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A clear sense of self


Thank goodness for a sunny weekend and a couple of evenings at home! By Friday, I had hit my fifth evening of consecutive events in school and had reached the point where the fridge was practically empty and the children were beginning to lose hope of a decent supper. My sense of domestic guilt was further heightened by the fact that the rest of the household had meticulously made up a packed lunch each day while I had taken the easier route of the school canteen. But it is Sunday evening now, the fridge is full and next week is not quite so busy, Grace has baked a chocolate cake and the house is in homework mode, preparing for the week ahead.

The run of evenings in school were all purposeful and enjoyable though, paving the way for the year ahead – Back to School nights and an informative evening for parents on university applications. Friday was highly enjoyable – a ‘kick your shoes off and enjoy the company’ kind of affair in the form of the Welcome Soirée for new parents and the very generous Welcome Committee. It was great to mingle with everyone. I have to admit I am rather in awe of our families who have moved multiple times, in some cases, moving continents and experiencing huge contrasts in terms of culture, climate and infrastructure. It made me think about what a profound experience this is for them and their children; the adaptability that this engenders, the expanded horizons and the ability to manage new situations is clear. Over the weekend, I read an interesting article from the Harvard Business Review about how living abroad also helps to develop a clearer sense of self. One of the grey areas in the argument was whether people who live abroad are by nature also more predisposed to having a clear sense of self. The authors argued that it was difficult to find a sample of people who had not chosen to live abroad. But surely they missed the obvious answer; the children of expats do not choose to move abroad. Yes, they may have had some input to the decision process and yes, by being the children of adults who are ready to make a radical change to their lifestyle, there may be a second-hand disposition to develop a clearer sense of self. Certainly, my observations in and around the school are that children who are living abroad, and indeed those who are learning in an environment surrounded by others who are living abroad, do indeed have a clear sense of self and benefit hugely from the international and inter-cultural exposure. For those of you who would like to read the article in full, the link is below.

For now, my clear sense of self is telling me that it is time to get myself ready for the week ahead – and perhaps I should just check the fridge for sandwich fillings…