Returning home: a month of school later….

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It’s been back to school for nearly a month now after our almost-year away in a campervan. What’s it like to come home and settle into the old/a new routine again?

A friend asked me yesterday if our wanderlust had returned yet. To be honest, for me it never goes away. It just needs to be kept in check from time to time. Time. It’s an awfully precious, never to be repeated thing. So what we are trying to do right now, is make the most of it.

French stone house


It’s a loooong day to get reused to, 8am to 6pm, and there seems slightly less toleration on the part of the kids at the many examples of time wasted; study classes because there are not enough teaching hours to fill every day, producing or doing very little in a lesson (less so for Adam, because I think by that age all the students have chosen to be there). Generally, it’s working for now.

All three have had umpteen continuous assessment tests. Matt came top of his class in his French test (French school so one of the main subjects) which suggests a year away can’t have done that much harm. The other two are the same. Both boys are enjoying the team element of sports. Katie is adjusting well to the jump from a 10-kid school to a 350-kid school (not including the few hundred at the upper part), with a year off in the middle. Kids generally adapt well if they know what’s coming.

The kids also know they have the option of homeschooling. We and they both now feel confident about that possibility, but for now, seeing friends and fitting in to normal school is what they want.


It’s nice to be back. It seems awfully fancy having a shower and a phone and a washing machine. It’s great to be with the dog again, we really missed him. The rooms seem huge and I feel a little sad when everyone disperses to their respective areas. It seems less together. It seems quite an effort to get everyone to the tea table at the same time. I miss weaving in and out one another to get from one side of the campervan to the other.

I’ve totally abandoned ironing. Probably forever.

We’ve set about making the living room warmer before the winter sets in, because we’re going to have a winter this year. Houses are harder to heat that campervans.

Campervan washing travelling
In the days of a manageable quota of underwear.

We feel as though we have an inordinate amount of clothes. I have at least 10 pairs of pants (underpants that is). Probably we have 50 pairs between us. Pants alone would have filled the campervan. We took a load of clothes to the charity shop before we left, knowing they’d be too small for the growing kids on our return. But even though, we hadn’t expected growth spurts of 6 inches, so there was more sorting to do. There is more washing because we have more stuff, it’s inevitable no matter how hard you try.

We’ve not played scrabble as much. In fact, not at all. School seems to be what is draining the energy.

Gardening vegetable patch France
Nice getting stuck into the veg patch again.
Cutting the grass.
Cutting the grass.

Getting back to a recycling system and recycling boxes has been good. It was something we missed when travelling, as there was very often little opportunity to dispose of rubbish let alone recycle it.

Watch out for toads crossing

I’ve watched telly once since I got back. And that was an all nighter for the Scottish referendum count. Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor seem well off the radar.


Yeah, there’s heaps of that. It is France after all, where you need a 6-inch thick dossier just to get a family rail card. I reckon the paperwork must be the most off putting part of either moving abroad or going away for a year. The “system” just doesn’t like it. It can’t cope. It asks the same questions over and over as if you can’t possibly have survived doing something as radical as changing countries for a bit.

You need to re register for school – and boy are there lots of forms for that. You need to change all you insurances, the travel insurance, the health insurance, the school insurance, the bla bla bla. You need to reregister if you have children to receive child allowances if they exist where you are. You need to sort out a year of “pending” mail. We did a lot en route so that wasn’t too bad.

You need to be made of stern stuff to get through the paperwork mountain. You’ve got to take it a day at a time and remember how worth it doing something not on the “standard” list can be.


… so far things are good. The routine is still novel. I still want to see the Aurora Borealis up close.

Patchwork wool
On closer inspection, are we the only ones who keep inspection lights on the window ledge?

by Jen

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2 Replies to “Returning home: a month of school later….”

  1. Love the sign in the living room! “Welcome to the nuthouse!” The living room looks very cozy! 🙂

  2. Good to read about your routines and adjustments back to them. Yes, time is precious, and there is always another place to travel to. We live for thos opportunities!

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