I could thank my high school for my wardrobe. I have always liked looking like a Norfolk Collegiate graduate. You can take the girl out of NCS, but I guess you can't take the NCS out of the girl.
Armed for my return to work in Japan, I am currently enjoying drinking wine, reading books (finished Sedaris and have moved on to A Thousand Suns by Husseini), and dealing with the aforementioned puberty of my nephew. We all have been dealing with it in fact. Poor boy is the topic of much discussion, although he has scarcely said a word. I think it has just brought up, for all of us, what it was like when we were 13. The men and women of the house are divided, though I think Hiro's advice, sent via email, was sweet and I feel is worth sharing (thanks, Honey!).
"Just try and talk and most of the time listen carefully what girls are talking about. Because having interest in others is a very important skill for living your life."
This is in sharp contrast to what one of my 4th graders wrote on a survey I passed out to my students during my research, "Boys' opinions are more important than girls' opinions."
So being all a buzz with talk and wine, good food, and some of the best company- family, my sister-in-law and I are forming a team. She is acutely feeling how terribly out numbered she usually is. She has 2 boys and her hubby, my other brother, and my father, who often comes to visit, sometimes with my little brother. All she has usually is the dog, Lila. She said, "Finally, someone who doesn't look at me like I have 4 eyes" when she says, well, anything.
Our hikes and late night talks have been like therapy and are just as I imagined them as a child. Being 11 years younger than the youngest brother (they were 11, 12, 16, and 17 when I was born) was torture as a kid. My brothers seemed so cool, with their pretty girlfriends, ability to drive, big person talk, opinions, and bellowing laughter. I could not only wait to be older, but for me older meant gaining membership into a part of my family. Now, as a full member, I'd like it to be acknowledged that the group is just better off. I mean, who can't agree that a girl's opinion is just as important as any boys'- especially when helping a 13 year old pubescent boy figure out 13 year old puberty struck girls!