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Despite all my best intentions, I seem to be lucky if I manage to write a post once a week. I am so lame.

We've been having torrential downpours here for over a week. Huge puddles of standing water in the roads, lakes in all the fields, and the ditch around our lot is running with water all day. We've had armageddon clouds and grey skies for what feels like forever. Yesterday, there was actually about an hour or so of sun right in the middle of the day when I went for my lunch walk, and today, it was only spitting a bit when we went out, though it turned dark and began bucketing down again about an hour later.

Got the okay on my Christmas vacation time off, and I got everything I asked for, which means about 2.5 weeks off for only sacrificing 4 vacation days. WOOT! Thanks, Christmas and New Year's, for falling in the middle of the week. Axis very kindly gives us two in-between days. They call them pinch-days here, ...I actually can't remember what they're called in the States. Bridge-days? It's the Friday after New Year's, and the Monday before Epiphany.

I'm feeling the need for some time off, though I'm not desperate, and I'll have Thanksgiving week as well, so all in all, I have a lot to look forward to! I'm hoping to get some Christmas shopping done soon, so that I can take things home with me and not have to mail them.


Karin is considering doing a year of high school in the States, but we found out today that she will for sure have to re-do the year here in Sweden. There is no way around it and no way to test out of it. A year of high school in the States counts for nothing, grade-wise, here. So she has to decide what to do, and she's really torn. If she has to repeat a year, she'll be behind all her friends. But the experience and the fun she'll have in the States (with the expectation that she has the RIGHT kind of fun...) are very tempting.

Hard to give her advice as well, since I'm torn myself. I have always thought it would be great if my kids could do a year or so of school away but at the same time, I dread them leaving, and as far as I'm concerned, they can just as well stay here. I can't imagine my life, or my daily routine, without them. Sounds pathetic, I'm sure, and I know every parent has to face it sooner or later, but—and this is something I NEVER thought I'd say—right now, I choose later.
mood: tired
music: none, just me


We were up against this decision with Amélie, and ultimately decided it was worth repeating the year for. So at 15, she became a sophomore at a high school in Michigan. It was a phenomenal year for her in so many ways, and I think was quite valuable in laying the groundwork for what she is doing now in an anglo-saxon university.

That said, it was awfully tough to have such a young child be so far away. She came home at Christmas, and again in May to take an entrance exam for her French high school. The year went by fast and Skype was vital for us.

No regrets at all. It really served to enforce the American side of her identity, and she was able to partake in so many of those activities so dear to small-town America, like cheerleading, yearbook, the high school musical, choir, and other electives that don't exist here in France.

I'd look deeply into the "must repeat the year" clause. In fact, had we pushed it, Amélie could have gone right in to her proper grade upon return. After all, an American moving over here would not be asked to repeat the entire school cycle, right? I saw many expat kids be put right into their normal school year when coming over from the States. I should've challenged the school's "rule" because I know now it was not set in stone.

Thanks for your input, and the does seem worth it in so many ways. We don't have any of those electives here in Sweden either. I will do some more checking about the repeat requirement as well. I think it's crazy. If she can test out of it, what is the point??


The experience of all the "fun" here is great - but the reason to repeat the year...look at the stats concerning the poor ratings of American education. It is most likely a wasted year for book learning. Of course, that's probably what Karin might like all the more - the social side would be great!
Love, Lizardmom

Yeah, that's what I'm worried about, haha!

I've been reading about the rain in Skåne. We've not had so much up here, but you guys seem to be flooded. I don't like days and days of low clouds and rain - very depressing.

But at least you have got the holidays you want and a chance to see the lizard family in The States for Thanksgiving. Bonus!

Wow, I'm somewhat surprised that they would make Karin repeat the whole year if she studies a year in the US. It's not as though Swedish schools are exactly topping the world rankings or anything. What an attitude. I think I'd be inclined to be a bit pushy and obnoxious about that rule and see if there is some compromise that could be made. It sort of reminds me of when I was getting my uni qualifications looked at here. The law degree from Adelaide Uni was a puzzle to them and even the MBA from Oxford was perhaps not quite as valuable as the course in Flower Arranging on a Budget from Tomelilla Folkhögskolan. I really thought they'd moved on from that.

And then there's the instinct to wrap them up and keep them safe and with you always! I know that feeling as well. My daughter was older when she took a gap year at the end of high school, but I still was torn when she wanted to go away. I knew the experience would be invaluable, fun, allow her to grtow and mature etc. But she was still my little girl... never easy.

Nail on the head. It's going to be hard no matter when it happens, I'm sure!

Wee.. Great Christmas vacation time. Good for you. And Thanksgiving in the states with family. Nice, Liz!

Maybe a way to push the not repeating a year thing would be summer school when she gets back? Do they have that? Would they maybe replace the repeat year with summer school?

I faced those feelings of dread when we planned to send my oldest, Laurel, as an exchange student to Rome. But then it fell through at the last moment on a technicality. But not before I had to face the feelings of letting go of her for a year.
She wanted it so bad, and I decided that it would be a wonderful experience and opportunity. This was before skype.

Keep us posted on what is decided. It has been fun watching the journey of your children growing up Liz.

I don't know if there is any such thing here as summer school, will have to look into it. I think it's crazy that she couldn't test out of repeating... they place kids who move here in the middle of high school somehow, so why would this be any different?

Right! A simple test could tell them she is ready to go on with her classmates.

From Megsie

I have been thinking a lot about what it would be like if my kids were not here. I can't fathom it. I know it is inevitable, but I can't even imagine them not being here. It is weird, because when Sarah was a baby, I kept thinking that it was only a dream and she really wasn't here to stay...but now? She CAN'T LEAVE HER MOMMY! Ha!

I would totally push the holding back a year issue. That seems ridiculous to me.

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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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