Yesterday morning I baked baguettes for breakfast for the first time since we moved here, then we went to the beach to enjoy the sea, which was calmer than we’ve seen it so far, and finally we did what we always do on Saturdays. We had ice cream in the “Golda gelato factory”. While enjoying the sweets Linnéa said the magic words: “Hey, I’m actually a little happy that we moved to Israel. Or, Ok. I’m really happy that we did so.”

It’s been a long and sometimes hard process.

The first talk

The first time we talked about the possible move was actually in the fall last year, when we seriously started considering it. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but we basically told the kids that we are thinking about a possible move to a place they have been before. I think at the beginning it was just too abstract for them and as it didn’t have real consequences for the time being, it was not much of a topic. They sometimes asked what it will be like, and of course Linnéa didn’t like the idea of leaving her school, teachers and friends behind. I think the idea was planted and they occasionally thought about it, but that’s it. Even during an English camp in Linnéa’s autumn vacations, she just enjoyed learning new things more than worrying about the move.

Realisation

That changed a bit the moment they started taking English lessons twice a week after school and kindergarten respectively. Niklas was furious about the idea of moving somewhere where he wouldn’t understand anything. He realised that remembering words is actually work, that it doesn’t come naturally and he refused almost completely to cooperate. Lucky me, who just saw parts of it. Poor Annika, who did most of the work, as the lessons were mostly in the early afternoon. They tried with cars as a topic to talk about (he looooves cars), playing his favourite games, etc. But it was hard to get through to him. He was a bit angry about it all. Getting to choose stickers every time he participated nicely was a good motivation, but didn’t work all the time either. Linnéa started to consider the consequences more and got quiet sometimes and cried a little.

The main idea we had with those lessons was that the kids would get a bit more self-esteem to manage the start in their English-speking school and kindergarten. That they can express basic needs and that they get a bit of a feeling for the language. In retrospect, I think besides those reasons, the main effect was that they had a chance to prepare mentally. Which led to the next phase.

Open confrontation

We didn’t know exactly what’s like here in Israel, but we had an idea, looking forward to the upsides and not considering the downsides of the move so much. The kids didn’t have that notion. They just saw the downsides - leaving friends, starting all over, new language, which is hard etc. The closer it got, the more present it was in our everyday life. They told it at school/kindergarten, as a consequence, were asked about it. I went on some trips here and wasn’t always at home. With that happening, Niklas got a bit calmer, noticing I think that it was something special, whereas Linnéa got angry. She cried every now and then and complained that I was the one who decided and that she has to suffer. What I liked about it was the fact that she let all her emotions out. Even though I didn’t agree all the time, she expressed how she felt. And if she was sad she cried and let it all out. What a gift of children to do so. Sometimes I was a bit jealous about it. :)

The turning point

The closer we got to the move, there was the point of going here to check out possible places to live. As Linnéa still was furious every now and then I offered her to come with me and that she could pick our new home. Now I feel that was the turning point. She was proud to come with me, excited to see possible homes and it was the first time she could see what was coming. That it was not only about the downsides, but that there was as well good stuff to come. The trip went well, we found a place and from that point on, the mood went up again. Changing from fear for the uncertain to excitement for the things awaiting us.

That didn’t change much anymore, and culminated in the things she said this morning.