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Battye Family’s Travel Diary

Friday, 05 Feb 2010

Location: Maryland, USA

MapWhat an interesting adventure this year has turned out to be. We arrived in Southern Maryland at the end of August and hauled our boxes into a little rental house on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in a quirky but endearing neighborhood largely inhabited by retirees. Most of our things are in storage and we’re finding that most of that stuff is...well…stuff and we don’t really need it at all. The view takes our breath away and the coziness of this little house and the outdoorsy nature of the neighborhood are really conducive to leading a life focused on what matters most. This morning Emily and I spent a happy half hour in her bed, lying on our backs and watching two gigantic houseflies doing aerial stunts near her ceiling. After that, we walked down the beach searching for treasure amongst the sea glass and driftwood. It is a serene and beautiful spot, as those who have visited us have found. One of the highlights of the last few months has been our weekend visitors and the very connecting experiences we’ve shared while together (check out the photos on the bottom right hand sidebar below- the most recent are the top three entries.) Our door is always open-we can promise you a bed from which you can see and hear the waves, a glass of wine under the stars, and warmth and attention from all of us. Let us hear from you, we’d love to know about the happenings in your neck of the woods! And in terms of the near and distant future, at this point our plan is to stay here until the end of the school year at which point the owners move back in and we need to be out. We'll travel for two or three weeks out west and then spend July and part of August in Portsmouth, returning right back here prior to the start of school. We're looking for a rental for that 6 week time period in Portsmouth, so if you know of one, please let us know! The kids...well, all of us...are excited to spend the bulk of summer near old friends and all the beauty New Hampshire has to offer.

Emily’s world:
We went on the Disney boat and saw Minnie and Mickey. Maybe I’ll even go to Alice in Wonderland’s tea party! I like to do projects at school and I like my school and I like to have play dates with my friends. I like to watch movies in the music room. At recess I like playing the games Tag, Gravel and Hot Lava and I can teach you, too. I like to play the violin at school and my teacher’s name is Miss Alicia. In theater club I like it because we play games and we get to act. I also like my friends there. In dance, I like my ballet and tap teacher. I like to do ton dues in ballet. My first performance was in November and it was fun. I have another one in May and you can come and see me if you want!

Now I am Jenny:
I just want to say I miss you all! I’m having an exciting experience in Maryland with everything from the Theater Club to the beautiful, relaxing beach.
I can’t believe I’m ten! The year was full of transitions, learnings and several different emotions. I can still remember on our way out of town gazing out of my glassy car window seeing the familiar house on Buckminster Way, which I always grew up cherishing and loving. I saw some toys and bicycles strewn across the yard and thought about the precious moments of childhood. A single tear rolled gently down my cheek. I thought about the things I will miss and the opportunities and adventures ahead of me.
At the Calverton School I feel loved and special. The schoolwork is more my level and I can challenge myself. My teacher is very kind, patient and understanding! The fourth graders are doing a Fourth grade newspaper and my column is about Polls and Favorites. I get to make surveys, graphs and have fun. We are also doing Native American research reports. My partner and I are presenting what we learned by making up a “Talk Show”.
I am enjoying myself-the school days FLY by. My house is peaceful and relaxing (at least when Timmy isn’t bugging Emily and me!) I have fun going down to the beach and just running along with Emily, our hair flying in our faces and sand going every which-way.

Tim’s life:
I’m in the 8th grade at the Calverton School. So far things are going pretty good. My classes in school are a little bit hard, but they’re o.k. My only hard class is English because that’s what I think I’m the worst at. My favorite class is art because we can joke around in class and my teacher doesn’t really care and she plays music during class. I don't really like our house that much because it’s so small and we have a rocky driveway so I can’t bring a basketball hoop on it. The closest hoop is a 5-10 minute walk away but it’s not that appealing to walk all the way there without someone to play with. Soccer season ended just about a month or so ago, and basketball just started. I’m on the middle school blue team (equivalent to varsity). The first two games of the season we lost by a buzzer beater 3, and by 1 point in overtime. Then we finally won a game. Chris is trying to make a school baseball team or club for the middle and high school in the spring because they don't have one. Hopefully he does, because I would definitely play on it. I’m also going to be on my friend Jake’s travel baseball team. The season starts in February or March, and we have a couple tournaments a month. We’ve started practices already and they’re tough. We have a science fair coming up at school and my project is on quicksand. Maybe I can try out my experiments on Emily!

John’s Battye Family News:
Things are going increasingly better now, in the middle of week two after our winter break. I am transitioning from an over-focus on my new job, to a life of balance, where I create time and meaning for other important aspects of my life.
First, there is a strong sense of accomplishment and deeper understanding of who I am as a teacher and how that helps children learn. Said differently, I am being true to my ideals as a teacher and it is working! I have a fun, engaged class of learners. Rediscovering the most powerful morning mantra I have ever heard and saying it daily, full of heart and belief, has made a huge difference in my attitude towards each school day and makes the Nora/Burgundy effect blur and fade away. If you’re interested in what that mantra is, just let me know, I’ll happily share it with you.
The second is deciding to focus on being here, with both feet in, now. I embrace my community…my world around here. Getting the baggage off the plate by taking action toward solutions for daily life issues frees me up to enjoy each moment and really be with people.
Focusing on running is yet another piece-I run regularly now, outside in the cold winter (I got some high tech running clothes for Christmas) and am learning to love it. I feel connected with friends and family, as well. My friendships from Portsmouth and elsewhere in the US are growing…which I just find immensely gratifying.
Jennifer, Tim and I will be going to a Tony Robbins UPW event in March which will be great…let me know if you want to join us! With 17 miles under my belt this week and beautiful interactions with my wife, each of my kids, and friends…that important balance is coming back.

Theater Happenings:
What fun we’ve had this fall and winter introducing a theater program to The Calverton School, where John teaches and where the kids go to school. Knowing we were moving to an area with no local theater company (to replace Chris and Jenny’s beloved Seacoast Repertory Theater,) we decided we would have to make our own fun. So John and I started a theater games class during the day for third, fourth and fifth graders. We had about 20 kids and the help of the upper school fine arts head. So far we’ve found that our group loves it when they can really let loose and express themselves and our best meeting yet took place under the canopy of trees on the school’s outdoor stage. Seeing the kids transform themselves into old men and toddlers and generals and ballerinas was almost as satisfying as seeing the sparkle in their eyes while doing it.
Wanting Emily to be able to partake as well, we started an after school theater club with two groups-1st and 2nd graders and 3-5th graders. We performed some twisted fairy tales (written by 10th grade students from the school) at the end of January. Most impressive during this process has been Christopher, who not only helped lead the class but also took his turn at scriptwriting, with pretty hilarious results. Through his leadership and experience, the kids have learned an amazing amount about everything from blocking a production to audition skills and from stage direction to how to transform anxiety into excitement!

Chris’ story:
It’s been a pretty crazy few months, that’s for sure. Junior year is just as hard as people have told me, and I have lots of work coming from my Advanced Placement English and Advanced Placement History classes. I am also taking Spanish 4, Chemistry, and Pre-calculus, so there is a lot to do. I just finished out the cross-country season and am relaxing in the fact that I DON’T have to run 5 miles after school every day. I did get a job tutoring however, and it’s very lucrative and interesting. I also just finished my theatrical production of “Check Please!” a show about horrible blind dates. I’m already back in the theater game however, playing two major parts in Steven Schwartz's famous musical, “Working”. This includes singing a solo song…completely in Spanish. Socially, everything’s good over here. However, the most anticipated event for me is whenever I get the opportunity to travel back to Portsmouth and visit my friends there. In fact, one of those is coming right up-I can hardly wait!