School. We loved our kids school in Oly. It was small we knew the families I would say its under 300. BUT, the separation of church and state was OVERLY present. I remember calling Christmas break ...well CHRISTMAS BREAK and being corrected by a teacher You mean "Winter break". Last year I walked into the kids school and was shocked to see a Christmas tree up and everyone saying Merry Christmas. I even heard some God Bless yous. It was not a big deal to everyone, it IS the culture even though they know your not suppose to its almost comical to bring it up in conversation when they hear we are from the west coast we get and we tell them how it was were we are from they giggle as in disbelief. Our kids school calender is packed with activity to gather socials are weekly. Opportunities are endless! I really like it, it would be hard to go back to the same environment after being here.
Education. Before we moved we looked at test scores parent reports class sizes etc. and picked the best district. Our kids were far behind according to the reports we got from the teachers and professionals at the new school, they were even frustrated with I think having a larger district that had more money helped have more services allowing more opportunity for the kids to learn more. Our school is a Franklin Covey school, the program believes in enabling greatness to allow your child to succeed, and teaches kids 7 habits to achieve success and become leaders. Each teacher has been trained in the steps of success. It will also become a lighthouse school the 16th in the whole world! Its been awesome to see the kids flourish and grow in an environment set up for success. Also the kids that are lacking are getting and immense amount of support all around them. IMMENSE! If a fan of their teachers, they are brilliant and truly LOVE teaching.
SPORTS: This is one I have not embraced as yet, because I do not understand AT ALL. FOOTBALL and JESUS are almost on the same level sometimes the latter gets dropped down a notch for the other. Kids are signed up for every sport under the sun and people are super busy because of sports. Football is not something they take lightly here at all. The high schools have on staff at least 8+Football coaches. Here is an example of one of our school choices this one has 12!!. At a game there will be literally thousands of people, I am not talking about a high school game either I am talking about a kids football game. Its insane. I remember having our kids in sports at the YMCA in WA and the coaches were parents just like here, but you hear "do the best you can do, its okay, next time you will get it, if you don't want to play buddy you don't have to!'' here its SO not the same you will here this on a field "YOU will win, You will Get it, YOU will not Surrender, Don't CRY, NO such thing as quitting child!" I am not kidding. Its serious stuff, don't mess.
Entertainment choices: In Olympia I remember being frustrated having to travel to Seattle or Tacoma to my favorite restaurants becuase the selection was not as vast in Oly. It has been said here you can eat out every night and NEVER eat at the same restaurant twice. There are tons of things to do for entertainment. Its Metro ATL, its a happening spot!
So an incredible difference in culture as you can see. I think If Southerners were to hang out downtown Olympia they would be culture shocked in 0 seconds flat, and visa versa. Different as Night is from Day. I STILL MISS HOME! I am still struggling with purpose here. The more we stay the more we see the benefits for our children. The more home becomes less possible, the more sad and nostalgic I become about what was. I miss my best buddies. But I keep keeping on, enjoying sunshine everyday and cooler weather, and all the above amazing things about being in the South.
xoxo, Your Northwest Southern girl!