The Accidental Park Party Crasher

we’ve only been used to the America school system now for three months. there are still some things that we are trying to get used to. this week I got an email and a flyer from the school saying that they were having a dual language school picnic at the dinausar park in the upper west side of manhattan. we later got another email saying to bring food and snacks in contribution. the picnic was in celebration of cinco de mayo that had happened over the weekend.

 

the weather was lovely and we had had a rough night thanks to colic in the baby so I thought the fresh air and the chance to see my older two kids again that afternoon would be nice. I horridly got up, got dressed, got the baby dressed, made a quick simple cheese sandwich and left the apartment for the park.

on getting there, there were lots of kids playing around, climblng the cute dinosaur statues in the middle of the park, some where on the swings, some running around the sprinklers where water sprays out from. some kids were sitting down eating, some queuing up (which I found out was a lingo some Americans were not familiar with, I asked another mom “is this the queue?” and she looked at me probably pondering what I was asking her, im getting used to that look by now, that look that says I hear you but I don’t understand what you mean’. so I went on to repeat myself, maybe it was the accent.  no, still not getting it. the next thing to do is to rearrange the verb or look for another verb to replace the one you used. so I asked for the third time, “is this the line” “oh yes!” she exclaimed smiling, the joy of finally understanding was too cute to miss. I smiled too and made little remark about the English English and the American English. we both laughed about it as I went. on to join the now long food ‘line’ (not queue).

I looked around hoping that my kids would see us and come give us a cuddle while they run back to play, as they typically would do. but no one came. then I looked around for any of their classmates that I have come to now recognise . still no one. then finally I looked around for their class teachers, no? ok now this is not funny were are they? I told the lady behind me to please hold my spot while I go and look for my kids. I was worried this time. I sent them to school, walked them inside so what is going on? I had little comfort from not seeing their classmates and teachers. maybe their class wanted to use the loo ( almost all. the parks in manhattan has toilet – big big points to the Americans there!) but no one was lining up around the toilet area.

I went on to ask a lady wearing the school badge. at least now I know this was definitely my kids school. I asked about other kids and she then went on to explain that this was for the dual language program. But I choose this school for its dual language programs. one of the schools that teaches in Spanish and English. my daughter comes home everyday speaking Spanish to me, so what do they mean by “this is for the dual language programs” I thought the whole school was a dual language program. she went on to explain. I will try to explain because it still somehow confuses me too. so public schools in American or should I say in New York city (thats were I’m experiencing), have the general typical classes and then sometimes have specials programs running in the same school. this programs are not after school clubs or breakfast clubs. its like having a school inside a school. a school for special kids with a form of learning difficulty, a school for gifted and talented kids and in this case a school for dual langue. I say school to understand it better but its the same school, same principal. different teachers, different curriculum maybe and different classes. but all in the same compound. this was new to me. the only time I experienced something like this was at university. post graduate and distance learning students for example all shared campus with us but were somehow different.

anyway just to be sure that my kids were definitely not here I called the school and was told they were in class. I was relieved. I’ve gone past feeling disappointed stage now because this and many more will happen. moving into a new city is bound to set you confused over things but the joy is that its all part of learning the new way of life there. its all part of the adventures and memories you will have with you. I still remember going for my first job interview in London.

I went back to tell the kind lady holding my spot on the line that I won’t be needing it as I got my wires crossed. she said not to worry that I should stay and have lunch and join them in the celebration. I love food and I love music so I wasn’t going to say no to free fun!

that was how I found myself celebrating cinco de mayo in the park with students, teachers and parents who were not in my kids class. I was glad to be there because there was so much fun!

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A Day out In The City

Today started out like any other day, the kids woke up super early despite it being a weekend and wishing just like every day in the last five days, they had wanted to sleep in, wake up late. What happens to the not doing anything until it was 11am rules? Kids being kids, they decided to wake up early and start the day in a high spirit. I looked at them wanting to moan about it but decided to go with the flow. we turned the radio on, dancing and singing while tidying up.

then my phone buzzed reminding me of a play date we had arranged last week, I had forgotten all about it, talk about baby’s brain! I had not only forgotten, I haven’t confirmed it. quickly I rushed to text the family and they said yes they were still expecting us. quickly we raced to get ready and just as we were about to leave the apartment, the baby decided to do a number 2. after cleaning her up, she started crying so I stayed back to nurse her. eventually we left the apartment and headed up town.

we took a taxi to 116th street and as the driver was going past the park I realised that it was unusually filled up, people were having parties, kids playing, music beaming from different angles. I asked the driver what was going on and he said it was cinco de mayo celebration. I have heard of this celebration were a lot of Americans dress up in colourful Mexican themed outfits, drink margaritas and eat tacos but I have not really thought much of what it actually meant. a quick google search told me it was a day celebrated because a small Mexican army defeated a large French army in the battle of Puebla. asked and answered. moving on swiftly because it is still all new to me. I am glad that at least that we are all somehow colourfully dressed. quickly I asked the taxi driver if he could be kind enough to play photographer and tale us a photo so we can remember our first somewhat cinco de mayo celebration in New York City. Maybe next year we will be able to do it proper,

Mummy Whats the Weather like Today?

Today my daughter asked me what the weather was going to be like, just as they were getting ready for school. it seems like a simple enough question, I’m pretty sure she had asked the same question yesterday especially now that we seemed to have skipped spring and jumped straight to summer in May.

it was such a beautiful spring day!

As she asked and I muscled the strength and concentration to check the weather app on my phone, I told her it would be hot and sunny so she needed to put on her warm weather clothes, water bottle  and apply sunscreen. Just then it dawned on me that She depends on me for almost everything, all three kids depends on me, my husband depend on me to keep the family running, help him with his doctors or dentist quarterly check up, my parents, grand-parents, cousins, friends, they all depend on me. Maybe it was the lack of sleep seeing that I’ve only had 3 hours of sleep, I panicked for a little bit. The realisation that I was the human Siri was honestly quite overwhelming. In the words of Peter Parker spider man, “with great power comes great responsibility” my case appeared to be somewhat the other way round, “with great responsibility comes the need of great power, or perhaps coffee, or sleep or a hug or three nannies” – Irene. I know I’m no Beyonce so the idea of three nannies was out of the windows.

What if I fail them, now I’m not too worried about the adults in this equation, it is rather the young ones, the most vulnerable ones that I worry about. Its not their fault. They literarily depend on me for their survival. I am the sole source of food and nutrient for my nursing baby. Now that my husband has traveled back to work, I am the older kid’s main source of physical parental support. I may not be their sole source of nutrient as I can easily take them to McDonalds for cheese burger and fries, but the guilt and worry keeps me up at night. I find myself questioning myself, asking, if I’m giving them the right nutrients. I mean forget the fact that they got food in their tummy at least, they are showered, taken to school every single day, taken away from arms way, no, society makes it looks like parents who take their kids to fast food are not so good.

I don’t need no society to be on my case, I am already on my case. I ask myself what if I don’t know the answers to their question? After all, not all the answers can be found in an app, and i’m pretty sure google does not know everything. And Siri, well that guy does get tired sometimes and he begins to get cranky, trust me I have seem him get “emotional” when my son spent over thirty minute asking him weird questions over and over agin.

Again, what if I don’t have the answers they want? God know I love them too much to want to fail them, to not be able to give them the answer they need. I may not be able to answer all their questions, one thing I will always want them to know is that I am here for them. I will listen to their questions no matter how tired I am or how ridiculous it sound. I will search heaven and earth for answers no matter how many few hours of sleep I have had. You see, because they depend on me, it has now become a duty. I owed it to them the minuet I choose  to bring them into this world and be their mother.

The truth is, they are not the only one who depend on me, I also depend on them. they gave my life a new meaning, showed me strength I never knew I had, I mean I can multi-task like a pro! I never knew I could survive on only two hours of sleep and still be able to function the next morning. I depend on my husband for emotional support he may probably think its more financial as he calls himself my ATM machine but I beg to differ. Also being my best friend, there are things I can only tell him and not get worried about being judged. I depend on my girlfriends for moral support and so on. I believe thats what relationships are all about, us depending on each other. Helping each other out. An unspoken code.

So in reply to her question, it is a beautiful weather outside today and later on in the day, me and the littlest one went out for picnic under the most beautiful tree we saw while the older kids were at school.

10 Things to See and Do In Brighton.

Brighton is a seaside resort in England and its beach is amongst one of the 10 Best Beaches near London . Just under 2 hours train from London. There is a sense of cosmopolitan atmosphere, enchanting and exciting restaurants, shops and accommodations. Everything in walking distance. Spending a day in Brighton and going back to London the same can be achieved. But if you want to make it a little getaway there are several choices of accommodation to choose from.

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From boutique hotels, self catering accommodation to B&B, there is always a warm welcome for everyone. Brighton Holiday House is a selection of quality self gathering holiday accommodation. Keystay Holiday Let offer you home away from home accommodation at affordable prices.

If you not into self-catering accommodations but hotels are more of your thing, The Old ship Hotel located just a short walking distance from the historic Royal Pavilion will make you feel at home. With a little extra charges you can get a sea view room looking over the glorious Brighton blue sea and pier. Next to The Old ship is Jury’s Inn. It has a swimming pool and close to antique shops, boutiques and several restaurants including Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant. If you are looking for a little bit of American style kind of hotel, the Hotel Seattle will be right up your street. Hotel Una is a classy elegant boutique hotel.The Grand Brighton Hotel is a luxury seafront hotel with an elegant spa, iconic staircase that leads up to a skyline terrace.

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There are several places to wine and dine in Brighton. Where ever you decide to eat, make sure to enjoy a fish and chip by the beach. Other things you could do to have a truly remarkable time include:

  1. Go shopping at the Lanes – shopping at the North Lanes makes shopping in Brighton a unique experience, from vegetarian shoes to vintage clothes, you would find everything you looking for. Take a walk along the West street arcade and be mesmerised by the quirky narrow indoor shopping mall.

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2. Go to the Royal Pavilion – An Indian/Chinese style royal architecture will make you think you have been teleported to some exotic Arab country.

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3. Go to the Pier for an endless fun for the kids and kids at heart. There are several rides, restaurants and you can take a gentle walk along the beach overlooking the beautiful Regency architecture of Brunswick square and Adelaide crescent.

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4. Visit the Sea Life Brighton for a display of exotic aquatic animals like Sharks, Octopus, turtles and many more. This indoor family place is perfect for the British raining summers.

5. Do you need some Zen time? Go canoeing, paddle boarding or kayaking for some one on one time with nature. If its your first time doing water sports, don’t worry, there are packages for beginners and newbies.

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6. Let the kids loose at the Kings Road Playground and Paddling pool. Located west of the west pier (BN1 2LN) this play area allows little ones to play in the pool or climb the exciting castles and toys, then roll around in the sands. It’s free to the public, has a changing facilities and opens 10am – 7pm.

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7. Treat yourself to some ice cream and brownies at Cloud 9, or the traditional Brighton ice-cream at Marroccos or if you are a vegetarian, Boho Gelato has something for every taste buds.

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8. Listen to music at the Bandstand. The grade II listed building is not only for weddings and entertainments, it’s also has iconic architectural and historical importance. You can hear bands playing every summer Sunday afternoon.

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9. Go on the British Airways i360 – we could say go on the big wheel but we have a big wheel in London, The Official London Eye. The BA i360 claimed to be the Worlds tallest moving observation tower.

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10. Have an Afternoon Tea at the Grand Brighton Hotel.

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Whatever you decide to do, make sure to have a lovely time!

A Summer in Brighton Video

10 Best Beaches near London

London has an excellent connection to some of England’s best beaches. Picturesque dunes, sugar grain sands, ice cream, colourful beach. We love the English sea sides in all it’s beautiful weathers. 

1. Minnis Bay, in Birchington Kent – this beach comes with free parking, kids play area with a paddling pool, windsurfing, kite boarding, sailing, restaurants and it even has blue waters like the Maldives. 1hr 52mins from London st Pancras. People come here for the sunset. It’s beautiful in the day and even more amazing just as the sun is going down. 

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Image via: .milesandbarr.co.uk

2. Bournmouth – in dorset, 2 hours train ride from London waterloo sits miles of golden sands. So much to do and see in Bournemouth. 

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You even get Palms! Mimicking some exotic holiday destinations. 

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Bournemouth have a beautiful blue water, sandy beach

3. West Wittering in East Sussex lovely sandy beach with separate areas for dogs. It has a large car park, you can have a BBQ on the sand or in the fields. Lots of shops, toilets and cleaning facitities to keep it neat and tidy. With just under 2 hours from London, no wonder its many families favourite.

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image via tripadviser

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4. Clacton-On-Sea in Essex is a stretch of clean golden sand, lots of cafes, bars, restaurants playing live bands. It’s just under 2 hours drive from London. Good train station with direct link to London Liverpool Street. Bus coach station. 

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Amazing rides, mini golf, water games including canoeing. Indoor play area, bowling, amazing restaurants from Mexican to American dinners all lined the street opposite the beach. The pier is lovely to go watch the annual air show or for just an evening romantic walk. 

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5. Mersea Island in Oyster Bars – This little Essex town will make you feel like you are in a different continent. From a family run vineyard service wine and cold bear while over looking the black sea, to water sports such as Kayaking. You will never be short of things to see and do. The beautiful blue water beach with a mixture of pebbles and sand is perfect for families with little ones as the water is shallow and hardly any waves. The views are stunning, especially as the sun is setting. you can see the lights from neighbouring towns twinkling like little stars. Don’t forget to collect some shells and pebbles!

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6. Botany Bay near Broadstairs in Kent – Pretty little cove, chalk cliffs and blue waters just 1hr 25mins from St Pancras 2 hrs from Victoria. This is one of our family’s favourite, the cliffs will remind you of something from the Algarve.

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7. Camber sands in East Sussex – A stretch of beautiful sandy beach for lovely pre and post dinner walks. Vast area of sands to play and build those sandy castles! Watch out for sand lizards! In the peak of summer, you might think you are somewhere in Morocco! 

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8. Holywell Retreat, East Sussex

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The view is spectacular, it will take your breath away. just don’t be tempted to jump! and be careful when taking those perfect selfies.
9. Brighton – this vibrant cosmopolitan city boast not only of its colourful beach hunts and an amazing long stretch pier but also stony beach with blue waters. Just under an hour and half Brighton is one of the closest beache to London.

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10. Margate Beache in Hastings – This beautiful beach is mainly sandy when the tides are low

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Love for kids to paddle in the water. 

This is a shortened version of some of our amazing UK seasides with amazing beaches. 

If your favourite beach that is few hours from London hasn’t been mentioned, tell us about it in the comments section.