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20 January 2014

School Is Going Well

I thought I would follow up and write more about how school is going for the girls.  They still like it - so that is good news!
After school clubs started this past week, Georgia has a mandatory drama club on Mondays for all girls in her level, as they will be performing the Cole Porter musical play "Anything Goes" this term. She had a tryout for parts this week and was pretty nervous about singing in front of others. She hasn't yet found out what her part will be. Georgia also signed up for another drama club on Wednesday afternoons.  On her regular school days, she stays until 5:20pm, and on her club days, she is at school until 6pm. Except Fridays, school is out at 3:20 pm.
Olivia and Sophia have clubs on Mondays and Tuesdays. On Mondays they have Drama and on Tuesday they have Multi-Sports. They were very excited to find out their first sport will be Football (Soccer) for the first three weeks.  Girls don't seem to really play soccer here like they do in the US, and Olivia was very disappointed to hear that! On their regular days, they stay until 3:30pm, and on club days, they stay until 4:45pm. Except Fridays, school is out at 3pm.
Georgia had her first test - on Geography. She was pretty stressed out about it, as it would be Geography of England, something that is totally new to her. She had to label bodies of water, rivers, and cities in England on a map.  We tried to convince her that nobody expected her to jump right in and know everything perfectly just a few days into a new school in a new country. But, she was worried all the same. She felt that she got about half the answers correct.  I don't think that is too bad, considering.
Sophia had her first spelling test. And she scored a 10 out of 10! Here are the words she had to spell:
1. made
2. came
3. wait
4. train
5. weight
6. eight
7. would
8. shoulder
9. could
10. should

Olivia also prepared for her first spelling test, but it was postponed until later today, so we don't know how she has done yet.
Her words:
1. airport
2. north
3. short
4. torch
5. report
6. story
7. morning
8. shore
9. ignore
10. core
11. explore
12. therefore
13. store
14. more
15. adore

Olivia and Sophia bring home "browsing books" each day to read from their classroom. They also get to bring home a library book each week to read.  Sophia chose a book that is 94 pages long! We are working through it a little at a time. It is interesting as she is more of a reluctant reader than Georgia and Olivia.  I think she is doing pretty well with it, considering she has to pronounce names like, "Mr. Posthelwaite"!

I have gotten used to driving somewhat and am feeling more confident.  We leave the apartment at 7:15am to go to the parking garage to get the car. We used to have to cross a whole bunch of streets with heavy traffic to get to the parking garage, but Chris found us a shortcut. We cross over the bus lanes out in front of our apartment and head down into the tube station, and come out of another entrance to the tube station which brings us up across the street, right next to the garage.  It saves time and is a lot less nerve-wracking! The drive to school takes about 35 minutes, and we go to the Upper School, where Olivia and Sophia take the school mini-bus to their lower school location, and I wait with Georgia for a few minutes and then I head back to the apartment.
The drive back to the apartment is a little more interesting, as there are a TON of bicycle riders here, and bike lanes are shared with the main roadway.  Motorists are to yield to bike riders, and they kind of weave in and out of the cars. It feels a little bit like trying to drive in the middle of a really slow Tour de France!
I had some adventures with the car last week too. There are some automated features to the car and the windshield wipers are one of them. I didn't realize how to turn off the rear windshield wipers and they were apparently on for a couple of days.  I finally figured that out and my rear windshield is really clean! ;)
I have a keycard to enter and exit the parking garage that I keep on the dash in a little compartment. One day, I exited the garage, and put the keycard back where I keep it (I thought), and took the girls to school. When I returned to the garage, I couldn't find the keycard anywhere!  I know I put it back, so I couldn't figure out what had happened to it! I studied the dash, like I thought it was just going to magically reappear, and then it dawned on me… instead of putting the card in the compartment, I stuck it in the CD player. So, I pushed the eject button, and out slid my keycard! Thank Goodness! I had to laugh at myself though!!
For the first week of driving, I played only the classical music station on the radio. It was soothing as I was pretty worked up about driving, and the traffic, and the rain, etc.  Until the one afternoon I was driving and the William Tell Overture came on! I felt like I was in a race!  I figured out how to use my phone with the radio using bluetooth and since there are no country music radio stations here at all (imagine that!), I often listen to the country station with Spotify.  I always laugh when I am stuck in traffic and the Diamond Rio song "Beautiful Mess" comes on!  Sometimes life really does need a soundtrack, don't you think?
The girls are getting used to eating lunch at school everyday. In the US, we always packed lunches but here, that is not an option. Everyone is required to eat lunch together at school, and the menus seem to be healthy and wholesome. Sophia wasn't crazy about eating lunch at school at first, as they are required to try everything. But, she came home one day last week and raved about the lunch she was served and said it was the best ever! (If you click on the picture, it will become larger for you to see better).  The menu she said was the best ever was Tuesday's meal!

I sometimes pick up lunch from the grocery near our apartment, Waitrose. This is a soup I got last week - it was quite good.

The parking garage that we park in is beneath a pretty ritzy, river front residential and business complex called St. George's Wharf.  I snapped a few pictures of some of the cars we see in there that aren't exactly driving down every street in the US!

We also park near this Bentley

On some school days, I pick up the little girls and then we have about an hour or so to kill before it is time to get Georgia. We found a Starbucks and hung out there one day, and last week, we stopped into a little spot that was recommended by one of the American moms from Broomwood Hall.  The place is called Sloupe and it is right across from the Upper School.  It is a really neat and cozy place, but hard to describe, so I am including their postcard so you can read about them, as well as a few pictures I took there.
There is a collection of games the kids can play with while you wait.

Isn't this a neat candle holder - it is a small can with clothespins clipped all around the edge and inside is a votive candle.

Ladies Cut and Blow Dry - 42 pounds - that is $70.72 !

These military helicopters flew overhead one day last week. It reminded me a little of California and the military aircraft you see there all the time.

This sign is on the side of the Nightingale Pub, right across the street from the Upper School.

This song came on the radio this week and reminded me of Mom and Dad.

We got takeaway (UK for take-out) from a local restaurant last week, Nando's. Their specialty is peri peri chicken. It was really delicious. (Also called Piri Piri - wikipedia says: Piri piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin and "especially prevalent in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa".[5] It is made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon.[6]
Recipes vary from region to region but the common ingredients will be the chilli, lemon, oil, red bell peppers and garlic.

This Southern girl was really happy to find fresh okra in the grocery store last week! I tossed it with olive oil, pepper and some garlic salt and roasted it for a snack. Yummy!

I saw this interesting site last week while driving. (Don't worry, I was stopped when I took the photo!) One side of a two lane road was blocked off for road work. Instead of two people with stop signs flagging traffic, they use these portable stop lights.  Seems to me like a much more cost-effective way to divert traffic around road work than the way they do it in the US.  

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