Thursday, April 28, 2011

Schools & Shipping & Such

Sometimes I feel like more information causes me more stress and worry. I gather too much information and request too many opinions and then I get overwhelmed and freaked out. Not good.

Here in the US school is a simple situation. If you opt for Public then you go to the school and register your child and that's that. If you opt for Private, you contact the school, apply, possibly take a placement or assessment exam, pay a fee and voila.

In Abu Dhabi there are only Private Schools. According to the forums that I read and there seems to be more kids wanting placement then there are schools. People apply to multiple schools, paying $100's (non-refundable) in application fees. They hope and hope, get little communication and lots of frustration and stress. It's a transient area and people reserve spots and then leave the country and then people don't know if they have a spot and then freak out and apply to more schools and wait and wait and then find out which one they are in. Then - you have people starting their kids in "preschool" when they are 1. The waiting lists for the "good" preschools are about a year long and it's crazy!

I tried expressing my stress to Brian (my too-calm, too-relaxed, usually un-stressed husband) and he keeps reassuring me that it will all work out and that since we are going overseas with the government we are assured a school placement and I need to stop comparing myself to people in different situations.


We decided on a school and provided them with the 13 page application for each child.

We waited.

We heard back about having to do a Remote Assessment. They mailed a sealed envelope to the kid's principal with instruction not to open it until the day of the exam that she had to proctor.

The kids took their online exam, completedd an essay and she faxed off their information.

We waited.

I continued to obsess and stress. Brian tried to relax me.

We got an email today that Alexander was accepted and that Isabella needed to re-test on August 21st. This is about 2 weeks before school starts. Awesome.

I have contacted them to see what the concern is. Did she have trouble in a specific area? Should we apply for another school?

Brian is checking with his employer to see if should apply for both of them at another school. Alexander already got into a school that they had to be the application fee for. Would they even pay it again for another school? Argh.

Then I thought - fine. This may be the best fit for Alexander and another school may be the best for Isabella. I can deal with that.

Tried to explain the situation to the kids without explaining that Alexander passed the test and Bella didn't. Just suggested having them go to two different schools because they have different needs and different fits for different schools.

Alexander loved the idea. Not the same school as Bella. Not having her make him late because he wouldn't have to wait for her to take the bus to school. No problem.

Isabella had a fit. What!!! Such and such school sucks! There is no pool and they have to wear uniforms. I don't want to go therrrreeee.

Waiting to hear back to see what we're going to do. Another item on the "to do list" that's not completed 100%. Sigh.

On other issues......
Shipping people came by last week and took some estimates on the weight limits of what we have to ship/store. I realized how much stuff I STILL have when I had to point to every item, in every cabinet/shelf/closet and mention whether it would go to air freight/cargo freight/storage. I want to cut back more....However - I think we'll have 2,000 pounds to spare - I see this as an opportunity to buy 2,000 pounds of stuff when I'm there to return with us :) That's a lot of stuff.

Moving people are coming July 21st/22nd to pack us up and we'll move to a hotel for 10 days and then head to NY in early August.

Brian is down to about 19 days here in the US before moving away forever. 19 days. He is here until May 9th, then he travels for a bit for training until May 27th and then he's here until June 5th. 19 days to get things done. Have I mentioned he has to fix up our boat to sell, clean up the backyard stuff, go through the garage tools/paint/etc..., sort through about 10 boxes of miscellaneous CRAP that hasn't been gone through in 12 years, arrange our Mother's Day weekend to Seattle (his idea) and manage to clean out his current office. I think he's feeling the pinch. I'm dreading the possibility that he may leave and I'll be stuck handling more than I want to.

It will all work out the way it's supposed to. Everything will be fine.

On another note....I think I'm OCD. Been reading up on it and took some online quizes (because they are totally accurate and make it possible for you to self-diagnose and everything). I score high on the Obsessive stuff,not so much on the compulsive stuff. This would explain a lot. Trying to not be obsessiveon stuff, but it's hard. I cna't help it.

Everything will be fine. Things will work out.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I think I have a plan

So...I've been going back and forth about when to leave and if I go with Brian or on my own. I've worked on pro/con lists and I've asked dozens of people and gathered information. I think I have a plan and I think it will work:

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions/input/personal experiences. It has really helped me to make a decision that I believe is going to work the best for us.

Talked to Brian and I think I have a game plan. I always feel better when there is a plan. Let me know what the plan is and I can take it from there.

Brian has to go to some training for his new job in May (here in the states, but a plane ride away from where we live). He will return at the end of May and be home for about a week and then he will most likely head off to AD on his own.

I will stay for the month of June while the kids finish up school. At the end of June we will have the movers come and pack stuff up for storage, stuff up for our Cargo Shipment and stuff for our Freight shipment. Then, we will move into a hotel or with my mom (his employer will cover 30 days at a hotel for us). I will have time to get the carpets changed out, everything professionally cleaned and ready for renters.

We will spend the month of July here in the states, surrounded by friend & family and beautiful weather that we can be outside enjoying. We really have a wonderful Summer here that comes after months of being indoors while it is gray and rainy and will be itching to get outside. The kids will be able to do the Summer Camps that they enjoy and spend time with their friends.

We will leave in early August (with my mom) and fly to the East Coast where we will get to spend two weeks with family. My grandparents and loads of aunts/uncles/cousins live back there and who knows when we'll see them again.

Meanwhile.....Brian will get to figure out cable/internet/phones/driver's license/how to get to the store/whether I need to pack anything I didn't already think about/where the mall is/etc.... and be able to settle into his new job, knowing that me and the kids are back at home having a good time and surrounded by the comforts of home for a little longer. He doesn't need the added stress of a family of 5 getting settled in, while he is trying to settle in with a new job. He can send me pics of the new house and neighborhood too.

Then, in mid-August I will fly (on my own) with the three kids from NY to Abu Dhabi. Even if the trip sucks and my youngest is a raving, hyper, non-sleeping toddler - it's only a day. I can handle a day. I can pack some Xanax or have a glass of wine on the plane (great suggestions). It will be okay. It's one day of travel. I will arrive in AD in the middle of Ramadan, but won't have to be there for the entire bit of it. Brian will be settled and some of our stuff will have arrived. The kids will have 2-3 weeks to acclimate to the time change and the weather and maybe meet some other kids.

It will all be fine.

This is my current plan. I know it may change, but I think it will work best for us. Having a plan feels better.....