A British mum of two in Tucson
Our family of 4 have come to live in Tucson for a few months. We have been here for exactly two months today, so far my kids have only lived in England, surrounded by English culture even though their father is American and I am half Scottish and Indian, they mainly identify with being what they call English, and no matter how many times I tell them they are British, but not English they wont have it!
Over here my daughters aged 11 and 14 feel even more ‘ english ‘ with the other students asking them to say things in their ‘english’ accents and asking them questions like – had they met the Queen, did everyone in the UK drink tea and do they speak English in England?
My youngest went from a small Primary school in Brighton where she was in her final year and stayed in the same classroom mostly filled with other children she had know for years all day long, and with the same two teachers. Here she has entered into what is called ‘Middle School’, she may even be the youngest in the whole school of 600.
The day starts with a kind voice coming out of the loud speakers a bit like the voice in the end of school scene in the film Grease, she , or sometimes a cute sounding student, pledges the allegiance to the United States flag as all the students stand silently with one hand on the heart area. For the first few days the main problem was finding the right class room for each and every lesson, and to remember the huge bag with a ton of books each morning. She has now become used to the ” schedule ” and “periods” !
Some of the students are larger than me and one person in my daughters class has a beard and it s not on the teacher !
Another difference is that while in Brighton the parents stood in the playground waiting for their little darlings to pour out of the Victorian school building, there is always a chance you may make a loose connection with a parent of one of your child’s mates or indeed make a friend yourself. Here I don’t even see the parents behind the tinted windows in the car park.
Friendships take a while to develop when you are plonked in the middle of term when everyone has already claimed their space, and especially if there are no socials to attend. So I do believe we will come home having not met any other families from school. If we were to be here for longer I ‘m sure that would change. One person recommended I join a church if I wanted to make friends.
As I glance around a book shop I wonder if my children should adapt their spelling while they are here for words such as the word colour?
We had a ‘parents conference’ for my daughter and it really was! – ALL her teachers sat around a table with us and gave their report! We were welcomed with open arms and big smiles, full of enthusiasm and care for our daughter, this was a welcome all American experience.
Moose Azim, photographer and British mum of two www.mooseazim.com