10th Anniversary

Looking back it would appear that this is the 10-year anniversary of my blog!

Many of the original posts were group emails I used to send to all my friends and family, updates of what I was up to while living abroad, often embellished somewhat to amuse my target audience. Then slowly it morphed into a blog – mainly for travel and then later covering the blow-by-blow minutiae of my daily life, work, adoption process and various crafty projects. I’m still not convinced anyone really reads it apart from a few kind friends or family members but I enjoy writing it. It’s very cathartic – like writing a diary or keeping a journal but out in public.

It’s a really good way to sort through my feelings or difficult issues as they come up and to share funny anecdotes, and capture my life as it rumbles along.

Looking back I have decided to list a few of my favourite posts, for those of you who feel like perusing the last 18 or so years of my life at your leisure.

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Refugee Ration Challenge

This year I have decided to undertake the Ration Challenge to try and raise money to support refugees.

I have felt frustrated and saddened by the plight of refugees – not just from Ukraine, but from so many countries around the world fleeing conflict and persecution. I wanted to take action and try to do something positive to help.

The Ration Challenge is a fantastic initiative by Concern Worldwide in which you ask people to sponsor you to eat the same rations as a refugee for a week. The more money I raise to support refugees the more “extras” I can earn to supplement my rations like teabags or milk or vegetables. You can find out more about the challenge and sponsor me here.

This week my ration box arrived so it seemed like a good time to go through it and share what I am doing in a bit more detail.

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I don’t know if there is a word for school-related admin so I’m going with Schoolmin.

At this moment, I have one child at Primary school across town, who will be starting a new Secondary school in September, and another child about to start at a different Primary school nearer to my house in September.

I don’t think I could adequately explain the volume of admin involved – there are THREE separate apps I have to download for parent communications because for some reason each school uses a different app; and there are also THREE different school-based payment platforms for meals and trips etc that I need to sign up to and get passwords and logins for; and then there are the 49 different forms to sign regarding the child’s medical history, Dr’s contact info, allergy info, school meal info, registration forms, pupil premium forms, etc; and the 57,000 letters and emails and messages flying about informing me about transition plans, and end of term activities, and SATs and homework and revision, and tours of the schools, and meet the teachers, and settling-in days for both kids at different schools, and requests to volunteer on the PTA, and requests to bake things for the bake sale, and to help out at the school disco, and reminders to be present and correct at any school engagements like parent assemblies and football matches, and pacts to sign swearing I will bring my child to school on time, in uniform and won’t take them out for holidays during term time on pain of death.

It’s pretty full on.

I have to remind myself that I’m a single mum with two kids and I’m not an evil monster if I don’t have the time or energy to be on the PTA or bake shit for the bake sales that apparently happen EVERY WEEK. Usually I love to join in and be involved but this is a CRAZY amount of admin and emails and communications. Obviously I’m terrified I’ll miss something important as I’ve never done this before, but JESUS CHRIST it’s a lot to take in!

It doesn’t help that A’s new primary school has a terrible website with no useful information (the “Parent Information” page is literally blank), and their transition page talks about a lovely slow transition with lots of visits and half-days for them to adjust to Reception and build up to doing full days etc, but the letter they have sent out to parents just basically says “We will visit you at home on XXX day and then they start full time on xx September” and that’s it. So I am wading through it all to try and figure out what is actually happening and hoping it will become clear