Next Step

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My children love Berlin. Love, love, love it. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

While we were away indulging out wanderlust we were keeping track of the next steps we wanted to take in our lives but we were not about to let that distract us from having a good time. The news we had been waiting for reached us during our three-day stopover in Berlin. Kylie got several emails about grades, school and the scholarships she has applied for. From there we put things into place while we continued our trip through Europe. All the necessary information was forwarded to the schools the children wanted to go to so things would be in place when we got back home.

The trip became even more exciting now we got the news about the kids going to the schools of their choice. As we traveled we allowed the children to the take the lead more so they could strengthen their navigation skills in a big and times more complication environment. They helped each other, figuring out how to uses maps and find out information in a country where they didn’t speak the language.

“I’m really enjoying this mom,” said Kylie as she tiptoed and looked through the crowd to see more of the stalls set up at Kunstmarkt, a huge flea market in Berlin.

“There is so much history and culture here. I think going to school here would be a lot more interesting than the US.

Mr. Divine laughed at her remark. “That is probably very true. We can check and see if your university offers a study abroad program. Another option is to do your Master’s Degree or make sure your first job is in Europe.”

“Can I do that?” she asked excitingly.

“Yes,” Mr. Divine replied as she held his arm and looked up him in awe.

“It’s time for both you and Shane to dream big and discover the world. Strengthen your language skills and travel.”

The kids looked at each other and nodded. Their excitement visible. They both had their sights set on choosing a new skill they wanted to discover and develop, plus the fire to go after it. I can’t wait to see what language or languages they choose.

 

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Summer Fun

 

SummerFun

Tell me we are going on a cruise and my cases are packed.

Oh Goodness me! I now realize how far behind I am about what has been happening so I’m going to try extra hard to get you, my amazing readers, back up to date about what’s going on. We all had an amazing summer even though things were in limbo. The issue that has us unable to fully sit, stand or turnaround, is that we’re waiting to find out about the children’s next step when it comes to school. To take our minds off for that complicated bit of information, Mr. Divine decided we should all go on a trip and indulge in some adventure.

The next thing I knew, we were packing to go on a two-week cruise of the Caribbean. It ended up being one of the most enjoyable parts of the summer vacation. Like I said, only one of them because my lovely husband always has something up his sleeve. Our days were spent going on various tours that allowed us to discover the most amazing locations. We saw so many unique places and discovered so much information about each island we visited, it captivated us.

Every day the kids were up early and ready to scamper off and discover. Sometimes we went out together or they would spend the day with the new friends they met on the boat. No matter what, we always had dinner together every night. I had some serious foodies for children and dinner was our time to try new things. It was filled with pure fun and laughter. Dinner was our time to talk and recap the day. We would plan what we wanted to do for the coming days and to seek out new adventures. Whenever possible, the children had to get in some beach time. They were true water babies and the beach makes them happy.

When that cruise ended we were all a little sad, but it ended with new friends and the potential for more adventure right around the corner. Let the fun begin.

Results and Choices

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What is next for my amazing children? Photo by JodyHongFilms on Unsplash

With Shane none too eager to go to school here and talking about being near his sister, we have held off getting his school stuff. The tricky thing is that by the time Kylie’s results come back Shane should have started in school already. Despite that, we started to look seriously for a school for Shane and we found two which were just a few miles away from the colleges that Kylie was most interested in.

To set things in motion we decided to take a trip to see the schools we were considering. We did the tours and were very happy with what we discovered. Mr. Divine also did some online research to see if he came across any dirty little secrets that the school administration may be attempting to cover up. Whatever he found it seemed like it was enough that he took two of the schools off the list. Luckily the schools were not on the top of Shane’s list. So we are all good. We also found out their policy for late start of the term and discovered it was not a huge issue so that settled things for us.

Two weeks later we got Kylie’s results and along with her two passes from the year before, she has gotten another seven at grade 1 and 2 to go with them. Her coach was overjoyed and was on the phone back and forth talking to the colleges that shortlisted her. He then informed her she would have to wait another few weeks to hear back from them about her chances of getting a scholarship. Her coach also went on to explain that with her improved swim times he chances were even higher for success.

During the week after Kylie got her results, she sat down with Shane and they each talked about their choices to try to narrow down what schools that truly wanted to attend. When the information came in they were both on tender hooks, eager to find out what was the next step in their lives and we could hardly wait to tell them.

Already Missing Her

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Shane wanted to be near his sister when she went away to college. Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

I’ve been telling you about Kylie for the past few weeks but what about my darling young man Shane? He did amazing in his exams and as a result got into the school of his choice. He is happy with his results, but I don’t see any eagerness in him to start at this new school. He has been going to the pool with Kylie and much to my surprise had been working with her coach to increase his times and overall stamina. Despite all these things I’ve noticed that my son is quieter than usual.

Every day he talked to Mr. Divine and I saw a joy that took over my son whenever he had one of these conversations. He also seemed to tag along wherever his sister went. I noted that her boyfriend didn’t mind Shane being with them but I still worried about him always being around older kids.

One day when Kylie was out and he seemed to be playing on his iPad I walked by. What I noticed wasn’t a game but rather a website. Slowly I walked up to him. “Shane, what are you doing?”

He put down his iPad and gave me a sad smile.

“Research. I’m looking for schools for kids my age near where Kylie may be going to school.”

His words shocked me but I managed to keep it in. “You found anything good?”

“One or two but it all depends on where Kylie ends up going to university.”

“True, but even if you don’t go to school in the same state you can still visit Kylie often.”

“I guess,” he said with a sigh.

“If you want to go to school near Kylie you can but the school has to be more than just near Kylie. It needs to do the things you are interested in.”

Pouting Shane cuddled against my side. “I’m going to miss her when she is gone mom.”

“Anything is possible so don’t worry. We’ll start looking for proper schools for you so by the end of summer we will have a plan. So let me see these schools you are interested in.

Fishing Trip

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Anything is possible for my babies. Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash

From our trip to visit several colleges with Kylie last year, we go information as well as contacts of the persons who ran the sports programs and the chairs of the departments in the programs she was interested in. We had also asked her coach to do an evaluation of her performance in the pool and the potential for improvement. He told us that with her continual improving times she had the potential to gain a position on a college swim team.

It seems that her coach connected with the coaches at several of the universities with the aim to get her a scholarship and that has been going very well. With Kylie’s swim times combined with her grades so far she has been shortlisted. Right now we are waiting to get in her results to up her chances for a scholarship. For the time being, she has provisional acceptance to four colleges and she is excited.

Now the summer is here and Kylie has been having an amazing time. She has been spending time with her young man but since she has so much free time she has decided to intensify her training. More than once my young lady has come home exhausted because of the rigorous training she had to endure. When I asked her if she didn’t want to take it easier, Kylie assured me she has a reason for her new training regime. It seems she had talked to several of the international swimmers who came in to use the pool during their offseason and she took note of their training routine and was determined by the end of the summer she would be on par with them lap and distance wise. She is close to reaching her goal and we’ll know for sure by the end of summer.

Settling Into Place

SettlingIntoPlace

Free and ready for whatever comes next.

From our conversation on the beach, Mr. Divine and I have been doing a lot better. That talk seemed to have opened a floodgate of conversation to make sure that we are staying on track as a couple. We sit down and just try to talk about everything as much as possible and make sure we were on the right page or just the same page about the things that might be a complication.

With Kylie enjoyed her new school and both of them studying for upcoming exams, things were settling back into a quiet state in our home. A while back Kylie had told me was interested in taking several of her exams early so she had started to do extra lessons in preparation for those exams. That had been going well and it was a major help towards her applications into university.

The children’s sporting activities have brought back up the question of the possibility of them having the opportunity to move to another country so they can further their education and ranking in the sport. We all had a long talk and the plan is to wait for Kylie’s results and see if there is any early interest from the universities that she wants to go to. Her swim coach has also been looking into scholarships at her choice universities and several other schools that would teach the courses that interest her. We would know the results in a few months and from there we would revisit the idea of moving as a family or if we would let Kylie go off on her own and have an adventure. Time would tell.

New School Rocks

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My Kylie settling into her new school without a problem.

Like I said, I don’t know how Mr. Divine pulled it off but he had Kylie in school before the week was over. It seemed that several of his friends and associates had school aged children, and most of them went to one of the two exclusive schools in my country. That was where Kylie was not enrolled. I went with Mr. Divine and did a walk through of the school and was massively impressed with what I saw.

 

A talk with the teachers showed me that my Kylie would not have a problem settling back into school when it came to studying but I was worried about her finding friends at this new school. One thing I knew was that being new was never easy but time would tell. On her first day, a new classmate came to give Kylie a tour and when she saw Kylie, the girl had a questioning look on her face.

“Do you swim? You look like a girl who’s race times I’m always trying to beat that swim for Neptune Swim Club.”

“Yes I swim for Neptune but my times are not that great.”

“Are you kidding me? Have you never checked your ranking?”

Kylie looked from Mr. Divine to me then to the girl who was almost bouncing in excitement. With you here, we can actually place in the inter-school swim tournament. This is so cool.”

Grabbing Kylie’s hand she pulled her towards her classroom.

“Come, let me introduce you to everyone,” she said and Kylie waved back at us as she was hurried away.

It seemed like I had nothing to worry about when it came to friends. Time will tell.

That afternoon when we picked up Kylie a smiling young lady greeted us. The whole drive to meet her brother at the pool was filled with non-stop chatter about how her day went. She was truly excited about her new school and the possibilities of what was now open to her.

There is often a saying that from every disappointment there is a new and better appointment, and I think this is what was happening for Kylie. She was about to move forward to do bigger and better things.

All Revealed

AllRevealed

Like the rising sun, the situation could no longer be hidden.

 

“You see,” said Kylie. “I told you I’m not the only one he has been bugging. I guess their parents skipped coming to the school and went right to the police.”

The officer that came in, make that officers, were not street cops but high ranking officers. I guess someone had gone to the top with their complaint.

The officers looked around the room from our angry faces to the boy sitting in the corner of the room rocking back and forth crying.

“What is the issue here?” asked one of the officers.

“The young lady and her parents have said the boy has been giving her double,” said the principal.

“Define trouble,” said the other officer.

“Sexual assault,” said Kylie before the principal could replay.

“The girl is just exaggerating. The boy was just playing,” said Mr. X with a laugh.

“Playing? From the conversation I overheard my niece having and the bruises I saw on her arms and thighs when I got her to tell me what happened, this is no game.”

“Are you Nadisha’s uncle or Ashley’s? Those are the two girls  he has been bugging for the last two weeks.”

“No. My niece doesn’t go to school here. This incident happened on the bus last Friday.”

The officer took out a phone and showed the principle pictures. The man was visibly shocked.

Taking out a notebook the officer turned to my daughter.

“Can I have the names of those two other young ladies? We will need to talk to them. Can you tell us what happened.”

My daughter told her story including the part about the teacher doing nothing. The officers gave Mr. X. a long look and finally he has the look of shame on his face.

“From the magnitude of this situation we going to have to take this situation to the station. This involves too many girls and this is a dangerous situation.”

Saddened the principle nodded.

“On that note,” said Mr. Divine. “I would like my daughter’s transcripts before I leave. She is not coming back to this school. Not with a teacher who turns a blind eye to sexual assault. Never.

“I was shocked he took things as far as removing Kylie from school but I understood it. The safety of the children was always his first priority and for that I loved him.

It seemed like Kylie would be starting privet school later in the week. Mr. Divine moved that fast, that fast.

Throwdown

Throwdown

Direct hit. 

The principal started to splutter and the teacher looked shocked.

 

“The boy was just playing,” said Mr. X.

“Yes. I was just playing chimed in the boy,” suddenly realizing that this was getting bigger than a simple trip to the office.

“No young man,” said Mr. Divine. “Touching or hitting a person without their consent is assault. Forcibly touching a girl or woman on parts of her body that are considered privet, that is breasts, bottom or vaginal area is considered sexual assault. There is no just playing when you force a girl in a corner and touch her while she is screaming no. It is wrong. Your teacher should know that, you should know and understand that. You need to call your parents because you are in big trouble and you have to learn that actions have consequences.”

“This a big lot of noise about nothing,” said Mr. X.

“I hope you are willing to tell that to a judge because I think I’ll be taking you to court for your lack of action with regards to this situation.

Mr. Divine took out his other phone and called his lawyer. His words froze the man.

“Those papers I told you about. You can file them. He has no remorse so why should I?”

“Why are you behaving like this?” Mr. X questions. “These are  just kids.”

“Do you understand that boys become men? Do you understand that boys who think they can touch girls wherever and whenever and don’t understand that ‘No’ really means ‘NO’ often go on to assault and rape women? Do you understand that you are a teacher and the person these children look up to and respect? Do you understand that by saying nothing you are a danger to these children?”

“You are crazy man,” said Mr. X.

“Like I said, tell it to a judge.”

The young man was standing in the corner and the look on his face said the boy was frightened out of his mind. He should be. Not to mention this school needed to talk to the boys and make them understand no, means no.

“Young man, have you called your parents?” The boy shook his head no.

“They need to be called and they need to get here now. Not the end of their work day but right now.”

Suddenly there was a knock on the door and the secretary stuck her head without waiting for a response to come in.

“There are two police officers out here. He wants to speak to you about an incident. He named that boy,” she said pointing to the boy now trying to make himself smaller in the corner. “That is why I came to get you.”

The boy slid down onto the floor his knees weak.

Lightning Can Strike Twice

LightingCanStrikeTwice

Two angry women in one room, it’s not pretty.

 

“What is this all about?” asking Mr. X, the teacher Kylie told us about. One look and I could see that this man didn’t think for one second what he told my daughter was wrong.

Mr. Divine focused on him and started to question in a calm, clear voice. “Did my daughter report an incident or incidents regarding harassed and assaulted by this young man to you?”

“Assault. I don’t know what you are talking about? He was probably just playing around with her and got a bit too rough.”

Mr. Divine just looking at the man with a question all over his face.

“Probably. So you don’t have a real clue what happen but you proceed to tell my daughter that it was nothing and the boy just liked her and she should probably stop ignoring him.”

“This is no big deal. The young man was just being a typical boy.”

I was livid and jumping out of my seat. “Are you out of your mind?”

“No darling. Please let me handle this.” I looked at Mr. Divine and saw the look he gave me was similar to the one he had just before he knocked my ex-husband unconscious and left him on the ground front yard.

With a laugh, I sat down. Again the principal started to fidget while he questioned the teacher. “Mr. X  you are not sure about the details of the incident but that is what you told the young lady?”

“These kids always playing around. Who can keep track.”

“None of us girls play around with him,” said Kylie. “He is always hitting us and trying to grab us. We tell him to stop but he never does. We make sure we keep the younger girls away from him. I came to you because you are his form teacher but you did nothing and made it seem like it was alright. That I should let him touch me whenever and where ever on my body he wants. I don’t like him. Why should I let him touch me?”

“He was playing around,” said Mr. X. “What is the big deal.”

“So when he pins a girl in a corner and tries to touch her while she is screaming no and he is laughing like it a joke that’s okay. No, that is one step from attempted rape.”

And folks there it was. My daughter had said it and there was no taking it back.