pictures and the Christmas lights along the verandah.  We won't be switching them on for a while, but at least we know they work and are ready.  On Saturday afternoon, as the weather was so sunny, we headed off on a mini adventure to find some more beaches.  We found Cornwallis Beach, which was a lovely surprise, just around from Mill Bay.  However, instead of it being a shell beach, it was a mixture of black and yellow sand.  When we first arrived it seemed incredibly busy, however, as we walked down the beach away from the public BBQs, it quickly became very quiet.  The sea seemed so calm and the children had a great time playing in it, as it was high tide.  We walked a good 20 minutes down to a jetty and then stopped off at a picnic table on the way back so the children could play in the sand.  It was very relaxing and the children had a ball. We will definately be coming back here again armed with sausages etc for a BBQ!  We then drove into Huia to the general store for fantastic coffee and fish and chips.  We sat in the park over looking the amazing view of the bay to eat them.  We all had a brilliant afternoon.

Sunday morning was spent getting to know our new neighbours.  It started with coffee and cake, however, by midday we had moved on to the wine and beer!  It was great to finally meet them, we had no end of things to talk about and the children were happy drawing and gluing and stamping.  We did explain what fantastic neighbours we had in the UK and how much they have to live up to!  Feeling slightly lightheaded we climbed up the steep drive back to our house to then spend the afternoon with Ang, Paul and Paris.  Friends, that we had met through Larissa.  Paul and Jeff spent time comparing their motorbikes and planning biking trips to the Coromandel while Ang and I drank wine and ate cake!

This weekend we will venture out to another one of Auckland's Christmas events, Coca Cola Christmas in the watch this space.  We are hoping to get hold of a Christmas tree this weekend so we can start to decorate and hopefully will feel a little more Chrismasy!
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