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  • Writer's pictureRenata Joseph

Getting Schooled

Surprise! We put our kids in public school!

If you've been following this blog, you're probably wondering, "When did they decide not to homeschool? What happened?" Nothing dramatic happened with homeschooling, except that our 12 year old extrovert was miserable spending his days without a social group to interact with. We didn't want to "give up" on homeschooling; we wanted to stick to our guns. We wanted to protect the kids from more upheaval, but the alternative ended up being worse.

So, we set about getting our paperwork together, meeting with the principal, taking assessments and buying a boat-load of school supplies and uniforms. That was last week. Eddie and I were busy, worried, stressed and spending more money that we had anticipated. Brooklyn was anxious and AJ was relieved to finally be going back in school.

There's tons here that we are still learning. While the kids will now get the majority of their lessons in class, Eddie and I are also being schooled. Those lessons come from sitting in rooms where we are the minority, from conversations with locals about culture, politics, religion and where to buy certain items. Lessons simply from shutting up and observing those around us and taking it all in.

It's common practice for "expats" (aka immigrants from more developed countries) to band-together when they move to majority-world countries. Their introduction to the country is often via someone with a similar worldview. They are told where (and where not) to shop, eat, go after dark. They are warned not to trust the locals, not to let their guards down, which neighborhoods are safe and which churches are most appetizing to their more discerning palate.

I'll be honest, having moved to a new country with only a few suitcases and the daunting task of building a life here, the "expat" community is a tempting siren calling my name. The thing that holds me back from running to that community for comfort is the knowledge that "expats" are just immigrants by another, more privileged name.

Why would I move thousands of miles away to immerse myself in another culture and then immediately nestle into a foreign immigrant community there? I'm not here to set up my own comfortable little bubble. I am here to live alongside those who are proudly Belizean. I am here to sweat (and boy, do I!). I'm here to be vulnerable. I'm here to learn.

I am not trying to throw shade at any of my fellow immigrants for the choices they make in shaping their lives here to be more familiar. I get it.

Proverbs 2 talks about the Moral Benefits of Wisdom, some of which include safety, discernment and success. I don't have to lean on the wisdom of fellow Americans/Canadians?Brits etc to build a safe and successful life here. God promises to guide and protect those who seek His wisdom.

I am grateful to those friends (Belizean and otherwise) who are teaching us the ropes and answering our many questions. Before we can hope to have an impact here, we must first be willing to sit in the student's position and learn.

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Feb 11, 2020

I felt the same way when I moved to America: why go all that way to learn a new culture (albeit still Western, but it is different) and to then stay with like- minded expats? I deliberately put myself in with American community in order to adapt. So well done for resisting the urge! Thankfully, there's always TV programs to help you remember your country of origin (and why I like watching PBS TV!).

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