Heart of Campus, Green School

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Has anyone seen a brooding hen?

Has anyone seen a brooding hen?

Questions arising…merely based on things I have seen or heard around Green School over the past few weeks. One of the most wonderful things about being overseas: constant surprise at the discovery of the weird and unusual. There’s something invigorating about seeing and experiencing new things that play with your framework, both in the sense of questioning your own frame of reference as well as the hilarity of shaking it up with a completely new way of being.

For example, I have sat through a lot of staff meetings in the past in a variety of locations. Mostly they are what you’d expect: downloads of information to a group of people who need to be on the same page followed by a few clarifying questions and then we’re off to our versions of teaching & learning. In last week’s staff meeting, the Green Studies teacher asked if anyone had seen a brooding hen around campus. He then went on to explain WHY he needed a brooding hen: it was (of course) because the peacock had laid eggs and apparently it can’t handle more than one egg at a time (terrible things will occur that remain unknown to me) so we, as a staff, were asked to keep our eyes open for a brooding hen on campus who could, apparently, accept an extra egg into the nest until it successfully hatched into a peacock. I, of course, passed the question onto my 7th Graders and even dangled a carrot of house points to the 1st student to find a brooding hen on campus for the wayward peacock egg. If the transfer were to be successful, I can only imagine the surprise the hen might feel once the peacock egg hatches…

Weather-related question:
What did you do in your home last night when the flying termites arrived?
The rainy season is upon us and the storms are massive. Truly massive. Thunder, lightning, buckets of rain falling sometimes for hours on end. Last Monday night was one of the bigger ones (apparently). The river rose 8-10 feet in one night! Sadly, much of the evidence of the rising waters is in the garbage and debris piled high along the riverbanks. Yuck. Meanwhile, buckets of rain produce a monumental influx of critters. Into our home. While we’re trying to function. So many, in fact, that life just stops for a while and we crawl under the mosquito nets to wait it out in the dark. First the flying termites arrive, by the 1,000’s. Then the geckos (the really big ones) come down out of the thatched roof and start hunting them. Finally, the termites begin dying and armies of ants march in to carry their struggling remains away. The nutty thing is, one could actually sleep through a storm and never know this was occurring all around them. Luckily (?) we are awake and experiencing it all.

More important question: Does anyone know how to get more than one bottle of wine through customs?

Freaky questions: Have you ever seen a spider that big? Who had a motorbike accident today? Did you hear [insert name here] had a [insert disaster here]? Are there more mini disasters in Bali (or overseas in general) or are they just conversation pieces that produce anxiety because they don’t fit my general frame of reference? For example, hearing about snakes in people’s homes or gardens shakes me up…but Australians apparently deal with this all the time and I imagine they don’t deal with black widow spiders in the basement, coyotes mixing with their dogs on the trail and occasional cougar sightings in town. Do you get my drift? I’m working on taking in these stories and just lodging them into the Bali corner of my brain so that they don’t shock me so much – I’ll let you know how that’s going in a few more weeks.

Meanwhile, I have little to complain about and much to celebrate. The kids are thriving, Chad’s building bamboo bicycles on campus this week (need I say more about how he’s doing?!?) I have arrived at a place with my job that works for now and with the right attitude, Green School continues to amuse and surprise us. Our weekends are filled with fantastic experiences and we’re beginning to meet people outside of our mini-community of teachers. We love nothing more than being invited to one of Ethan or Zoe classmates homes for a swimming party because we can wallow in the cool waters while meeting interesting folks from all over the world who have, for various reasons, picked up and move to Bali, Indonesia. Meanwhile, our Xmas break tickets to New Zealand are burning a hole in our pocket – we leave in less than a month for a fun-filled three-week trip to see a large portion of Chad’s family and tour a bit of the S. Island. What could be better than Xmas in New Zealand? Maybe Xmas in New Zealand followed by January/February in Bali? I must admit, the Facebook photos of winter-wear aren’t making me terribly homesick right now, but there are moments.

Is it OK to attend a ceremony without proper ceremonial wear? Not really. Zoe and I went to great lengths to not offend the locals or the gods today. I think we did all right and we really enjoyed partially participating in our first ceremony. I say partially because the ceremony started about two hours late and Zoe was burning out as it was beginning, so we didn’t stay for the whole event. Next time…

The real question: what are we doing here???… This remains to be answered (it had been recently revisited after a painfully tumultuous day at work but the dust has settled once again). As for the brooding hen and the peacock egg, well, as we’re beginning to realize around Green School, it was a marvelous idea full of potential that fizzled out like an untied balloon…not enough follow through and too many balls being juggled by too few people to surprise that hen after all.

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