We spent almost four months in Houston. We had a good rest and made many new friends during our time there. Our plan for Olivia to go to school though, did not work out. We registered her for school and she did so good there that after two weeks in 3rd grade they moved her to the gifted class. However, Olivia was still bored in the gifted class since in our homeschooling we had progressed to 4th grade material already. We were ready to accept this and consider her going to school a bit of a summer break and kid socialization time. As a bonus, we got a bit of free mommy/daddy time.
But then Olivia got sick. Worse yet she brought the sickness home and we got sick as well. It was not Covid since we took Covid tests and they came back negative. It was just the regular school germs. It made sense, in the last three years of travelling around we would normally interact with no more than a few dozen people a day. Olivia’s class in school had 22 students and her class was one of six 3rd grade classes alone. Olivia was directly interacting with dozens of people daily and indirectly interacting with hundreds. Also having been out of school for a few years she was not used to all the school germs.
We all recovered, Olivia faster than us but then a week after we all got better then we all got sick again. Our plans for days chilling out while Olivia was at school turned into a few days chilling and then a week all being sick together before she went back to school for a few days and then getting sick again. In addition, since she was at school from 8 to 5, Holly was really struggling to keep up with teaching Olivia Chinese. Having spent all day at school, Holly was only able to get about an hour of Chinese in between dinner and bedtime. After a couple of months, we gave up and pulled Olivia back out of school.
The final straw was when Olivia came home one day and told us that they had spent 4 hours taking a test that day. Olivia had finished in 1 hour and spent the next 3 hours practicing quietly sitting. It wasn’t even a real test. The school district was evaluating a new test format so the scores were not released and didn’t even count.
Other than the school failure, we had a great time in Houston. We got in touch with the Chinese community and made a number of good friends. It is our favorite city in the USA, at least in winter. It is the cheapest city in the US with a really good Chinatown and it even has a Chinese themed amusement park.
Our extended stay allowed us to take advantage of a number of opportunities that we normally miss.
The community center right next to the Westlake RV park had free karate classes for kids which Olivia really enjoyed.
We went with new friends strawberry picking, flower watching, ice skating and even had a few BBQ and pool parties.
We connected with a few Facebook Houston homeschooling groups and joined activities such as camping, indoor skydiving and even a frog dissection.
Our time in Houston was also very productive in that we got all our health checkups done, completed some delayed maintenance on Rover such as finally fixing the toilet so it did not wobble.
Eventually the beautiful winter weather in Houston started heating up and we knew it was time for us to move along to escape the heat. Even with the temperature just in the mid 80’s it was pretty miserable due to the humidity. Olivia still wanted to have her birthday in Sacramento with her old friends so we are going to head west. After four months in Houston we were sad to leave since we had made many friends but it helped to look at it less as leaving new friends but going to meet old friends.