The person I was most worried about with moving to Beijing was Sofia. She was in the middle year of 6th grade, in middle school. Never an easy time in anyone’s life. There are cliques, teasing and worrying about who is more popular etc…. For whatever reason Sofi back in the states wasn’t putting herself out there that much to be with friends and make plans and she’s an outgoing kid.
When we got to China she was upset the 1st week because of jet-lag(there was a lot of crying and meltdowns each night) and being scared. She wanted to go home, she never had a say in coming to China and she didn’t like it here. Luckily the jet-lag wore off, Chinese New year ended and school started. Too much time hanging out in a hotel with your 7 yr old brother and missing home causes too many “what ifs” and boredom.
On Sofi’s first day she was assigned a buddy that happens to live in our apartment complex and is in Sofi’s class to show her around. They hit it off and now are great friends. At BCIS there are a bunch of 6th grade classes but each homeroom class spends the remainder of the day together. Sofi’s homeroom class has about 15 kids in it and they go from one subject to another with each other. I love that. It hasn’t stopped her from meeting other kids outside of her group but it does force an instant bond within the group because they are together all the time.
She has already made some great friends. They’ve had sleep-overs, shopping trips, a day at the park across from our apartment where they went on roller coaster rides and one night they fixed dinner for our family and one other family. They get all dressed up to go shopping and go to a market where they bargain for bags, shoes and clothes. She’s literally blossomed and as a parent it’s such a blessing to see.
I think because the kids at her school are constantly moving (some spending no longer than 3 yrs at one school) and haven’t gone to school together since kindergarten that they have to quickly move past the nervous stage and jump right in and make friends. There isn’t much time for cliques that I’ve seen. One mom said to us that the kids are “citizens of the world, not citizens of their town”. I totally agree with that. That might sound sad to some but to me, I think it’s exciting. My sister-in-law spent two years of her HS years in Japan. She was the one I would call when I was worried we might be making a mistake taking our kids out of their comfort zones and transplanting them in a foreign country that they didn’t speak the language. She would tell me that for a long time after HS she kept in touch with the friends she made in Japan and that it was the best decision her parents made. I know that even with Sofi making friends and them possibly moving before we head back to the states that she will remain in contact with them and they will be friends for a long time. They’ve formed this strong bond and I’m so excited for her and for Miles. Though I was worried for Sofi the most, I now feel she will benefit the most from being here.