Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lessons we learn

Throughout life we learn many lessons, probably many more than we realise.   Some are learned through experience, some through teaching but also we learn through others.  In that I mean, we see how others respond or react to a situation and we learn from that.

During this past year I have learnt a lot of lessons, mostly the hard and painful way.  Unfortuantely many of them things which came at me, which I was unable, despite my best efforts to avoid.  But more recently, through my experiences with other people and their responses, I have learnt things I will never do.  And have learnt how people can let you down, and this has taught me the behaviours I will never replicate.  So on the upside I have learnt something, which I believe / am sure will stay with me through life, on the down side it has left me hurt and disappointed.

But hey ho, there are always others to help and rely on in different ways and life goes on.  We live and learn, unfortunately sometimes the hard way!  But this recent experience has given me a firm lesson for life.  One which I had some experience with before, but now, realise what it truly means.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

School Homework Portuguese Style

So here we are the first month done in school!  So far, so good.  A whole new world opened up not only to my daughter but also for me.  I have to admit the first few days felt strange, being a new 'school gate mum' (fortunately we do not have the 'school gate mum syndrome', as you find in the UK) among the crowd of Portuguese parents and grandparents waiting for their child to appear.  And of course with new school, comes new routines and things to do.  One of those being homework....

Now, I quite like homework but Im lucky in that I have the opportunity to sit down and help my child, as some parents I know are not so fortunate.  She gets a piece of homework every day, and to be honest before it started I wondered how much she would get and worried about what would be too much.  I thought every day would be too much, but to be honest it is not.  She usually gets a couple of activities to do, whether it is handwriting, some maths (I say maths but at the moment, it is more about positions and obsrvations than numbers) or other things, normally takes no more than 15 - 20 minutes.  Now I would think having some work to do after a full day at school would be a bit too much, but it really isnt.  And I think doing it every day sets them up with a good daily routine.  She happily sets about her homework once home and no problem, job done.

But for me, it has also given me a challenge!  As of course the homework is in Portuguese.  Now my reading is ok and generally I understand 95% but still having to understand and assist a child who cannot read proficiently enough to follow the instructions is interesting to say the least and strange to be doing homework in another language which I am not proficient in.  Its a strange experience but also good for me to learn as well.  And of course, if stuck we have Daddy on hand (for the moment) to help, as my pronounciation is terrible and having to read phrases is my downfall for sure!!

But I have to say I am so very proud of Sophie for how she has adapted to 'big school', after struggling a bit in pre-school.  She is learning well and developing much better than we expected to be honest, not that we thought she couldnt but like any parent you worry.  But what I am most proud is how she is learning all these new things in two languages.  Of course, her English is proficient as her first language but her portuguese has and is developing greatly (again, another vast improvement on the last pre-school year).  And to be able to understand and explain new concepts learnt in two languages is amazing to me! A very proud mummy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The week that was.....

Last week was a terrible time for me and my family with many difficulties to overcome, but somehow we managed to get through with support and help from some very special people.  The last few weeks have been difficult waiting on things to happen, that should be happening, chasing people here and there and being fobbed off.  Living in a different country to where these things are taking place with little or no support there is very difficult.  You expect things to be done in a certain timescale but these things just dont happen.  The worry and frustration is painful.  Nothing seemingly to go in our favor and struggling to stay positive by finding the little silver linings and victories where they hide.  Which seems to be increasingly difficult.  I know many others are going through similar or worse things than we are and things could be worse or different problems, but I pray that once we are out of this situation and we will be eventually, we will never be here again!

But after a very hard week, the toughest of this year so far (of the worst year of my life), there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel with agreements made and new opportunities found.  But until these things actually happen I dont count on anything for fear of being let down.  But maybe, just possibly, I hope we may be turning a corner.

The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance.  Proceed, and light will dawn, and shine with increasing clearness on your path ~ Jim Rohn

Monday, October 1, 2012

The times are a-changing!

The times are achanging, unfortunately not so much in my life as the weather. Every year is a little different at this time, and autumn is normally very slow and subtle. But this last week it changed in a big way, signifying summer is over! Although the lack of people about and restaurants closing early clearly signify the end of season :(

 The weather this week has turned overnight with cloud, rain and cooler temps. But I dont believe it is the end of the warm weather, as once the sun appears it soon warms up. I am reluctant to get the winter clothes out and am resisting as long as possible to put the duvets back on the beds!

Last year, the summer stayed for a long time and we were on the beach well into October but this year appears to be different. Many people say we dont really have an autumn as this change is so subtle, that overnight winter arrives to stay!

 As an english person I should have a natural aversion to rain and cloud but it never really bothered me. And to live in a place with such little rain and grey days is still something that is almost strange to me. This last year we have had such little rain, only about 6 days have we had any sight of rain and that was always short-lived. I start to crave something different from sunshine and blue sky! We were desperate for rain, I was craving to see the rain fall and then last week it did, it really came down. It was so refreshing and renewing somehow, and instead of making me down it lifted me.

Something I really miss from home is the proper changing of the seasons. When I was living there, it was something I didnt look forward to, the dark and cold nights. But now I miss it, especially the changing of the trees. Here, because we dont have the same type of trees and mostly because the temperature changes so slowly and subtley we dont not get the beautiful colours in the trees and I really miss it, more than ever. But its not just the trees, I am missing home, I have not been 'home' in over 3 years as much as I want to go, I have not been able to.