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I posted this blog a few weeks ago at Pink Magazine Online, but I thought my audience here would also like to read it...

The school year here in Stuttgart is fast winding down. My son will graduate from elementary school on July 29, and next year he’ll start Gymnasium (which is the last 8 years of school here, sort of a combined middle- & high school). This past weekend we went to our last School Festival and it was bittersweet for me and my husband but not for our son who spent the time with his friends rolling his eyes at me when I told him “I had four great years here.” He said, “You didn’t even go here Mama.” But it feels like I did and I'm sure many parents feel the same way about their children's schools.

The school festival here is like most elementary school festivals I went to when I was at school in the US. There was a bake sale, tug-of-war game, speech by the principal (the kids were all running around having fun – just the parents listened to this), parade of first graders who sang and waved paper flowers, and an exhibit of all the art made by the children throughout the school year.

My husband was assigned to work at the grill (hotdogs for sale – 2.50E each), and I spent time talking with my son’s beloved first teacher here and we both marveled at how fast the past four years have gone. We met her on our first day in Stuttgart, when we stopped by the school to pick up the school supplies list, and here we are moving on to another school preparing to say goodbye to her.

Thinking about this makes my eyes fill with tears, so I’ll stop talking about it and move on to later that day. After the school festival we were invited to watch the Stuttgart Lichterfest (Light Festival) with friends who have a house bordering the park where the fireworks take place. There we had a lovely evening – barbecue on the balcony, kids running around, interesting company (these friends are Norwegian-German and had invited guests from Norway, South Africa, Germany and us – I’m American and my husband is Austrian). One particular guest was a designer who worked on the Ice Hotel in Sweden and we were excited to tell him we spent a weekend there this past April.

Then, near midnight, we walked home through the throngs of people leaving the Light Festival and my son said, “Isn’t midnight when scary things are supposed to happen?” and I thought no, all time is scary because it’s moving so fast.