...and what a relief it is for all of us - especially them. We've been here in São Paulo for just over three weeks now and although Helen and I have been so busy we haven't really had time to stop and catch our breath, for the boys it's been a long dull period of being stuck inside the house with very few toys, cartoons they can't understand and snappy parents. Except for those wonderful trips out when said snappy parents have dragged them off to the supermarket, or the uniform outfitters, or the bank, etc.
Actually, it hasn't been quite that bad. There is plenty of English language TV, there's an iPad crammed with games that rarely seems to get turned off, and a lovely little play area in the local park just a few minutes walk from the house - and I've even taken them there on more than one occasion!
It's a little babyish for James, but sometimes he manages to convert the stepping stones into an assault course, or the swing into a battering ram. And sometimes he likes to take the opportunity to play at being one of the grown ups and we'll sit and chat about one of the more important topics of the day... health, crime, or why Hitler should never have tried to invade Russia or the factors which led to the collapse of the Roman Empire. David, meanwhile, will have found someone to flirt with, language apparently being no barrier when you're pretending to be a train!
But park or no park, both boys have been desperate to finally get out the house and go to school. It was James' first day yesterday and I think Helen and I were more nervous than he was, bombarding him with a constant stream of advice and explanation. Honestly, we needn't have bothered. At the end of the day I was treated to a blow-by-blow account of the day and all its wonders; the new friends he'd made and the games he'd played and the lunch he'd eaten and the teachers he'd met and the maths quiz he'd won a chocolate treat for and the homework he'd got and the instructions he'd been given that he didn't quite understand, and "this is my friend Nour and can I go round to his house to play tonight?"
I think we can say he settled in ok.
And today I get to do it all again with David. He was less enthusiastic and more suspicious than James, and wasn't at all pleased with the lack of purple stuff around the classroom, but he was happy enough to turn his back on us when it was time for us to leave.
So now here I am, all alone in the house with nothing to do but wait in for the guy who's coming to finish off all the plumbing and electrical and plastering jobs he wasn't able to finish yesterday. I do a lot of waiting in these days. If you arrange for someone to come round they will generally come round on the day agreed, but at any time between 8.00am and 6.00pm. And we've had a lot of people coming round - to fix stuff, install stuff, collect stuff, etc - and what with the kids less than enthusiastic about walking anywhere further away than about ten minutes, I haven't yet been able to go off and do any of the exploring I was looking forward to. I know the area between the house and the school and the shopping centre and that's about it. So that's my task from next week on... go places and do stuff.
And I promise to tell you all about it when it happens.