Heart of Campus, Green School

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Year in Review (otherwise known as Report Card Avoidance)

Somehow a short respite from this blog lapsed into a 6-month hiatus. Not sure why, in retrospect. I think it was a mix of visitors, holidays, illnesses, work, exhaustion, and also getting into the rhythm of life here enough that it didn’t feel terribly extraordinary anymore. There’s less to write about when things aren’t new. But then I stop and remember we’re at Green School in Bali, a complete micro-sub-culture of weirdness in the jungle and I realize I have a lot to share. I find myself walking home from work, chuckling as I narrate yet another bizarro incident from the day in my head…then the struggle commences – do I tell the tall tale or do I remain a diplomatic ambassador of my workplace with more of a mums the word approach? At this point I suppose it is better to simply keep quiet. Suffice it to say we attract a lot of very alternative-minded people here and incredibly unbelievable things happen on a daily basis. Some parents go so far as to explain every extraordinary event (aka: misbehavior in class) as a repercussion of the nuclear disaster in Japan. How does one work with that? That’s part of the excitement and chaos of this place. Green School attracts all types. Some are overachievers who want Green School on their kid’s resume, meaning we are meant to supply their child with the rigorous academic challenges they might receive at a prestigious private school in Washington DC alongside kids who have been home schooled for so many years or in the Waldorf system for so long that they are master woodcarvers, painters and musicians who struggle to grasp the basics of reading and writing. The highs and lows are still extreme. It is part of the overseas crack experience. Of course the car was breaking down on the way to the hospital to check up on Chad in the throes of Dengue. When else would we have car trouble? This year has been about a lot of different things – facing and overcoming anxiety, adjusting, thriving, questioning, seeking, listening, waiting and all the other –ings we have been experiencing in the jungle. We had a coming to Jesus, we met our El Guapo, we wrestled demons over what to do as a family of four. We realized in many ways that Bali is not exactly our place. Most expats around Ubud fall into the category of extreme alternative living. The raw food movement, full colonic centers and yogi life coaches abound. It often feels over the top as we compare our version of 'normal' to their version of alternative. On the whole, though, we have benefitted here. We have slowed down as a family, creating time to be together without a lot of distractions every day and we have strengthened our little family unit of four. We have all had to live outside our comfort zones and we have grown and changed for the better (I think). (I’m sure my 3-yr-old will thank me for this experience someday!) More importantly, Chad and I have both rediscovered passions outside of teaching that could reinvigorate us at a time when schools seem to be in such peril. This experience is, after all, a working holiday at hippie summer camp. (This has been my survival mantra from the beginning!) Yet we are committed (with a team of amazing teachers) with a focused purpose to transform this hippie summer camp into a more legitimate school. One year in, there is still much work to be done but the progress is visible. So, demons aside, bamboo house a thing of the past, we have our sights set on the horizon of summer vacation 2012 with much excitement while at the same time we are feeling positive about our imminent return to Green School for next year’s wild ride. Hope to see most of you stateside over the next few weeks or in Bali during the next school year!

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