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The first time I sat in a classroom

The 3-month move to France and back to the US

The idea of moving to Europe never left my mother's mind, so at the beginning of 2008, we went to France for an undetermined amount of time while my mom led a tour for a group of Americans.

My sister and I started school in our grandparent's village during that time. It was one of the first times that I experienced the feeling of inclusion. I had never been with other kids my age. Things like playing games, sitting in a circle and listening, or having to get my parent's signature each week was different from the rhythm I was used to.

I remember the first time I felt the difference between being part of a group and being an exterior person. Previously, I had never felt the "inside" feeling because, honestly, I didn't really have friends. This happened one day when I invented a game that the entire playyard started playing together. I can't remember anything about the game, but the moment struck hard.

One afternoon, my mom had walked out to the only rock in the backyard with phone reception and spent an hour on the phone with my dad. When she came back, she announced that we had sold the 2 tree house, and just like that, we were headed back to the US after just three months.

We never got to say goodbye to the 2 trees house because my dad, who stayed in the US, packed everything up for us.

I have lovely memories of our time in France, but soon enough, we were headed home.

Back in the US, my mom insisted we live on the Portland side of the river and not in Vancouver anymore. My dad was in charge of finding us a place, and that's what he did. We moved to the island between Portland and Vancouver, which upset my mom a lot because it was the farthest place we could live while still not being in Vancouver. It was a pretty, furnished condo, but there was no yard. So we found a "yard". It was the summer, so we used the small river beach with artificial sand and tons of floating homes. We quickly became friends with the people who lived there. Most were millionaires who had won the lottery and spent their time on motorboats. We became especially friends with one guy who built us a huge slip-and-slide that was a child's dream. We learned to fish for crawdads. We didn't stay on Haden Island long, but man, that was a fun summer.

Our next move was over the Vancouver Bridge and into Portland, but that's for another time.

Picture Highlights:

The backyard classroom and Waldorf attire

Here is a classic representation of the time we spent outdoors learning from each other and from nature instead of spending time behind a desk.

Our Waldorf clothing was hard to miss and was most likely handmade and colorful.

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