Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Fence is Almost Done!

While I am MIA in Europe finishing my Assistants to Infancy course, one of my little spies dropped by the school building in Aruba and sent me these infraganti shots of the school's brand-spanking new fence. Admire it from several angles!

Friday, March 21, 2008

ukranian borsch.

Few are the lucky who get to room with an authentic Ukranian willing to whip up a 15 Liter pot of borsch so that no on else in the house will have to cook for 5 days. Extra lucky are those who get to partake of the borsch while it snows outside their chipper little Swedish home, while watching people's hats and scarves get blasted off outside the window.

Rule #1 for making the borsch: don't mistake your hand for beet.

Quick version recipe of Nelya's Authentic Purple Water with Vegetables (Borsch):
From what I gathered while I watched:

16 large potatoes- diced
8 large beets- 6 diced, 2 grated
2 large onions- chopped
8 carrots- 6 sliced in strips (is that called julienned?), 2 grated
1 large cabbage- same as with carrots
2 cloves of garlic- pressed
lots of chicken stock- 3 bullion cubes

In a colossal pot start to boil the un-grated beets, carrots, onion, potatoes and chicken stock/bullion water.
Fry up with butter in the biggest pan you've got one of the onions, the grated carrots and beets.
When the stuff in the pot has been boiling a really long time, add the fried stuff. Later add the cabbage.
Almost at the end, add the garlic and some salt.

Serve with sour cream.
Makes 15 Liters.

Monday, March 17, 2008

P.S. Update on Last Thursday.

Even though they kept me waiting for 2.5 hours in a Siberian style conference room (where I had to capitalize on Survivor-like skills and garner warmth from a screen projector), at lunch time when all other signs of life had evacuated the building for the pastechi hut outside, I managed to rock the socks off of the Minister of Education with my little Montessori School project presentation. We got all green lights from her, including the equivalent of a "Get Out of Jail Free" card in the shape of her personal email and phone number.
The school takes one giant step forward.

Blog goes to Sweden.

After a mainly uneventful but arduously long trek involving airplanes, buses, trains, and cars I made it back to Varberg unscathed but severely jet lagged. To combat the restless leg syndrome I went for a nice run yesterday afternoon in the fair 10 degree weather expecting it to be the coldest weather we'd get during the next 6 weeks. The trees are budding, the daffodils blooming, the cars chainless. The Swedes have broken out their shorts and roam the expansive sidewalks sock free.
That was yesterday.

This morning, when I woke up, whoa is the Swedes, because Varberg was coated in 1 foot solid snow. Whoa is also me because I have pictorical evidence of this but no cable to marry with my camera. (Along with more and more items I realized I forgot in hasty 2-hours-before-departure packing. Most painful the realization of the missing Skype headset.) I almost got to experience biking to school through snow, but Denise insisted we take the car. No one argued. The Varbergians though, carry on for richer or poorer on their bikes making tracks through the thick thick snow.

(Since I have no cable for the camera, I snagged someone else's pictures. They may or may not have anything to do with Sweden, Varberg, or my life at all.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Slowly, surely.

The building continues the slow process of conversion from forsaken-dilapidation to fabulous-to-be-alma-mater. In the hands of mostly one and a half able construction dudes occasionally inspired by the JW Red Label that is "hidden" in the attic, the work proceeds at a "gentle" pace. I remain unfazed (for now) because there is still Sweden Round 2 to accomplish before the real work can get started.

Left side and right side respectively:
(right side plus the lumber for the construction of the fence to ward off the friendly neighbor's pit bulls)

Fortuitously, I landed a meeting with the Aruban Minister of Education for Thursday. We will establish an open and friendly relationship with the local Education authorities!

On the materials front, I have investigated and compared among several of the sparse Montessori materials companies and have decided to wade the enigmatic waters of "Montessori Outlet" products. Apparently the head of prestigious Nienhuis is collaborating with them to produce premium quality materials ("at an outlet price."). I guess we'll just have to see about that.

I love bouganvilleas- they can overcome the contstant rain of construction rubble and leftover lunch debris and constantly explode in flower.