School’s (Nearly) Out For The Summer!

As I write this (or at least start to), it’s Tuesday on the last week of school, before the girls break up for the Summer. And I’m going to utter those words that all parents utter at this time of the year “WHERE on earth did this year go….? How are we finishing ANOTHER year of school…?!?”

But for our little family, and our girls in particular, there is an added dimension to this school year: they started it living in California, going to a US Elementary School, in Third Grade and Kindergarten.

And they’re finishing it in London, going to a UK Primary School, in Year Four and Year One.

And I couldn’t be prouder of them.

(6YO will not be happy to learn that simply typing these words has brought a tear to my eyes – she thinks that Mummy cries [generally happy tears] too easily – she is a hard-hearted soul 😉)

Our Trans-Atlantic transition has brought many tears and tantrums to be sure. For all of us. Me in particular. As you can imagine, I cried lots. Telling the school that we were leaving was one of the most heart-wrenching moments of my life (left pic). And just before pick up on the girls’ last day, I sat outside and tried to smile through what was now a pretty steady stream of tears (right pic).

We arrived in California with a vast number of suitcases, and not much else. We’d left all our family, friends we loved, our house, jobs, town, country, culture, everything…. all behind. And over three and half years we’d built a full, rich and very happy life. And all centred around the girls’ school. Whilst we never stopped missing home, our hearts had grown to wrap themselves around the people and places we’d come to love too. It was a very difficult decision to decide to leave all that.

(Cue: more ‘wet eyes’ as 6YO calls them, and deep breaths as I type.)


But leave we did.

And being us, we couldn’t resist one last adventure before settling back into UK life. Being far more ‘hippie’ than I ever thought I was, we took the girls out of school, and took three and half weeks to show the girls a little of the country to which they’d been pledging allegiance every morning. Leaving our house just before Thanksgiving we drove 2,000-odd miles to Denver, Colorado – via California (Santa Barbara, Palm Springs), Arizona (Phoenix, Flagstaff & the Grand Canyon), New Mexico (Alburqueque) and Colorado (Pueblo, then finally Denver) . Then we flew to the East Coast, to take in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Pittsburgh and back to NYC before getting on our plane to London. Here are just a few pics of our trip:


(So of course it’s Wednesday now! 😉 Full-time Bloggers, how do you ever get a post done in one stint? I find it impossible 😉 Oh goodness, just noticed I only have 16% battery now… the pressure is on…)

And what then? What happened next?

Well, to be honest, looking back at it, it’s all a bit of a blur… I can not believe it’s nearly the end of July. We had snow; that I know. It was (very) cold. At Easter I ate far too much chocolate and seem to have ruined my skin ever since 😉 I turned 40 at half-term. And then for the last couple of months we’ve had sun; it’s been (very) hot (and sweaty). But essentially, we did it. We made it through. Started school (and for 6YO it was actually STARTING school in Kindergarten) in one country, and are about to finish it in another.

The girls have been so so amazing.

Despite being as broken hearted as I was to leave their friends, and the only life they really knew, behind (6YO was 2YO when we moved – California is really all she has known), they were absolute troopers on their first day, learning the daily routine, making friends and arranging play dates before I knew it. And they’ve completely taken in their stride moving up an academic year. 6YO has totally got to grips with phonics and 8YO has got to know her times tables. All without (much) complaint. They are fully fledged British school girls, currently rocking gingham dresses and white ankle socks, staples of a classic British Summer school uniform.

But having been going to school (aside from our little travelling escapade) for approaching 11.5 months (we started mid-Aug 2017) we are all ready for a well-earned rest…! Phew!!

Yes, yes, I know that School Holidays are actually the reverse of a rest for parents, but…. not to have the pressure of uniforms, PE Kits, library books, swimming kits, cake sales, assemblies, school trips, milk money, school projects, volunteering schedules, hair tied back, school shoes, book bags, snacks, water, hats, etc etc etc… is going to be such a relief. I can not wait.

It’s going to be just as manic, but much messier (and louder!) than usual for the next six/seven weeks. I will be exhausted by the end of it. And I will be counting down the days until school starts again. I know this. But for now, I for one am going to be doing a little happy dance on Friday, because…..

“School’s Out for the Summer!!!”

Much love,

Elena x

Elena Contented Kid Signature




This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 and is filed under California, Friends, Parenthood, School, Travel