It’s impossible to believe that we have just completed our first academic year here in LA. The fact that we’re still in June makes it all the more bizarre because school here breaks up over a month earlier than London so I feel cheated and disoriented (again)!
And it’s no mistake that I use the words, “we,” and “our,” when referring to the school year because I am the biggest New Girl of all time! Three sets of school gates, parents’ evenings and coffee morning equivalents in a new country is a whole different ball game! Anyone out there feeling my pain?
The end of the school year comes with just the fanfare I have come to expect. Tammy’s school took over the Santa Monica Pier and it was literally like the final fairground scene in Grease…we go together like ramalamalama ga dingy ga dingy dong… As if that wasn’t enough (for this Londoner, at least), we also had her 6th Grade end of year beach party. Picture Baywatch, The Prequel… there they all were, lined up on the lifeguard tower.
Jessie’s year went to 6 Flags Theme Park and Harry arrived home one night in his boxer shorts following a huge school water fight. Such is the life of school in LA and how I wish that were me.What to do with an endless, three month summer holiday ahead? Beach camp, surf camp, sleep-away camp, volleyball camp and I’m sorry to say – Biology Camp. Interestingly, Harry was so behind on Science, his school insisted he did a catch up course to get him to the same level as his peers. I’m tempted to ask his school in London for a contribution to the astronomical bill we had to pay for the privilege!
The language barrier remains a mind-boggling, gob smacking, shocker to us all. I thought this would go away but it hasn’t and I fear it never will. Tammy was innocently playing beach volleyball, as you do, when the Camp Monitor, shouts over to her in an appalling and insulting cockney English accent, “Hip Hip, Cheerio, fetch me a spot of tea you wanker!” And so my twelve-year-old little girl had to take him aside and explain that “wanker” is a rude word, which you don’t call little children at volleyball camp.
Almost to the day of school breaking up, I broke down. I found myself exhausted, drained and overwhelmed. I’d put every ounce of energy I had in to making sure all the kids were socially, emotionally, physically and academically flying and I must have been hanging in there until that very last day of school. I was in need of a doctor and I was used to the family doctors in London. Here, the doctors for adults are different to the doctors for children. Lesson to anyone emigrating… don’t wait until you need a doctor to find one! Anyway, find one I did and he picked me up off the floor (metaphorically) and I’m back on fighting form.
Summer nights in So-Cal, so far are absolutely living up to their reputation. Barbecues, fire pits, s’mores and late night swimming is a reality. Regularly. Not even remotely sorry to tell you that! Sorry! It’s approaching our first anniversary in LA and we’re planning a fun BBQ at home with some families that we’ve become really close to here. I’m not used to planning such a thing of an evening!
Lots of friends from London are heading this way in the summer and I’m so excited to see you all!
Lots of love,