I’d dreaded telling the boys that we were moving to Abu Dhabi. I was prepared for anything–screams, shouts, tears, adamant refusal.
We’d rehearsed our speech, Husband and I, tried to anticipate all the questions and eventualities, but in fact we needed almost none of our talking points. The only moment of upset happened when Caleb thought our spring break trip would be our permanent move and that he’d have to leave without saying good-bye to any of his friends. Once we settled that, the boys got excited–about the beach, about the warmth, and about the glossy school they will be attending.
Well, okay, there’s one itsy-bitsy glitch, which we’re hoping to resolve this week. The school has admitted Liam to its 6th grade, but wants to “screen” Caleb–as they do for any student coming into the Lower School. They won’t put him on the wait list for 2nd grade until they screen him, and no amount of subtle New York parent jockeying would sway the registrar: we stopped just short of saying “99th percentile, folks, NINETY-NINE!” (That’s the score required for kindergarten admission at Caleb’s public school and yes, that in and of itself is a problem, but that’s a post for another day.)
That’s my only fear at the moment: that we’ll get halfway around the world and my kids still won’t be in the same school. We’re hoping that the school will find a place for Caleb after this screening and then I stop holding my breath.
As far as Caleb is concerned, however, this spring break trip is for him and his brother to check out the school,which we spent some time looking at online yesterday. The school pictures functioned a bit like a bribe: swimming pool, soccer fields, climbing wall in the gym, outdoor lunch area…yeah, it’s just like middle school in Manhattan.
So now we’re in the bliss of the business class lounge, each of us plugged into our electronica; we are as usual a family of four traveling with an electronics inventory that would put an Apple store to shame: 1 iPad, 4 laptops, 2 game boy thingys, 3 iPhones (one for international use, 2 stateside), plus all the corollary cables, plugs, wires, and chargers.
This trip will be quick–check out the school, check out the apartment we’ll be using next year, and (as far as I’m concerned) escape this non-starter of a New York spring. Liam wants to figure out where he’ll play soccer once we move–he’s distraught that at the moment the only soccer academy in AD is run by Manchester United, which is the arch-enemy of Arsenal, Liam’s team of choice.
It’s a long way to go for “vacation” (13 hours in the air, an entire world away in sensibility). I sit here with my fruit salad and perrier (I’m saving the champagne for the plane–I hate to admit it, but there’s something gratifying, in an insidious Marie Antoinette-ian sort of way, about sipping champagne while watching people shuffle back into coach) and can’t believe that in just a few months we’ll be back here, getting ready to fly to our new life.
Maybe the boys aren’t freaking out, but I think I might be.