International Mindedness

Friday, September 7th 


I am super tired. Why? No idea. The coffee is labeled with numbers correlating to their level of strength. I have no idea what the top of the scale is but I’m thinking I need to up my number regardless.

In my former profession as an International Baccalaureate Coordinator, I was consistently interacting with IB’s Learner Profile. I’ve continued to think about it on an almost daily basis but in particular I’m thinking of the Communicator attribute. You see, I recently logged on to Brooks’ school portal to find a letter from the PE department. The letter seems to be very detailed for those that know what in the world is going on but confusing for an outsider like myself. For example:

Students must wear clean indoor trainers.

Great. Cool. Got ’em.

In talking to Brooks, he said that everyone’s indoor trainers are white. He has the only black ones.

I never even saw white ones and no where did it indicate that the indoor trainers were supposed to be white. I’m assuming that this is one of those things imbedded in local culture that you’re just supposed to know.

Part of this is my fault. I picked a local private school, not the international private school that most expats go with. I’m sure the international school is much better about providing this kind of information to parents from various backgrounds but the Albyn school was much more aligned with my educational beliefs. (Although there are spelling tests challenges given on Fridays and the whole class has the same list of words in addition to math facts like mad minute but that’s another soap box.)

It did make me wonder about the number of things that we’re clear to parents at my previous school. We generally did a good job of explaining to parents what we did differently from other schools and explaining why. Did we do a good job of explaining our version of the American school system to those parents who were having their first American/Texas school experience?

IB says that Communicators express themselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. They collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups. I think though that being an effective communicator at an IB school means understanding what makes your situation unique (words used, traditions, etc.) and being able to explain it to people by rooting it in their schema – which would require knowledge of their cultural experience.

I have an “induction meeting” at B’s school today wherein I’m sure that I’ll make quite the spectacle of myself by being THAT PERSON that asks questions about things that are just known to everyone else in the audience.


Monday, September 10th

Everything above that line was written under extreme drugging by Xyzal. Brett complained that I’d snored so loudly the night before that he couldn’t sleep. Since we STILL have no furniture, he had no where else to go. So, I took a Xyzal before I went to bed – one of Brooks’ – and was SO out of it the following day. Hence the rambling notes above.

Update on the induction meeting:

It was a basic parent meeting explaining the kind of programs they use. They have a great social emotional program that is very similar to the learner profile that uses an iceberg. It has made a real impact on Brooks. He actually got two clan tokens today!

Just like in Harry Potter, there are “houses” at school except that they call them “clans”. You get clan tokens when you’re caught doing good things or when you’ve worked hard at something – demonstrated the values below basically. The tokens go into your clan container and you compete against the other clans. No idea what happens if you win.

Not a great picture because no one was taking pictures and I felt super awkward! Another difference between American and UK/French parents.

Brooks has also made quite the impact on Albyn it seems. During the presentation, the lead teacher/deputy teacher (which I think is like a vice principal) shared several stories of things that had happed the last couple of weeks. They all sounded suspiciously like Brooks. I asked him about a couple of the anecdotes and sure enough, he did throw a tantrum that morning about having to write, he did ask his teacher why she was so bossy and why he had to do what she said. Ug.

(Insert emoji of hand on head.)

This weekend was pretty low key. I booked my first main/pedi while here. Quite the different experience! Y’all enjoy your luxury mani/pedis back in Texas with your massages and your cuticle cutting. Here, that’s all an add on. Basically, you pay a small fortune to have them just paint your nails. It took FOR-EV-ER and I was itching to get to get out of there. I did have a fascinating conversation with the beauty therapist though. She thought that dropping kids off in the car pool lane and drive thru everything in the US was something that was made up for movies! She was shocked to hear about drive thru pharmacies and dropping kids off right from the car and not walking them into the school. She also couldn’t believe that the traffic portrayed in movies is real. I showed her a picture of Houston during 5 o’clock traffic as proof!

Sunday Brooks and I stepped out to hit up several stores in the glorious sunshine and 65 F degree weather.

What you can’t see in this picture is a bagpipe player. Brooks said, “Mom! That instrument is amazing! You just blow in it and beautiful music comes out!”

He’s not supposed to have those funny little shoes I was first instructed to buy for PE but regular trainers that stay at school. Felt like a total idiot when I found that out. I requested pictures of the other items that we’re missing because I just have no clue what they’re talking about!!! They keep referencing a “mid-layer”. So my thought process was – shirt –> red pull over thing –> thick jacket. To me the mid-layer was the red pull over! His teacher thinks I’m nuts. I’m sure they will have quite the time laughing together when I offer to come in and read to the class.

U.S. vs Scotland

In the states, when a recipe calls for tomato paste, you get one of those little cans, use the tablespoon to get what you need and then you’re left with the rest of the can. Typically, I would put it in the fridge and promptly forget it was there when I needed some and/or not remember when I put it in there and decide I shouldn’t use it and throw it away. No more with this invention by the brilliant Brits! Squeeze tube that lasts forever and seals up perfectly!



**Big thanks to Crady who reminded me that I hadn’t posted in a while. We miss you!**

Some other random pics from the week:



  1. Wizzer says:

    I think we need a picture of the “mid-layer” and the correct PE shoes. I find it odd that the local outfitter for the uniform didn’t have the correct PE shoes on display. OR am I being too American with my one-stop-shop?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you silly American with your one-stop-shop! There is no such thing here. This whole country could REALLY benefit from a Target. We have ASDA – owned by Wal-Mart – but it is not same-same, as Doodle would say.

      Whenever we get the mid-layer I will definitely post a pic. I’ll also post pics of the book bag when it is finally acquired. I stupidly thought that a book bag and backpack were the same thing.


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