Friday, October 28, 2016

Half Term in Boroughbridge

I hated to miss writing yet another day yesterday, but this week is Half Term, and we enjoyed a day out with friends.  What is half term, you ask?  At least, my American friends will ask.  The British school calendar is fairly similar to "Year Round School" in the States.  There are three "terms," Autumn, Spring, and Summer.  Summer Term is obviously the worst.  It begins right about the time American schools are letting out, and it is the longest term of all.  Apart from the Summer Term, the schedule is pretty nice and seems to move quickly from break to break.  The kids go to school about 6 weeks then have a week off (half term), then approximately another 6 weeks and it's the two-week Christmas holidays.  Spring Term begins in January and feels super short.  Half Term falls in February, then they are off two weeks for the Easter Holidays.  It's then a hop, skip, and a jump to the half term at the end of May and then a long slog until the end of July and school finally letting out for the summer holidays.

February 2015 Half Term Fun at Beningbrough Hall

Moving to another country is like having to re-learn how to do life in every area.  Cultural nuances and differences permeate everything that humans do.  Traveling gives you a small taste of this; living day upon day, month upon month, year upon year continues to surprise me by there being continuous layers to peel up and uncover.  I spent thirty-two years gradually learning tastes, opinions, prejudices, speaking, writing, cooking, cleaning, etiquette, traditions, educational practices, spelling, hymns, driving, etc.  All of those things are different in some way and on some level here, and we're trying to learn what everyone who has lived here their entire lives learnt gradually as fast as we can.

Easter Holidays 2015 at Newby Hall

Sometimes I'm learning differences of perspective, and sometimes I'm learning simple things like: what goes on during Half Term for kids?  I was really excited to hear that the cinemas here often have cheaper tickets for children's movies.  We've really missed the free summer movies in Tuscaloosa, so we had so much fun getting to watch Finding Dory with friends this week in York at a fraction of the normal cost.

I told them to stand beside each other, but they each thought I was
talking to the other and remained 3 feet apart.

I enjoy half term because having the kids home 24/7 is a familiar rhythm of life to me since it was my experience for eight years of mothering.  It's a good time of brother-sister bonding, too.  They alternate between playing really well together and arguing.  I've been trying to let them work out their arguments without intervening more lately, partly because I think it's a good life-skill, partly because whatever they're arguing about seems of little importance.

This week has been really nice.  The first two days we stayed home.  I read a book and worked on a family photo book I needed to put together.  The kids played, watched television, and raked the leaves.  They've also both had colds and it was good to stay home coughing and blowing their noses, I think.  This last part of the week has held meeting up with friends and going out.  We enjoyed the cinema and eating at McDonalds, and yesterday we went to an American-style restaurant in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

It is such a fun taste of home.  This was our second visit, and I just love it.  My Louisiana Gumbo I had yesterday was so good.  And Ella had chocolate chip pancakes and was happy as could be. Tonight we're doing a little Trunk or Treat with friends at the American base nearby, so fun times!  

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