Tristans and Digbys

G and I returned to Middle School last night. It was our final installment of meet the creature, but of course Middle School means a teacher for every subject, it was now meet the creatures. Two and a half hours people. Two. And. A. Half. Hours.

The first little traveller had written her schedule, complete with class numbers and directions, and within moments of the first bell sounding we returned to the world of “Do you know where the Science Lab is? and “What have you got next?” Parents waved their timetables at each other in the hallways and asked “Are you going to Language Arts?” I found myself asking a friend “Who have you got for PE? What’s he like?” I retuned to my old habits, I went off into a day dream during math and missed the bit about where to find that night’s homework. In Science the teacher was busily showing us an experiment involving the speed of a rolling bottle, but all I wanted to do was put my hand up and ask if he knew how to tell the sex of a chromosome?

Pull its genes down.

Middle School didn’t exist in my world as a child, it was Primary school (Elementary to you North Americans) until Grade seven, and then High School from years eight through twelve. G on the other hand was busy learning how to identify a Volvo from an Audi at a terribly terribly nice boys school in Melbourne, a school full of Tristans and Digbys. They had a Middle School.

When he talks about those days, it’s not with a great fondness. He was an expat child, who had returned to Australia from an International school in the Philippines. With parents from Queensland and a stint of Primary School in Sydney in his back pocket, he had to quickly work out how to “fit in” with the Melbourne tribe. When he began to make friends he realized that there was no-one else in the same boat as him.

The first little travellers experience couldn’t be more different. After a quick survey of the children, Lizzie’s Language/Arts teacher was able to give us these statistics from her class.

The Average student in her class has lived in THREE nations.

They have attended FOUR different schools.

They have visited ELEVEN countries.

They are bilingual.

They might speak English, Arabic, French, Dutch, Japanese, Danish, Spanish, Serbian, Croatian, Afrikaans, Korean, Russian, German and/or Malay.

When I was twelve I went to Kangaroo Island (by Ferry), I spoke a handful of Greek swear words (taught to me by mates at school) and I lived one street away from the Primary and High School that were situated right next to each other.

“Did they have planes when you were a kid Mum?”the little travelers have asked. My children think it’s a bit weird that I didn’t get my first passport until I was in my twenties.

And I understand why, it turns out that my four children, born in four different countries, who’ve traipsed across the world and studied in three different school systems, are really very average.

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