We are in the island of Malta, where my husband was born, and I’m typing this as I hear my daughters placing World Cup stickers in the album my husband’s mom always gets for him and that he fills up with ‘cupponi’ when we come visit. They are reading and searching for the different countries where the teams are from in the album.
|My father in law made a kite for the girls.|
We are having a wonderful vacation, full of adventures, relaxation, bonding, breath taking views, sun, sea, love and new experiences. The girls are having the time of their life, and we, their parents, too, 🙂 My parents in law are loving and generous beyond imagination. My father in law, the girls nannu, made them a kite and we went to fly it out yesterday to his fields, where he has goats, rabbits, and lots of fruits and veggies.We savored the first strawberries of the season, what we call organic these days, since they cultivate as in the old times, nothing but the soil, seed, water and sun. He also gathered potatoes yesterday, and we’ve been eating huge turnips, lettuce, squash, cabbage… and rabbit! My father in law’s brother in law gave him a nice portion of the huge lot he has, and both of them go everyday to feed the goats and rabbits, and to work in the crops.
To say Malta is beautiful doesn’t do justice to this island where Paul shipwrecked around 2000 years ago. My husband has taken us these almost four weeks to everywhere he knows, and mind you, he knows of places that are not even known by some locals! We’ve enjoyed the best pasta and cappuccino coffees on this planet, and we’ve been around historic buildings and ancient temples and locations every day. But now it’s time to move on. We are starting to feel a bit restless, like sardines in a can.
Before the vacation, we went to my husband’s job place downtown Houston, and had a Thanksgiving luncheon at the oldest building in the city, not even 200 years old, while here he used to play and kick rocks that I believe where as old as the first humans that lived on this Earth. It’s almost time to leave the island. Next week we fly off to Madrid, where I was born, and we’ll spend three weeks there before we go back home sweet home, Texas.
|Gozo, an island close to Malta.|
Despite the beauty of Malta and Spain, we are homesick for our adopted country, Texas, United States of America. If we lived in Malta, homeschooling is forbidden. Maybe we, just because we have American nationalities, we’ll be able to homeschool and do as many families who do it abroad, which it is something that has pros, but this makes us value all the advantages we enjoy in Houston. This vacation should keep me from grumbling for a whole three years, until, Lord willing, we can be able to travel like now again . This trip highlights how profoundly spoiled and blessed beyond measure we are in Texas (is this good grammar? LOL. I get a kick when I hear my Australian friends saying they edit bad American grammar from many books they’ve read aloud to their children. Proper English is hard to achieve, but I keep pressing to the honest goal. What was I saying? Oh, yes, we are in Texas, where we don’t even have to report to anyone but simply educate our children bona fide, in the warmth of our homes, under the shelter of our believes and values, in the richness of our own philosophy of education. May we never take this for granted for this is a right that can and could be jeopardized any minute.
These past years I have witnessed what I consider to be an effect of the so called globalization. To me it means that, under a different surface and landscape, there lie many common philosophies of life across all different continents and countries. In Malta I have seen families where both parents work, with children in fast paced schedules, where the moms tell me of the struggles to make it on time to the different activities, where traffic is getting quite impossible. In other cases I’ve seen grandparents raising their grandchildren because the mothers have to work, or that’s what they say. I’ve seen many so called ‘traditional’ families with mothers who stay home. Other homes are broken, divorce and separation are on the rise, leaving children with wounds and scars. Some friends in their early fifties told me they believe schools put a lot of pressure on children. Everybody here is very surprised we can homeschool, and the lack of any apparent ‘control’ over those who choose to do so. The streets of not only my neighborhood but Malta seem to be quite deserted from children playing outdoors, and people in general compared to my image of the time when I was a girl. Is this my perception or a fair observation? I’m not sure. But I’ve seen happy children roaming the streets in uniforms in field trips lead by cheerful teachers, some youth sketching at M’Dina, a charming old city in Malta from the time of the knights. And we’ve been to my husband’s old primary school where I breathed a lovely atmosphere in the halls, classrooms and auditorium. The school building was very poetic, despise of the fact that the dreaded smart board (oh, such a pretentious name for a practical but ugly artifact!) was present in the classrooms.
|My husband’s primary school today.|
We are having a lovely Christmas this year, I’m seeing my girls thriving, how mature and knowledgeable they are. And though I’ve had some insecurity about our homeschool, and some hard times because I’ve been comparing, (you know, here we are, in a super long vacation, and others are buzzing with activity and lots of work). But I’m praying and observing, admiring and rejoycing, as the timely Simple Charlotte Mason article pointed out, exercising the deserved APPRECIATION versus allowing jealousy and anxiety to root in my soul. That’s such a powerful antidote for those who, like me, have a hard time with the fact that their children are not exactly like them or like they envision they should be. As if being like me or the idea I have for them were all that it is good to be! (Silly stupid woman I am at times). Of course, there are the invaluable friends. My friend and mentor Stephanie, who was there for me and sent me an answer to an email I wrote full of anxious thoughts and doubts. I could have sent it to many or all of you, and I firmly know that I would have had the same sincere advice. In fact, I have confided to so many of you at other times, that I’m just a bit embarrassed. I should have learned my lesson already. But I’m very faulty and I have my low moments. Anyway, if you made it till the end, as my friend Jeanne says, I want to give all of you my love, thank you for your loyalty and friendship, and wish you the best for 2012.
|The girls played with their playmobils at the beach.|