Saturday, 26 April 2008

Steve and Jonah

I realise that I have been talking a lot about myself in my blogs, so perhaps I should spend a little time on my boys to update you all as to their progress. Steve first, who with his counseling partner Paula, has developed the counselor department into a wonderful place where kids, parents and teachers can come to talk about any social/emotional problems they have. I know that the children love to drop in to see Steve and trust him implicitly. I also know that he has helped many of them already and is well supported by the staff and admin of the school. He has been asked to be head of department next year and has already designed his new set of offices in another, quieter wing of the school. He will also have 2 new counselors on the team for next year so things are going to be busier I am sure, but perhaps easier. He works very hard as usual so the weeks go by with just work and sleep until the weekend when it is more sleep and lots of quiet home time. I can sometimes get him out for a coffee during the school day, but very rarely as his office is always busy.
Jonah has had many ups and downs while beginning here. This is a more British System of schooling,  following the International Baccalaureate program. He finds it very intense and yet we see that he is rising to the occasion against his wishes! Steve has to spend time with him regularly on Maths that he has missed and he has found it hard to catch up as the program is so fast and intense and builds all the time on previous concepts taught. However, he managed to gain a mark well above other new kids in the class, so we are expecting that he will continue to do OK. As he missed the first part of this year, his end of year exams will also be difficult and so we will not really know how he is doing until next full year. Jonah has many friends, and each weekend he is out at someone's house, usually his Lebanese and Jordanian friends. They are lovely boys who go to movies, to the shopping centre to wander around or eat and then hang at home. It is still a very innocent world here with no alcohol, no drugs and no dating to speak of. Jonah is trying to also link up with an Australian group of kids who tend to hang out together as well on a compound near here. This will be another positive step. He is still battling with loss of friends at home although they are on the web all the time to each other. He still has tennis coaching twice a week, has dropped soccer because of cultural differences (they just don't use the same techniques for passing etc) and has not become involved in any music yet. He is also having great difficulty picking up on his Spanish which surprises us. We think he just doesn't like to be wrong and so is holding back until he feels totally confident.
We are not at all sure about our time limit here. Steve and I are happy to stay as long as we like, there are many wonderful things to look forward to. Jonah still has his heart set on leaving next June and so we might not be able to dissuade him. Our trip home this June will perhaps give him some clarification on how he truly feels. When we return to here our recreation centre will be ready to open to us with indoor pools, outdoor pools, gyms, play areas, shops, places where he can invite his friends to hang out. It is accessible by overhead walkways from here and will be a great bonus for us all. Other people living in Doha have to join a club in order to have access to these sorts of things. We are so lucky and so well looked after. We shall see what plays out for the best path for us all.

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