The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sheep herding in Sirdal

A couple of weekends ago we were able to go up to the mountains near Sirdal and watch as they brought down 5,000 sheep from the mountains, where they had been grazing throughout the summer. We went the day after the big round-up but they were still divvying up sheep to the local farmers. It was pretty interesting to watch! We also went for a walk around the stream that was right near the area we were...picking blueberries and skipping stones. :o)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Middle School and Tim

Tim seems to be finding his "niche" here in Norway...his third year into this Scandanavian adventure. He has a couple of really close friends (Canadian and Italian) and is really just poised for success this year. I know the year is still in its infancy, but he has had a really great start..on his big brother in the way (or better yet, forging it for him).
I went to the International School of Stavanger Middle School open house last night. I got to walk in Tim's shoes and go to all of his classes for 10 minutes. I found out some pretty interesting information that I wanted to share with you. None of it is particularly about Tim...but about his grade level here at ISS.
First off, there are 63 kids in the 8th grade this year at ISS. There are four homeroom teachers. Tim has 16 students in his homeroom class. They are from 9 different countries and speak a total of 11 different languages fluently. The countries that are represented in Tim's homeroom are: Belgium, Serbia, Scotland, U.S.A., England, Estonia, Germany, Norway and Finland. There are 40 countries represented within the staff and student body at ISS. Each Wednesday morning in homeroom, one of the kids has to create a short quiz about his/her home country to give their classmates. This is to create an understanding about the culture and history of each of the different countries represented in their homeroom and get to know their fellow students better.
Evidently, this class is very beloved to the staff....the 8th grade team has been hearing about this class and how nice they are for the last couple of years...and have been looking forward to spending the year with them.
Tim's social studies teacher is from Belgium. He is married to a Scot, who happens to be the MS principal. (and she is fabulous!) This teacher also is Tim's homeroom teacher and advanced Spanish teacher. (he is fluent in something like 5-6 languages with Flemish, or Dutch, being his primary native tongue) He requires 4 poster research projects every year. The first one was assigned the first week of class...with the topic being anything historical from their home country. He mentioned that so many of our international students eventually move back to their home countries and seem to know the least about it (historically speaking). I know that this is certainly true for my children. They (and most of the kids at the international school would be this as well) are called 3rd culture kids. These kids are very tolerant and are good global citizens. Studies have shown that 50% of these 3rd culture kids end up working in world markets where they travel a great deal. Borders are much more blurred for them...they consider themselves belonging to several different countries, even if they merely have one passport from one nation.
I have had several friends that have moved back to the U.S. after extended tours overseas and their kids had a hard time adjusting to life in the U.S. again. I know that my Joe can't wait to go back to the U.S., but it will have been 5 years (and 5 very formative years at that) that he has been gone. Life will be very different for him in the U.S. The crime rate is higher, the likihood of drugs being available,etc...I think he's in for a bit of a shock.
Anyhow, I wanted to share this info with you. I don't ever regret giving my kids this global experience. The world is leaning this way (more global)and I think they have a "leg up" on seeing the world in a clearer view. Now if I could just get them to sit down and learn things they need to know about the U.S..... :o)

Rich sails for real!

Jon and Colby, two of the U.S. Navy officers stationed here...enjoying the windless sailing in the sunshine.

Joe practicing his capsizing for fun.

Rich's bosun and Joe's pico pass closely as father and son say hello.

Joe going out for a spin on the fjord with this little wind, there was little to worry about!

Lily, trying to get the sailboats to move a little faster...there was exactly one knot of wind. I think her blowing actually helped! :o)

Rich with Stephen...Stephen is an instructor. Rich has been on bigger boats sailing, but not these little ones.

Everyone gathering to start the race (which was really long considering there was NO WIND!

Rich and Stephen sailing along the Hafrsfjord

Guess who had the best view? Yep, the cows.

Today was the NATO sports day. The different countries were all competing in different sports around the area. Rich has watched too many people get injured on this day in the last two years...playing basketball, track and field events, he opted for the sailing race. He figured it was a way to preserve his health (since he is running in a marathon in a couple of weeks). He has sailed on yachts but not these little sailboats. He was on a bosun with Stephen, a long time instructor from the UK.
There was a teacher workday today at school, so the kids were off of school. Tim stayed the night at a friend's house in Sandnes. Joe, Lily, Kona and I decided to go out in the sun and see the activities for sailing, since it is close to our house. Joe took his shorty wetsuit to see if he could also sail and took out a pico. This was the first sunny day in almost a month of rain, so stood and watched for quite awhile. There was no wind, but it seemed like they were having a good time. Joe was capsizing and even turtled for fun. :o)


So here we are in Norway...the land of the midnight sun and cross-country skiing and the like... So what is my new high schooler learning to do here? Surf! Can you believe it? This is a club that he has joined. He goes for 2 hrs once a week for lessons and can practice as much as he wants. His teacher is from South Africa and has the dubious title of being the only surfer ever attacked at once by two sharks and to live. Sheesh! I told Joe that he needed to make sure he never surfed with Shannon outside of these Norwegian waters. "Why?" he asked.... "Because he is a shark magnet!" I replied!
Anyhow, they go to Børe beach to surf. The waves aren't very high, but it's a good start. They'll be surfing from Sept to Dec...(although it will be dark in Dec, so I am not quite following the line of thinking here..) But Joe had a WONDERFUL time and I think this might be what gets him through this last year here in Norway (he's anxious to move on and hopefully go stateside in May/June).
Learning to surf in Norway...go figure!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tim's New Quilt

I have mentioned before that my mom is a master quilter...she does some really beautiful work and at any given time, she has 4 or 5 projects going. She just recently finished a quilt for Tim. It is called magic cubes. Here are a couple of pictures of Tim's bed made with his new quilt from Grandma Neitzke.