Liquid

Illusions in Norway.

World-schooling my boys was paused as the fjord slicked off, the pollen settled and the sea monster across the way surfaced.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge-Liquid

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World Wide Learning

Best reason given for being a bit late to class:

“I had to poop sideways.” Oakley tells us.

“What?” I say.

“The cat was laying down in front of the toilet.” he says.

Merlot, the cat, was not to be moved causing my son to sit sideways on the toilet for a poo.  Hence, pooping sideways.

Danish school day at the farm.

In our travels we are continually asked, mostly by Europeans, “How can you have the kids out of school for a year?”.  We have heard in other countries you would be fined or it would just not be allowed.

Let me point out that our boys attended Montessori school through third and first year.  They will go back into the same school without dropping a grade.  Montessori is a great system of learning that matches the boys really well.  They will be returning for year five and three.  My wife mentions more about this here.

I want to share my view of what school looks like with my boys using a few lists and photos.

 

Cambodia.

Campus Locations (thus far):

  • Hawaii
  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam 

    Ho Chi Minh City

  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Netherlands

Vietnam

 

My earlier cursive on this outline.

Learning Objectives:

  • Reading
  • Writing (including penmanship and cursive)
  • Math

The three Learning Objectives were recommended by their teachers before we left but more drop into our lap with ease due to what we are doing.  Geography, Languages, History, and Science are staring us in the face.  This is truly a magical learning experience for all.

Local currency is often used in math lessons.

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I chose to join in and relearn Cursive in order to teach it to the boys.  When the teacher joins with the class to show he or she is motivated to learn it’s like you’re on the same team.  Struggling along with the students really creates a learning bond through empathy.

This Belgium cafe classroom had many benefits.

Tools: 

  • Coffee. For me and the safety of others.
  • Patience (lots).  Nobody learns in anger.
  • Journal (2).  There is a lot going on, write it down.
  • Common Place Book (2). Used for research, drafts, notes, art, ect..
  • Workbooks for math and we were given a few for english and comprehension in Australia because the woman we housesitted for was a teacher.  (Thanks Deb!)
  • Writing utensils.  Push pencils and a sweet sharpener like the one in this photo.  Pens are messy.
  • Blackboards (3).  These are great.  They’re wet-erase and no bigger than a magazine.  I found them in Vietnam at a Costco like store by happenstance.  Using them really improved the focusing ability.
  • Computer with internet access.  Both teacher and students need to be able to research and do presentations.
  • Kindle (2).  Small and pretty tough,  these are beauti.  The boys’ reading ability has skyrocketed.  My wife mentions them here.
  • Recess.  Don’t forget this.  Attention spans are short and you can reach a fill to here point quickly when everything is constantly changing.  Kids (adults too) lose focus and need a break to wiggle, snack, run or wrestle.  Keep an eye out for information overload.

 

So far my experience worldschooling the boys has been very positive.  I have been able to use teaching techniques used for culinary students with the boys.  I’ve learned how each learns and how to bend a lesson and allow flexibility to get each to grasp the lesson.

Not your usual 2nd and 4th grade class photo.

I don’t think we want to be their teachers into highschool but I’m certainly glad to have had the privilege of being one of their teachers this year.  Just can’t beat this 1:1 student-teacher ratio.

Story

 

Connections this week between the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge and finding oneself in Odense, Denmark leads to a story-teller.

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World famous Hans Christian Andersen.

 

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The Ugly Duckling was written by H.C. Andersen

The Emperor’s New Clothes translated to Hindi

An impressive career as a writer mostly known for fairy tales.

Thanks for the prompt.

Rooftop

Looking up (and sometimes down).

Surfers Paradise, Australia tops:

Not many people seem to pay attention to what is above them.  I can be on a balcony and watch folks stroll by not knowing that I am up.

My family grew up bird watching.   If I catch a glimpse of a wing flap then I look for a nest or a perch.  Doing this and being in several storied buildings I’m able to catch a different perspective and learn a bit about rooftops around the world.

Look for the decoration and the occasional critter.  Pay attention to the materials, angles, lines, and construction.  I find it interesting.  I’ll note locations.

Bali tops:

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Lego Land & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia tops:

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Singapore tops:

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Vietnam top:

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Thailand tops:

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Bricks

img_7633-1Bricks: The building blocks of Southeast Asia.

Behind every layer of cement lies a layer of red-orange (aka brick-red).  It doesn’t matter if the building is purple or fluorescent green or both (Thailand), it’s still brick on the inside.DSC04423

Each new Air b-n-b includes a near by construction site allowing you to play such games as “Guess what time the crew will start tomorrow.”, “What tool makes that much noise?”, “I don’t think THAT is OSHA approved.”, and “Do you see any safety harnesses?”.

Down every street and in most driveways is a stack of bricks.  I watched a woman move an entire pallet sized pile from one side of the alley to the other.  It was a 1.5 meter move and I wondered if it actually needed to be done.  Maybe she was rearranging?DSC03536

Vietnam was where I really started to notice.  Da Nang was the clear winner in the brick pile competition.  I think it’s because of their drive to become the Singapore of Vietnam.  Every patch of land along what used to be called China Beach is being built up into high-rise condos or a hotel.

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Go Broncos!

Hue and Hanoi were doing well also.

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I guess not much attention to detail here.  some of the letters are up some down.  It really set me off.

We even passed the brick factory on our way to Halong Bay.  Passing by a small town on the left side I marveled at the field full of neatly stacked piles and pillars that looked like a miniature city scape.  A brick Hobbiton.

Some may say that SE Asia is built on bamboo and palm fronds and they certainly use a lot of each for almost everything.  I also know I get fixated on a subject and soon I’m seeing bricks everywhere.

I rest my case with My Son.

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The like new looking bricks are the originals.  The black and deteriorating are the modern rebuild.

Built of brick and tree sap between 400 AD and 1400 AD the building are still standing.  Located in the jungle of central Vietnam.  Worn by moisture, weather and war,  My Son is truly a marvel in construction to this day.  Bricks layered without cement.  Stacked and set to dry, the ancient construction is not holding the moisture.  This baking of the bricks is what makes them better than the ones used for reconstruction.

 

Sandals All Inclusive

THAT’S IT!
I’m giving these TEVAS two more weeks in Cambodia and then they are history!
This has been my only pair of sandals.  I’m not talking about brand loyalty here.  I’m saying that this pair of TEVAS has been with me longer than I have been working in restaurants.
My friend, Josh, had a pair in high school and swore by them.  They got a lot of work in the summers of Idaho.  Waterski trips and anytime there was a lake involved they were out.  I remember wearing them while cliff jumping around Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
Sandals have come along way since 1991or 92.  More padding, leather, buckles, and what not.  I still enjoy the classic.  My straps are maxed out and I fight to get them on after my feet have swelled a bit (I’ve notice that quite a bit on the trip).
Twenty seven years!  You have got to be kidding me.  That is over half of my life!
I actually looked into new sandals before leaving on this around the world trip but couldn’t justify the expense for something I had already.  I figured I would bury them along the way.  I have confidence they will survive the next nine days.
I’ll admit this is another bizarre topic to write about.  Think of it as a love letter, a goodbye note.  Think what you will….It’s not you, it’s me.  that is why I’ve leaving.
My Native sunglasses decided to leave me in Vietnam after a fifteen plus year relationship. I even received a full replacement by the company upon request because I couldn’t see through my best lens about 3 years ago.  The glassed were around one hundred US$ and came recommended by a my sherpa friend Mingma.
Sad to see them go.
Money well spent in both cases.

Time & Space

Writing from the confines of a four bunk cabin rumbling along the tracks of the Vietnam Railway I have decided to expand minds by explaining SPACE.  You may be thinking “What does Gurr know about space?” or ” When has he had time to learn such a vast subject enough to explain it as if he’s Carl Segan?”.  Well to tell the truth, I don’t really know shit about space.

DSC04552My brother, Casey, knows a lot more that I do so maybe you want to ask him to explain that kind of space.  Man, I haven’t even seen stars for the past three weeks.  We have been in big cities giving off light pollution.

I’m talking about space in the sense of your whereabouts and places you find yourself in around the world.

Ok, all aboard! Like I said we are on the train.  A journey that is expected to be about eighteen hours.

We are seven hours into it.  The space is just as you would expect from on of the James Bond movie chase sceans.  A sliding door that won’t stay open and might stay closed,  a tiny table and four beds thirty inches wide, exactly (trust me, I have worked in metro shelving and kitchen countertops for years.).  After our $1.50 per person hot meal we started to enjoy the company of small cockroaches and a little mouse. And don’t forget the neighboring young boy that keeps peering through the window at us.  All these guests have my wife and two boys sleeping up in the top bunks leaving me to patrol the ground level.

We are fascinating to the locals. The boys because they are young and white,  with me getting a lot of looks due to my beard.  It’s all about location though. If you hang out in the area of Ho Chi Minh City where the westerners are then you just get pressured to buy sunglasses, lighters, cigarettes, fans and such. You don’t get the flat out stare in the face, the look to the boys from the women, old and young, who just smile and maybe reach out for a touch of such a rare creature. Oakley was having none of that.  Canyon on the other hand just gave them a smile back and went on with his business.

As I report on various spaces I have been in I want you to think of where you are. What is your space?

Australia is huge. You can’t go for a visit thinking you’ll be able to see all the sights unless you have about a year.

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This is the poster the car rental company had up in the office.  A subtle way of saying “Have fun exploring Bulgaria.”

We would bring up a map planning the nine days we have between housesits in Gold Coast and Brisbane.  We started pointing out places of interest and dreaming of a grand tour of the coast around Fraser Island and up into The Great Barrier Reef.

Caravan here we come!  We thought we would be able to zip here and there. The fact is the map isn’t to scale.  It couldn’t be.  Maybe it’s the Kilometer that throws you off? Anyway we quickly changed to a smaller area of interest after traveling for a few days with three and six hour dives only to be able to explore the destination before sleeping and zipping (we were right about that part) to the next location the following morning.

My recommendation is to plan on staying somewhere for two nights at the least.  The night you arrive after the drive and another night so you’re able to enjoy the area.

Our caravan tested our patience a few times being a bit tight and having to transform it from drive mode to sleep mode to eat mode.

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The Boys up top doing a bit of reading.

We got pretty fast at it and I’m pretty sure I broke a Queenslander record on the last two days as I set it up for drive mode.

Bali is small.  With so many tourist pics of empty white sand beaches and vast rice terraces there is an expectation of room to move.  I think it’s a toss up.

Arriving at the airport and walking through what seemed to be the largest banquet hall I’ve seen.  The ceiling was at least 3 stories up.  It was as if we were in a football stadium all alone.  Stepping outside you are swarmed by taxi drivers making sure you have a ride somewhere.  If you make it by the cabbies then the next challenge is the roads full of scooters driving fast and close on narrow roads.  I mean really close.  I could have trimmed riders fingernails while waiting for a green light.

“I’ll just walk over to the market.” you say, because you’re not crazy enough to rent a car or bike.  This thought is met by the lack of sidewalks and or giant unmarked holes in the sidewalks.

Bali ended with an amazing stay in an Airbnb near Gianyar that was what I imagine staying on a plantation in the south is like.  Each room was basically it’s own house.

The space had a ping pong table room, pool with a cabana, stand alone kitchen, upstairs balcony, and more.  It was huge.  So big that Oakley was nervous about sleeping such a distance away from us and we had to yell to let each other know where we were.  I made a quick outing to the jimbaran fish market.  It had a low ceiling and was quite the stimuli to the senses.  I’ll cover that in more detail in another post.

Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) is tight, not small, but just close quarters.  From where we were it took a few days to find a patch of grass.

Houses seem to have a storefront included.  lots of narrow houses combined with narrow roads and then add in twice or three times as many scooters as Bali and you get really tight.

Around eleven million people live in HCMC according to the guide on our Cu Chi tunnel excursion.  He also mentioned there were seven million motorbikes in the city and forty-seven million in all of Vietnam.  Over half of the population of a country has a scooter.  That’s almost twice as many scooters in Ho Chi Minh City  than people in Oregon!  Tight might not be the word for it, Jammed is better.  Don’t forget it’s not stopped as in a traffic jam, it’s ALL moving.