When we first found Moses It was the end of summer. I should have been packing my rucksack and heading off to school. New teacher, year 6, yeah, cool. That is probably what everyone in my class at Myatt Garden thought. Guess what? Boring. I can imagine it. The end of summer was always the worst. Everyone walking around with the heat reflecting off the concrete and the windows. People shouting and screaming at each other; arguments about people pushing in front of other people in the four square line; having to eat in silence because the dinner hall always echoes. Not being allowed to share food and having to race to get a seat with your friends while the loser goes and cowers off in a corner with all the other rejects. All of this was probably happening while we lay laughing and eating in the Portuguese sun on the greening grass waiting for the sun to go down.
Another thing, I lived in London for 10 years of my life and not once did I notice a London sunset. I never saw one view without concrete (in London at least). It fact if it wasn’t for holidays in Barbados to see my great (in both ways) granny who goes to the gym 5 days a week, walks 5 miles everyday and is just hitting 75, or trips with my Dulwich Grandparents to Kent and Cornwall, or the 250 mile walk (400km) through England with The Lifeline Expedition, I would think that cows lay eggs and bacon came from sheep (those aren’t myths. Some kids do think that and that is scary). One last thing before I move on. To all those people out there (and I’m mainly talking to my teachers here) who wonder whether I am learning anything. I am. Not just maths and literacy either. I’ve learnt to fish, kayak, and many other sports. I am learning Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geography and History from cool CDs and books for children aged 11-14 (key stage 3).
Amieira is our village, Olieros is our town. Dad and I are already looking for cricket clubs and have had a reply so far from one club here. There is a local football club in Olieros. Portugal has a cricket team, loads of great football teams. Porto FC is my Portuguese football club, (that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on Chelsea though), I could get used to their national football team and their cheating ways (World Cup 2006 and Euro 2004 still fresh in the memory I’m afraid). The best surfing beach in Europe is 2 hours away. A great skim boarding beach is an hour away. Decathlon is in Coimbra, only two hours away. We are not too secluded but not too close to the busy city life either.
Right now if I was back at my old life – our house is already on the market - I would be finishing my lunch in silence, not being able to talk to most of my friends who eat school dinners or are sitting on a table that is full, just because I didn’t get there in time. I would just be leaving for the playground for the last 10 minutes of playtime and then be going in for literacy that I have been learning (would you call writing out 4 letter words in handwriting and being bored to death learning?) for the past year. Right now I am learning because I want to after just helping Ellie with her maths for forty five minutes and letting her ask as many questions as possible but making her answer them. I can learn for as long as I like without being told ‘it’s time to stop now’ or ‘if you haven’t finished you haven’t finished you have to do your work at playtime’. I don’t have to wait in a queue for cold pizza or vegetarian (at school the meat is unidentifiable, it might as well be from a guy who died at war) food that looks like brown porridge (I like porridge but I’m not eating that). My P.E lessons are what ever I like, hiking, cricket (if possible), football. Home education is literally like camping. You get to go orienteering, climbing, catapulting, and all just trying to get to Moses!
My mum says I have to write something I appreciate about my old school. So. I had some really cool teachers and I learnt a bit. I really liked the school trips like going to Kent and following riddles and maps to try and find your way out first. I really do miss the cricket competitions (well of course I do I was captain of ks2 which is an accomplishment for a boy in year 5), and we did win some trophies (I was given a leaving card from my class with a picture on the front of me kissing the trophy in a competition that was postponed for 5 months due to a storm that flooded the pitch in 2 feet of water). In the football cage at playtime (which was not my favourite time because when we lost it was blamed on the centre forwards) and I scored goals -which usually came 2 at a time and in long spurts. Like the last time I played 10 matches and scored 12 goals, the starting one being a header (which is not too hard for considering I was the tallest boy in year 5 and 2nd tallest out of all) that hit the under side of the cross bar (which is 1m high) then hit the post and went in the goal (I didn’t see it because I was jumped on by my team mates as soon as it hit my head but I was told by my friend Jedd, the next Petr Cech). I’m going to get all my school friends emails when we go back this December.
I’ve got to include my friends in this because they were all great. Tyrann and Luke, the 2 monkey boys who helped me get through with minimum trouble, Jedd, Jordan, Michael and Halim, the type of friends who you can completely trust, Rogan, Katie, Izzy, Alice, Anita and Melina, the girls that I enjoyed working in a group with (on the same table every year) and helped me when I needed it and I helped when they needed it. Like the musketeers, 1 for all and all for 1.
I do miss those summer Saturdays when we travelled to Dulwich (the very posh side) to see my grandparents house when our cousins Sam and Joel and Jasmine came over and Sam, Joel (sometimes), and I play cricket or golf with our grandpa from 09:00 till 12:00 when we stopped to eat my grandma’s famous chicken-nosh-up or cod or trout potato pie with butter-drowned carrots and then apple crumble with whipped cream just to go out and play cricket again. Or those weekends when we would stay at mums house (not my mum but our other grandma, Granny Arlene! With the Barbados accent) where we would eat Caribbean style chicken or lamb chops with sweet potato pie, macaroni pie and rice, and wake up at 07:00 to smell pancakes drowned in maple syrup. That’s what grandparents are for, as well as giving and receiving huge bear hugs (the hugs not our grandmas. I’m probably taller than both by now) that make your eyes pop out. But two or three days with your grandparents is not enough. We figured that the further we are from each other the more that we will see each other.
In the real world here in Portugal, Zion Retreats (the name we are thinking for what we want to do) has not yet gone under way, although in our minds it has already begun. There’s no turning back now. We are on the Road to Zion.