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Monday, September 10, 2012

Still Summer in London

When you live in London you learn to roll with the weather. Be prepared, scout-like. Come what may. I wore a scarf to the school gates today (Thank you, my own Big Brother's lovely wife!). So when no homework came home in 4 tiny rucksacks and the forecast was for hot and sunny, we took the train to Broadstairs Saturday morning. A sandy English beach.  Hooray, the sand. It is somewhat uncommon here. Even more so than a real hot sunshine.

At our destination we found a quaint Victorian seaside village where Charles Dickens stayed and wrote lots. Funny thing about Dickens. In moving here, one of my biggest fears was that we would subject the Smalls to a Dickensonian school life.  Au contraire.  In fact, how funny today that we'd tell our beloved Assistant Head Teacher where we were on Saturday, and he'd light up with excitement! Broadstairs!  Turns out that place is exceedingly special for his family.  His dad (a singer/songwriter) has played there for years!  It is a favorite family spot!  And would you know I looked up from my Saturday newspaper supplements to see the Mister visiting with French friends from school along the shore.  Of course.

This is how you know you're home.  You run into people.  Even an hour or more away from home. You just start to know people. Around Europe. So fancy! But even more, so lovely and normal.

Cabanas. Quaintly vintage kids' play area. Fish and chips shop along the beach. Not quite a chirinquito, but we're still in England, so this was perfect. The sun shone and we came home with pink cheeks.  Hooray, summer still on our island!

Sunday we spent at the Hyde Park Serpentine Lido where we ran into more school friends! Then Big Sister and I snuck away for a date paddle boating. My girl's legs aren't long enough yet to push the pedals, but she's good at steering and even better at chatting in pink glitter sunglasses.  We were solo in the sunshine with lovely views of Parliament from the Serpentine. When you live here you appreciate maybe twice annually getting so warm you're sticky. Warms yer heart I tell ya.

And speaking of warm hearts, don't even get me started on the back to school crushes that have been discussed in the wee hours (which is frankly, anything after dinnertime in my book) of the night here. Be it in kindergarten or Year 6, I have the same words of wisdom (although I'm sure at some point, my counsel will run up against hormones): "If you pair up with anyone - even in selecting a best friend, you risk others thinking you're not open for being friends with them." Are you with me, friends?  My household welcomes lots and lots of friends. But girlfriends and boyfriends?  No. Not happening here. For a while longer. I had my first crush when I was about Big Sister's age, but girls are much more advanced and we had boys first. So. Also ugh.

Also on that subject.  Biggest Brother described his crush as being sort of a girl version of Big Brother in Year 6! To which Big Brother wasted no time in querying, "So. Am I being replaced?!"  Biggest Brother laughed heartily at that prospect! Impossible!  In fact, never, possible, my dear. You two are forever joined. There is no greater compliment than Biggest Brother looking for a girl version of you, but rest assured, I'm fairly certain there isn't nor could be an equal to you in his heart. Ever. You are his first and always very best friend.  I had reason to tell Big Brother recently that he said, "I love you" to Biggest Brother the first and I can still see why.  There's no greater agape than what's between those two guys.

And these two little ladies. The Mister and me. (Although I think we graduate to eros!)  We're all neatly paired. Happily so. Stuck with each other. When the six of us were on these very neat swings (Europe not being terribly litigious is always almost palpable when you're at any sort of playground), I remembered friends advising regarding family size that an even number is just efficient and neat on amusement rides. Indeed. So it was that Big Brother and I swung near Biggest Brother and Big Sister, just down from the Mister and Baby Sister.

The sun shone on us all and we were together. Happy and healthy. Seems greedy to ask for any more.

Today I told the staff at Our Sweet School that this is our last year there. I'm not sure if I should take any sort of pride in making various faculty members get verklempt, but coupled with the exceedingly sentimental notes I gave their teachers on the first days of school, I can attest to the fact that the fabled British Stiff Upper Lip sometimes quivers.  Or maybe I'm just turning them all into Yanks.

I'm not sure of the etymology of "September," but I'm fairly sure it is sentimental.

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