One week ago today we got the list of overseas positions that will be vacant next year. For the most part, it came as no surprise to us. We have been researching overseas schools for a while now, to find ones that will accept Pudding as a student, and provide the services she needs. Unlike here in the US, international schools are under no legal obligation to take on Pudding as a pupil. The ones that would don’t always have English speaking staff and therapists, or the class sizes are so big that Pudding would get overwhelmed, overlooked, and overloaded.
It is our turn to do a “hardship” or “differential” posting, which means the quality of life is measurably poorer than that of the US. This could be due to crime, political violence, war, famine, poor medical care etc. This reduces considerably the number of places we are able to go. The good news is that Pudding’s Asperger’s diagnosis means that she will not be medically cleared to go to any country that can’t provide the services she needs. This is the reason why we didn’t go to Bolivia.
To further complicate matters, those currently serving in certain hardship posts can get linked in to their choice of follow-on assignment. Put this all together, and your guess is as good as mine as to where we’ll be living this time next year. But, hey, we all know the journey is more important than the destination, right?
From our initial work, we have found 6 posts that are differential, and a further 9 non-differential posts which we believe have quality schools for Pudding. As we aren’t able to visit these schools in person, we don’t know for sure what there programs are like. Fortunately, there is a bureau whose job is to do just that. We send our list of fifteen best guesses to them, and sooner or later we find out if we need to discard any from our list, or proceed.
It is daunting, and even with all this planning, things can still go wrong. Teachers can leave, schools lose their accreditation, therapists retire or relocate. Some families choose to home school, hiring their own tutor, teacher or therapist as needed. I can definitely see the benefit to this one-on-one approach, and the flexibility it would provide. For us though, we think Pudding needs to spend more of her time interacting with other children. School it is.
I’m not letting myself think too much about any of those fifteen places. We’ve decided not to tell anyone what is on our list. We learned a year ago that all the plans you’ve made can be swept away in an instant. What we are left with afterwards is what is meant to be. We’ll find somewhere new to live sooner or later, and wherever we are together will be our Home. You’re welcome to join us on that journey though!