The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend surfing

Here are a few pictures of Joe surfing with his high school friends last weekend. They were having a surfing competition on that beach, so there were a ton of people there and probably over a hundred surfers. It was great to see the sun out (it had been absent for surfing for the last several weeks). The days are now getting so much shorter so quickly that I am not sure how many more surfing pictures I will have the opportunity to take. However, I got a few good ones this time. Joe will be competing in a surfing competition on Oct 31st and Nov 1st....he's really looking forward to it!

U.N. Day Parade

This entire week has been spirit week at the International School of Stavanger. Whether you are age 3 or in grade 12, there has been dress up days all week long. So for today, Friday, October 23rd, the week culminated with United Nations Day. (which is actually tomorrow - a piece of random trivia for you....) The primary school students were to dress in the national dress from their home country and have a flag to wave from their country. This sounds pretty cut and dry, doesn't it? Well, not so much! Many of these children have parents from two different nations and they strongly identify with both. They actually gave me the choice for Lily...did I want her under the Chinese flag or the American flag? Hmmm.....national dress.....yep, I went the easy way out and chose China! If she had ever lived in the U.S., perhaps I would have chosen differently. However, she looked smashing in her purple Chinese dress, if I do say so myself! The primary school students held a parade of nations through the hallways this morning. It was so wonderful to see all the different flags flying. I do have to say that there were a couple of little boys in kilts that were ADORABLE! I didn't know they made kilts that little!
For those of you that may not know, the international school that my kids attend is English-speaking, but a large majority of the students are not native English speakers. Americans are not the largest percentage of countries that attend ISS. I think it is fabulous that when I go to ISS, which is twice a day at least...that I will hear 4-5 languages being spoken at any given time. That is pretty cool. Dutch, Norwegian, German, Polish...these are the ones I hear just from the classroom area where Lily is. Granted, the Queen's English is still English, but half the time I have to listen very closely to make sure they are actually speaking English...especially if they are from Scotland! (I LOVE a good broad Scots accent!)

Tim, as a middle schooler, was assigned a country from the U.N. in which he had to wear the colors of the flag to school today. He had to type up a few basic facts about his country as well to share with his classmates. His country was Cambodia.

Joe, in high school, we decked out in a shirt with a U.S. flag on it. We have very few of these because we are counseled to not wear clothing, etc., that marks us as being American when living abroad. It isn't that we are patriotic...we just don't want to make ourselves targets (a real danger) and also don't want to broadcast that "ugly loud American" sentiment that many other countries feel we have. Therefore, we are told to blend in with our surroundings as much as possible. I even wear black socks with my trainers now...(that was a hard pill to swallow - and it seems like such a little thing!) Nothing screams American like white socks with your sneakers. It would be like wearing black socks with sandals and shorts back in the U.S. Sigh... I currently have more black socks than white and that's saying a lot for me! When I left the school, Joe had just finished his morning break. He had a senior girl (a very popular pretty one at that!) drawing an American flag on his cheek....and he had several other high school boys making fun of how red his face was! (he was blushing something fierce!) :o) Anyhow, it was a fabulously international day today and I just wanted to share some pictures of the little ones doing their parade. The week ends with a U.N. concert tomorrow night at the school with proceeds going to charity in other countries.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lily's visit to the pumpkin patch!

On October 14th, Lily's preschool 4 class went on their first field trip to the pumpkin patch. Rich and I went along with them on the bus. There has already been several hard frosts, so most of the pumpkins were no longer in the fields, but they saved some (covered with plastic until we arrived) for us to see. We had a snack and Miss Kana (the other preschool 4 teacher) read a pumpkin story to everyone. Most children had their parents along and bought a small pumpkin (because they aren't like what you would envision from the U.S....mostly very small...not so orange and very very expensive). However, we loved to have the opportunity to show Lily a pumpkin patch. She had a really good time! It was almost as much fun sharing with the adults from other European countries the idea of a pumpkin patch! I wish I could transport them to the one in Mekinock, ND...with the hay ride and the pumpkin cookies and pumpkins the size of a smart car! :o)

Berlin Marathon

On September 20th, Rich ran in his first marathon. He ran with his good friend, Robert, who is a German officer stationed here with NATO. Here are a few pictures from the pre-race warm up run the day prior, a little sight-seeing near their barracks they stayed at, and then of the run. Unfortunately, the pictures are in reverse the race is first...then the sightseeing, then the pre-day warm up run. He did very well...ran the entire time and finished in 4:40 and change. Not bad for a non-runner! Congratulations Rich and Robert! I am so proud of both of you!