Charlotte, North Carolina
We made it safely to Charlotte, North Carolina and have spent the last few weeks settling into our little two bedroom flat, investigating our neighbourhood and meeting new people.
We have been so fortunate that the boys are enrolled in Dilworth Elementary School. It is one of those schools that you walk into and have a sense of wow! The staff are so caring and accommodating; it is incredibly well resourced, the halls are filled with fabulous kid’s artwork and you are surrounded by a sense of nurturing the love of learning. Rather inspiring!
The boys are enjoying school, which is a great relief, as the night before they started, there was no way Myles was going to go!!! I think he was way too enjoying holiday mode! They are struggling a little with the longer school days as they like them to be at school between 7.15am – 7.30am and you must be fully organised and ready to start at 7.45am. They only get a half hour break for lunch and play (which is killing Byron) and finish by 2.45pm. The early finish is lovely as they get a quick play in the park before we walk home, but the early morning starts in the cold and darkness tested us a little for the first few weeks. We are all now in a good routine with not too much whinging in the morning!
The boys were a bit of a novelty at first (with their strange accents!), but are now easily fitting in with the lingo. Many people find Orren and me difficult to understand, which we find somewhat amusing. I must say, it is only now I realise how “Ocker” our accents are! I had to ring the Australian Embassy here the other day and wow!! The Australian guy at the other end just sounded sooo “Straylian”. I had to hold back my chuckle!
We are living in a beautiful part of Dilworth, with stunning historical homes and huge tree-lined streets. I’m looking forward to Spring when all the trees get their leaves. We found our first open daffodil on the way home from school the other day. Think it was tricked into a false sense of Spring, as we had a few warmer days of 12C after some seriously cold weather of -12C at night. More cold weather is undoubtedly still to come. The north has recently been hit by immense snowstorms.
We have already met some lovely people. The lovely Miss Sara, who we met the day we enrolled the boys at school, arrived that week at our flat with a beautiful dinner and brownies she had made for us as a welcome to the area. People happily chat and offer their assistance when we appear lost or uncertain of how things work. The people below our flat are grandparents with grandchildren at the same school so we can walk up together.
We are happily settling into everyday life. The boys are learning heaps about different cultures, and I am still coming to terms with the fact that pickles can take up half an aisle in the supermarket, as can mustard!! And that there are shelves and shelves of pre-made cookie dough in the cold section! It’s interesting the differences in food products. We take for granted at home in Australia our access to things like great meat and all the Asian products we use.
We look daily for our resident squirrel that eats his nuts outside our window.
Myles celebrated his 7th birthday a few days after we arrived. Being a school “Mom”, I made Australian cupcakes for his class and we went snow tubing up in the mountains that weekend. Great fun! The boys are itching to get back there.
We also went and watched a very exciting NBA game – The Charlotte Hornets versus the Indiana Pacers (and some Jazzercise entertainment half time. Funny stuff!).
Valentine’s Day was a new experience for us, as it’s widely celebrated in schools more than with adults. Children exchanged small treats and cards at school. Our boys were chuffed to come home with treat bags full of “candy” etc.
Next we’re heading to Washington DC and Gettysburg for a long weekend.
(Part 9 of 25)