Friday, February 26, 2010

My Village

The old adage that it takes a village to raise a child may not be true, but it is certainly a gift if you have it. After 11 years overseas, we have finally found our village. Our condo Dairy Farm Estate (sometimes called the "Farm") has a great blend of local and expat families. Lots of teachers and just good people. Over the last 3 years here I have forged friendships that I know will last a lifetime, they just will. Tonight I am off to attend a "book club" which is really an excuse to pretend we read, but I really did read this book and have a few laughs food and drink with these friends. One of the kids buddies just left after spending the afternoon playing at our house.

"Farm" Kids at the Lion Dance

I have been lucky enough to befriend Lisa and Sara-Jane. Karen, is our Julie McCoy planning activities for us as a group,. I could name them all, but they are just all part of this big huge group of people that I have come to appreciate more than I can say. This a group of loosely connected people, around 10 families, that do things together on a semi-regular basis. Our kids all hang out together and it is not unusual to find a group of us at the pool on a Sunday morning.
The Lions and kids trying to "steal" the Oranges in their mouths.
This group is wonderful, I feel comfortable leaving the kids with any of them, I feel like their kids are an extended family. None of us feels shy about bringing a kid in line if needed, or bandage a skinned knee and offer a hug when needed. The houses are almost always open, with kids running in and out. Sleep overs are common and even the young teens like to hang out with the littler kids (7-8). There is never an issue if SJ needs to have us watch her kids for a few hours, or if my kids are up at Lisa's while we run errands. Sure we gossip a bit, but we worry too. We miss those who move away and enjoy it when they return. This is really my village.
Last weekend the Farm's management committee had scheduled a lion dance for the Chinese New Year holiday and it was a great gathering of Farmies (my newly coined name for the group). Probably around 100 people gathered to watch the dance and enjoy the celebration, despite the 38 degree heat (that's 100 to those metrically challenged) and 99% humidity.
The next day we all piled into cars and set off for Sentosa beach for a relaxing morning by the Sea. All organized by our resident cruise director Karen "Julie McCoy" McD as part of her "birthday" weekend. There were about 7 families all in attendance.

There were so many kids and parents that it made the beach a real joy for all of us. Cara and I were able to walk and get a cup of coffee, leaving the kids in the care of our spouses. Karen needed to run a kid to the bathroom and was able to leave the other with us while we watched. Lisa brought her cousin "Vinnie" and we all played in the water, ate snacks and enjoyed the morning.

One of the hardest parts of returning back to the States (which we are not planning on doing soon, but will someday) will be leaving this village, but that is sometimes part and parcel of the Expat life. Leaving and moving come with the territory, knowing that makes this group even more special as we all recognize the fact that we all may leave soon. While it may not take a village, having this one has enriched my life in so many ways.

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