For YIS parent, Sophie Brown, Food Fair was her first introduction to YIS and her first impression still remains: community and fun. As Sophie explains, "we arrived to Japan the week before the YIS Food Fair two years ago. I knew about it before we got here because I was looking at the school website, and I thought, what a great opportunity to go see the school and to introduce the kids to the school. So we really started YIS with the Food Fair."
Although Japan is their first overseas posting as a family, Sophie has always embraced a wider worldview. "Many people had warned me about the roller coaster ups and downs of international postings, but for me it's really been a lot of pluses. I've always wanted to live abroad, so there's not too many minuses." Both Sophie and her husband were ready for international life. Sophie traveled widely as a young adult through Australia and the United States, living briefly in France to work at a ski resort. Her husband, Calum, was an expatriate himself, growing up in Malaysia and briefly attending international school before entering boarding school in Scotland.
The benefits of living outside your home country are clear to Sophie for their children, Hettie, in the ELC, and Noah, in grade 2. "The children get the opportunity to see the world as a bit of a smaller place. I like the attitude we've shared with our kids, that it doesn't worry you to take a job overseas, that it's quite natural to live outside your home country. Even if it's only a couple years of living abroad, they have this opened view of the world in their heads."
In moving to Japan, Sophie left her work with internal communications at Warwickshire Council, her local government offices in Warwick, England. Considering the timing of their move, volunteering for Food Fair was natural. "It opened up my world when I got here. Just the idea of getting involved a bit more and having a purpose for my day, something where I could give a bit back to this community. Doing it again this year, I think I would have been a bit lost if I didn't; even with all the busy hours, there's such a great community around being a part of the Food Fair team."
Sophie encourages other parents to join the team. "The job is a lot more fun, the more people who are a part of it, and then the workload is lighter for everyone. We've really had a great response this year, a positive buzz around the school at the moment where parents do want to get involved, and Food Fair is such a good starting point. None of us know if we're going to be here or not, year to year; that's the nature of the beast, really, with international postings. But that's why it's so important to have many volunteers, so that for every aspect of Food Fair, from the carnival to the food stalls, more people will gain that bit of experience. For each following year, we can build on that experience. We can roll with it and enjoy it, because Food Fair is ultimately about fun for our community."