I was very touched by that message because it reminds me of how I felt when I first moved to England but I was also very pleased that Charlie had told me his worries and I really hope it means that I can help.

Going to a new school can be a little bit scary but sometimes the scariest thing is not the new place you are going to but what you are leaving behind.  When I moved to England I was excited about moving to a new country, a peaceful place where my family would be safe and happier.  I was excited about being in a new city, speaking a new language but I was also very sad to leave my friends and my family behind.  I did not know what awaited me and because I loved being with my friends so much I just could not imagine not seeing them every day, walking to school together, eating lunch together, hanging out together at each other's houses after school. But one thing that made me feel much better was the thought that even if I was not there, everything would go on the same without me, my friends would sit in lessons, listen to the teacher, or not, eat lunch in the cafeteria, talk about boys, dance together after school.  Life would continue without me and that would mean that if I ever came back things would still be the same. The people would be the same and this is the thing that really kept me going. That, and keeping in touch.

My friends and I wrote lots of letters to each other and when we couldn't we knew we would be in touch again soon. We also made a promise to each other that the next time we met up again, we had to talk to each other as though we had just seen each other the day before. With my best friend we decided to play a game of checkers that would last as long as we did not live in the same city together. So every time we see each other we play a move and then we leave the game, unfinished remembering what our last moves were so when we see each other again we can play the same game.

It means our lives are always connected but really it does not matter how far away you are from someone, as long as you think of it this way, no matter how far away they are, they are always in your heart and mind. And when I moved to England, it was tough at first but slowly and surely I made some really good and lovely friends and if I had to leave them now, I would be sad but I'd know they are here, in my heart, in my mind and we will always be friends. 

So, dear Charlie and dear all the rest of you who are starting at new schools my advice is this: keep in touch with your friends, see if you can arrange to meet up once a week at one of your houses or speak on the phone at the same time every week.  Remember if you've got such good friends it means you are a good friend too and if you've been a good friend just once, it means you are already an expert.  Just remember there will be even more new friends and great people waiting to meet you and become your friends at your new school!  Have a lovely new school year!  Love Ahmeti.