What does the word “Community” mean to you? While there are many definitions, depending on the context, the one that rings most true to my opinion on the term is similar to this one found in the Oxford dictionary:
“A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”
Back in my college years, I served as an Orientation Leader at the beginning of each fall semester. One thing I always recommended to my group of new students was to find at least one group or activity to get involved in. Whether that be sports, drama, music, student activities or whatever, just get involved; make some new friends. The reason I always recommended this was because I firmly believe it’s what helps bridge the gap between being a high schooler living under house rules to being a semi-independent college student who is also learning how to make their own rules. I believe it helps to relieve stress to have other things to occupy their minds when they need a break from studying as well as relieve the loneliness that comes when stepping out of the “nest” for the first time; because, as much as they always say they can’t wait to get out on their own, it’s still a reality check when they suddenly realize they are solely responsible for themselves. Life is hard and I think college is the time where we start to realize that.
“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
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At this point you may be wondering why my blog is called Living the Life of Kylie. Well, one of the reasons we decided to embark on this adventure is our three-year old daughter. We wanted to give her the opportunity for a true world experience; to expose her to different cultures, languages, traditions, etc. Being a “hick from the sticks” myself, I know how self-conscious it can make you to walk into a room full of intellectuals from other countries and feel like you don’t belong there. I don’t want that for my girl. I want her to feel confident to go anywhere and know that she belongs there as much as anyone else.
When we returned to Saint Kitts after importing the dogs, we enrolled Kylie in the Ross University Preparatory School that is located on the campus of RUSVM. With a multi-cultural population, there are so many opportunities for Kylie to gain experience from children her own age. She has children in her class from Scotland, Romania, Saint Kitts and the US. Some of them speak multiple languages. There are children in other classes from all over the world.
Her class is the Preschool 2 level which includes 3 and 4 year olds. They have Spanish lessons at least once a week and IT classes twice a week in addition to PE and other social skills activities. One of her teachers also teaches them American Sign Language.
I’ve been so impressed with the older children as well as they tend to take the younger ones under their wing and show them the ropes. Since there are several opportunities throughout the day for them to interact with other grade levels, Kylie has really surprised me with how quickly she has joined in. At first she was more relaxed around the older kids than she was in her own class. We still have the occasional moment where she clings to me but normally she’s off and running and ready to join her friends. It’s a welcome change. I’m sure some of that is coming with maturity too.
Another opportunity that I’m particularly excited about is the chance for her to study music involving different instruments. She’s always loved music and often makes up her own songs. Ever since she saw the first episode of Little Einsteins, she has been begging for a violin and a piano. She also loves to hear drums and is constantly drumming on things around the house. While we’re still looking for a violin instructor, we think we may have found a drum teacher for her and there is a piano teacher at the school also. This is her first time sitting down at a drum set (proud moment for momma even if it doesn’t sound like much to the outside world):