Friday, June 20, 2014

Last Week of School

This last week of school has been bittersweet.  For Liam, it's the only school he's ever known.  For Aidan, it's where the majority of his education has taken place.  It feels like home to them.  Wednesday morning, Aidan said to me "I wish school could last another month so I don't have to leave my friends so soon."  I hear you my boy... I hear you.

This is where they have built friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.  This is their place where they go every day to not just learn but to work hard, play hard and to make great friends.  And they have done just that.  School is so important from a multitude of angles.  But now it's time to say goodbye to our second home of BFIS as we move on to our new school later this summer.

This is the place where our children have grown their wings and learned to fly.  They have had a network of teachers and support that have given them the best opportunities to become the people they are today and to shape the foundation of who they will become tomorrow.  And each and every one of those people will be missed dearly.

But it's not just saying goodbye to our teachers this week, but also to some of our friends.  Friends that have grown up with our children in the last 4 1/2 years.  Who have become their support in their own special way.

On Wednesday, one of Liam's best buds, Logan, was having his last day.  I was at school for a play for Liam and am so glad that I was there because otherwise we might not have had the opportunity to say goodbye and to get one last round of photos with the kids.  Though our hope is that this is not goodbye but see you later and that they will visit us in Amsterdam and vice versa.

Shoma, Logan and Liam after the play (notice Liam's new Netherlands jersey - didn't take him long to change allegiances!)

The 4 musketeers - Shoma, Logan, Liam and Quinn - an awesome awesome group of kids!

One last shot on the playground.  Love these guys and totally going to miss them - I know Liam is especially sad to leave!

The mood in our house this week has been reflective of the impending move.  Aidan claims he's not moody but their is normal Aidan moody (and believe me, that's moody enough) and there is moody. He's sad, he's upset and yet he's excited for the new adventure ahead of us.  He's confused is what it comes down to.  And I get it.  I felt the same way when we came to Barcelona and left our friends in the US behind.  He'll hopefully understand that while he won't see them every day any more, the most important friendships, those really solid foundations, they aren't going to change no matter where he lives.

On Thursday we started to do repairs to our apartment and the leave is becoming more and more obvious.  Walls are being painted, furniture is being moved.  The Super Mario and Ninjago rooms are no more.  In fact, the boys had to sleep in my room Thursday night because all their furniture was in the middle of their rooms and the paint fumes were too much.

We also said goodbye to the turtle on Thursday evening.  Turti was a non-descript kind of pet.  He didn't do much.  The kids didn't play with him.  He was just... there.  But it was another sign of our time coming to a close.  Thankfully he's going to Aidan's best friend's house where he looks like he's going to have a much happier life sharing a tank with two other turtles and a play area that he gets to stretch his little turtle legs on.  It will be for the best but I can understand where he is coming from.  I took pictures but apparently my sd card needed to be reformatted and I've lost them.  Sorry Aidan :(

Liam is finally getting it.  The reality is sinking in as the school year comes to a close.  He's not doing badly but he's not happy either.  He has an amazing crew of friends (though so does Aidan) and it's really the first group of friends that he has had since when he came here at age 2 he wasn't really at the stage in his life where he was forming friendships in the same way he does now.

But Friday, Friday was the test of all tests.  We've said goodbye countless times over the last 4 1/2 years.  Too many to keep track of.  But this time, this time it's us leaving.  The relationships we've formed are true and this school has become our community - the amazing teachers, staff and all the friends that the kids have made.  I remember leaving our house in Attleboro with the tears flowing as we said goodbye to our lives there on our way to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Last day of 1st and 4th grade!!

Last day riding on the luxury bus to school (seriously, what a life they have!)

Last bus ride to BFIS!

Liam had his class party today.  I was making cookies first thing this morning - my only opportunity to do so (Liam I sacrificed my morning run for you - hope you enjoyed those cookies!) in order to get to school by 10:30.  Josh was returning the car today at 1 so it was back to the old school way of public transportation to get there.  Good thing too - it was a big day of towing cars at school (there is no parking lot, only street parking).

Anyways, Liam had his class party.  It was a fun morning filled with special "candy" awards for the kids.  Liam got the "exploding with positive attitude" award which came with pop rocks.  Absolutely adorable and totally fitting for my super positive kid.  There are many things that could hold him back but he doesn't let them, he just keeps on going in forward motion with a happy, smiley attitude.  That's my kid!!

Liam getting his award

His "exploding with positive attitude" award

Liam and Quinn ... Liam and Tomas

There was a video that the school made to the song "Happy" and a slide show of pictures that had been taken of the kids in class during the year.  It was nice to chat with some of the parents and watch the kids all having a great time, especially when it came to their yearbooks.  Everyone loves to sign yearbooks!!

Signing yearbooks

Liam and his friend Mateo watching Horton Hears a Who at the end of the school day... they've made themselves rather comfortable!!

We left Liam's class a little more abruptly than I planned and I'm sorry Ms. Kyle for not saying goodbye. The kids were off and running!  And it would have gotten emotional!!

Aidan apparently had his party yesterday.  How I missed the note home about it, is beyond me.  So I didn't see him until the end of the school day.  When I found him in his class (after I went to the wrong floor of the building searching for him - obviously my brain is mush these days), he and his friends were doing the Macarena to Just Dance. It was AWESOME!  I took a few pictures but unfortunately wasn't fast moving enough to grab video.  But the smiles on their faces said it all.  After that, Gangnam Style.  I love these kids... so much!

Aidan, Johnny and Guille doing the Macarena

Aidan, Guille and Johnny

Raul, Marc, Johnny, Aidan and Guille with Natalie in the back

Gangnam Style

We did a few goodbyes in Aidan's classroom.  Some of the kids we will stay in touch with, others likely not.  But it was sad nonetheless.  We did a few goodbyes and see you laters on the patio - I hate to say it, but I rushed out of there and didn't say goodbye to all that I was hoping to talk to - it was just becoming too emotional.  If we didn't say goodbye to you, it's not because we don't love you, it's because we just couldn't bear anymore in one day.

 Aidan and his awesome teacher, Ms. MaryAnn and his learning support teacher Ms. Meritxell... 

Aidan and Johnny
Aidan with Ms. Lefton and with his friend Isa (who was his first friend here in Barcelona).

Liam and Ms. Alex - thanks for sticking with us all these years Alex.  
You know how much it meant to us!

Hanging out on the patio reading yearbooks

Aidan, Pablo and Bruno... Alex and Aidan

But we didn't let the sadness bring us down.  We were off to the park with some good friends for one last big playdate.  Aidan had Max, Guille and Nicolau with him and Liam had Quinn and Miles.  It was a super fun day, exhausting for the kids to say the least, but full of running, playing, squirt gun fights and a casual lunch.  The perfect way to spend the last day of school.

Miles, Liam and Quinn at the park

The big kids - Max, Aidan, Nicolau and Guille

Aidan had to say goodbye to Nicolau today as he and his family are leaving for their summer trip this weekend.  It broke my heart.  He was so quick about it.  And I knew it was because he felt himself get emotional.  I could see it in his face.  And his mood afterwards reflected how difficult it was.  But now that Aidan's bigger the hope is he will use his email and really try to stay in touch with those he cares about and Nicolau is in that exclusive group of friends for Aidan.

Aidan and Nicolau

We dropped off Liam at Quinn's house for the night.  Quinn leaves for his family summer trip tomorrow.  Ahhh ex-pat life - people don't stick around after school gets out.  So tomorrow we will say goodbye again.

It's been a rough week and as we enter our last 10 days in Barcelona, I expect that we will continue to experiences these rollercoaster emotions.  Excitement at what is to come and sadness as to what we are leaving behind.  All I know is that we will embrace these last days with enthusiasm and will do our best to leave here with the happiest of memories knowing that we took full advantage of our time here and met amazing people who have had an everlasting impact on our lives.


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