Our time in Prague has been wonderful. Of course Steve hasn't been able to enjoy it full time but the girls and I have thrived and flourished in this environment. A lot of that has been down to Riverside School and the great international community that they have offered the whole family. Fully being part of a real community as an expat can be a rare thing. We'd like to thank all the teachers, staff and families at Riverside for making both the girls and our whole family's time in Prague so special. We leave Prague very excited about the future but with sad hearts too. Since the truck arrived in February the girls have been very keen to show off their new home to their friends and teachers. The school has been so supportive of our adventure, I spent a day a week for a term, observing primary classes in preparation for homeschooling. Although I'm a teacher there is a big difference between teaching just Secondary Science and teaching your own young children their whole curriculum for 3 years! Everyone has been so enthusiastic about the trip, which has really helped the girl's positive perception of what is to come. After a couple of postponements due to Steve's work commitments and the school being affected by the recent flooding, we set off last week to take the truck in for "show and tell". At Alisha's campus, as our little organiser, she had arranged a schedule for her classmates and teachers to come for her guided tour. We also had lots of people and a couple of classes popping in for an impromptu look around. At Lucy's campus she was delighted to show the whole of Nursery, Reception and the visiting Year 1's (about 60 kids in total) and their teachers her new home. In the end we decided the best way was for the under 6's to climb up the back stairs, scramble through the hatch to the cab over Lucy's bed and for them to be lifted from the high cab door down. The girls loved the whole experience and came home that afternoon raving about it being the "best show and tell ever". It was a great boost to their excitement and although they are sad to be leaving Prague, all the positive responses they've received from adults and peers have helped them with any concerns they have. After are trial trip in Italy at Easter our preparations to leave Prague truly got underway. As we have no idea where we will end up long term, we decided to minimise the things we were taking back to the UK to store. We have a cottage in the New Forest close to family that we currently let out as a holiday let, so we can use it when we want to. It has a big garage converted to an office we can store things in. We got movers in to give us a quote, wrote umpteen lists of what we going to take, tried to decided what furniture would work for our unknown future etc. etc. Then about 6 weeks ago we suddenly decided that these extra belongings might just end up being a pain in the future and it wasn't worth paying someone to ship them back. After all we have truck that can carry 13.5 tonnes, couldn't we just pack up our most precious personal items, take them back ourselves and sell or give away everything else. So we did..... In those 6 weeks I managed to empty our 4 storey house and whittle it down to 30 boxes plus pictures and 2 rugs. It wasn't easy but after the initial pangs about getting rid of much beloved items, it soon became easier and easier. It was lovely that many things went to friends, hopefully they'll think of us when they use them. Loading everything into the truck wasn't much fun, although we have a lot of space in the back, it isn't like an empty container lorry. Everything needed to be put on beds, squeezed in cupboards, fitted around the loo etc. In the last week we were picnicking off a plastic shower curtain in the kitchen and the last 2 nights we were camping put in the only room with curtains in sleeping bags. The girls were remarkably good humoured about it. Lucy even announced to her class "If you need any furniture and don't want to go to the shops, come to my house" and when a friend coming to dinner gave her a present she said "Quick give it to me, before my Mum tries to sell it". As the last things were collected by a charity on Friday morning, the house looked strangely reminiscent of when we first saw it 4 1/2 years ago. We had planned to leave on Saturday but with friends said goodbye to, the house empty and the prospect of another night on the hard floor we decided to leave that afternoon. Steve left work for the last time at 1.30 and we were on the road by 3.30. We now have 3 weeks in the UK for say goodbye and sort stuff there. The truck goes on a ship from Antwerp to Halifax next week and we fly out on the 21st July to meet it there for the start of the trip.
We have finally reached our last week in Prague. It's been a hectic few weeks. Definitely a case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Some days nothing seems to get done or plans go astray and then other days things just click into place and we make a big leap forward. The last couple of weeks we have been focused on selling pretty much everything in the house and we are pretty much there now. This weekend we have really broken the back of getting the house sorted. The truck is pretty much packed and the much of the furniture in the house has gone. Last night someone came to collect Lucy's bed. The problem was she was sleeping in it at the time. So we lifted her out and she awoke this morning without a problem on a mattress on the floor. Tonight our table went so from now on dinner will be picnics on the floor. The rest of our beds go on Wednesday so we will then be camping in the house! Once we arrive in England we will need to un pack pretty quickly. The shipping time for the truck has been changed so we need to take the truck to Antwerp 3 days after we arrive in England. We will all really miss Prague. The girls have a busy week at school but we know they will be sad to leave. We have had a lovely time here and the glorious weather of the last week as well as all our friends have given us a great send off. Only 4 weeks until we fly to Canada.