Sunday, January 19, 2014

Summer holidays

It's the middle of the school summer holidays here right now and we are realizing one of the disadvantages of being two working ex-pat parents of a school-aged child. Every other ex-pat family here has one parent working at the mine and one parent at home who can be with the children. So what that non-working parent apparently does for the summer is leave Arequipa with the children and go back to their home town/state/country and spend the summer there, or they rent a house at the beach here in Peru (the coast is about 2 hours from Arequipa) and spend the summer there. Very few of them stay in Arequipa itself, which means that we have a boy who gets lonely and misses his friends, who he won't see again until March when school starts. We try to do things together when P and I aren't at work but it's certainly not the same for our son who just wishes that he had friends nearby who he could go and play with.
This is a problem that can have an effect during the school term as well because of the housing and security situation that is part of our life here. If N wants to visit a friend, unless they live in the same gated community (which they don't), it is quite awkward to go and visit them. There are friends who live in the gated community next to ours and although it would be just a 5-minute walk (it's really only a few hundred meters away), we aren't allowed to walk there. We have to arrange to go there with our security agent who then waits until it is time to take us home again. N can't do any of the summer vacation activities that are organized for kids (sports camps, drama and music classes, outdoor activities) because we aren't there to go with him and the agent has to be at the mine to drive us if we need it.

These are the times when we really wish that we had other family supporting us here.

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