Cold sweat forms on my brow as I carefully look over the information on the screen. I go to push the button and the last decade flashes through my mind. My head begins to float as I try to remember purchasing my first one-way ticket to London.
But I can’t.
I remember selling my car to pay for it. I remember having to purchase it last minute. I remember thinking how foolish I was for not saving more over the last year. I remember sitting with my parents trying to both “kill” time and make it stop while waiting in the airport before the first leg of my journey. I remember trying to burn my families’ images, voices and embraces into my brain. I remember trying not to cry too much and to focus on the moments ahead.
I remember trying to appear strong but feeling like I was made out of sugar glass.
Things are very different in America now. As am I. A girl left but now will return as a woman. Have I changed for the better? How has my family members changed? How has the job market changed? How has the political atmosphere altered? These are all things running through my head.
It’s bought. Three one way flights to the U.S. It’s happening. BLIMEY. Not that this is a spur of the moment decision. We have discussed it for years, it took 14 months for us to go through the Visa process, several months of downsizing / packing up family possessions and a month to make Peaches an American citizen. So. This is happening!!!
Wait, I’m confused, what is happening…..
...oh let me explain. In July my South African partner and British daughter are moving to America with me. There will be some alterations to the blog/instagram as we transition. Some further delays in posting may be possible (as we do not even own laptops anymore… whhhhhhhhat. #DOWNSIZING). But. I will keep the writing up - in whatever form it may evolve into. I am still a dummie. The writing will continue, I hope you dear reader, will come along for the ride.
A typical Weekday Duty Schedule
5:00pm ‘’On duty’’+
5:15 prep time, roll taken, attendance mandatory, a lot of chasing up
6:00 supper in the dining hall
6:30 roll call taken and general announcements made
7:00 in office or putting on/helping out with activity or sport
9 roll call, general well being check ins and notifications shared
11pm ‘’Off duty’’++
6am get up and ready*
7:00 ‘’On duty’’ first round of wake up knocks on student rooms
7:30 second round, followed by herding students down to the dining hall
7:45 breakfast in dining hall, roll call taken
8:00 back to boarding house
8:20 third round, followed by herding students off to school
8:40 lock student rooms
+but really you never gone off, as rooms are unlocked after school, students making various requests throughout the day, a lot of continual liaising
++except if there is an emergency, fire alarm, or a whim that posses the boarders
*variable, between 4 - 6:30 depending on Peaches
**except emails still come through for many reasons, all urgent and needing replies. Or if a maintenance request is being filled. Or for any other reason - as you live IN the school.
Confused? Why wouldn’t you be. A duty shift starts in the PM, ends before midnight, picks back up in the morning and ends again before school. What may be confusing you is the off duty - on duty. These are when we are official not on the clock (being paid) but are technically on duty if someone needs us (still, is unpaid).
Oh. Okay. Well, not too bad you may be thinking. Well, our shift is every other day - meaning : we work either an AM or PM shift EVERYDAY. Sometimes both shifts if we work on consecutive days - which happens often.
Oh. But you get your weekends off, right? Sometimes. We get our Saturday and Sundays ‘’off’’ every third weekend. (And I say ‘’off’’ because we live IN the boarding house with the students. As a parent, you know, you are NEVER off duty). Otherwise - we working. Like now, as I am blasting the ‘’Guilty Feminist’’ podcast and trying to get a post done all from the office of the girls’ boarding house doing my 10am to 6pm shift this fine Sunday afternoon.
So, my friends. THIS. This is currently our life. It gets a bit much. There are no Snow Days or Labour Day Mondays off for us - just like parenthood but mushed in with also being an employee.
This is boarding.
And I don't know what Professor Snape's shifts were scheduled like, but I can totally understand why everyone thought he was grumpy.
My writing has been a little lost since we began our boarding adventure. Our current living situation plays a large part of that, most of my writing about boarding life is kept private to protect those under our care.
So that is one excuse. Another is illness - I seem to catch everything that goes around the school. Germs, germs, germs. Cannot totally escape them. The plus side? Peaches should have one hell of an immune system!
My third excuse is mourning.
My paternal Grandfather passed away. He knew it was coming and was more ready than we, his family. He would have good days and bad days battling from inside a hospital bed in Texas. For 56 Days I shifted between sporadic crying, optimism, and of just feeling numb. Days where my daughter grew up just a little. Kids are intuitive, knew she needed to put those pudgy arms around my neck, gently rub my shoulder and ask if I as “Okay mum? Okay?” I am not.
I am now Grandpa-less.
Peaches had yet to and now will never meet him. That bothers me.
What bothers me the most is that I spent so much time being angry with him. For what? I am not entirely sure. I can only guess that I thought he owed me something, because instead of sticking around our home state year-round, he decided to travel. How dare he, right? How dare he live his life to the fullest, instead of waiting around for his growing grandchildren to decide to visit every blue moon.
I can only think that this anger was due to my childhood ignorance, my selfishness but also because of the great memories of holidays spent at theirs. I felt they were denying me more memories.
Kids always want more.
The ones I have are full of love. He was a good dude. A genuinely GOOD DUDE. He was funny, kind, open minded, generous, silly, intelligent, creative and an artist. He was a lot of things to a lot of people. Including a brilliant partner of 67+ years to my Grandmother. My GPA loved and was loved fully in return.
I would like to share a quote from one of his favourite books, “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut.
“A flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on Earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing. Zog landed at night in Connecticut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golfclub.”
He would bring this part up frequently in our discussions on life, but he could never stop himself from giggling.
In a bittersweet realisation I have just had - it is about a failure of communication.
Not an instructional blog but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - so help me Mom.