Thursday, May 29, 2008

Aruba Today, today.

Our first official advertisement slash article was published today in one of Aruba's English newspapers, the "Aruba Today." Super fancy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Small Achievements.

There are days like today, where it feels like the day has been spent predominantly driving across the island doing things related to floor sealants and experiencing abbreviated patience with my own (or others) shortcomings. At the end of the day, I welcome a reminder of my intention to enjoy this process of creation, every arduous element of this learning process. And even in a day of mostly mindless errands gone wrong and lots of car exhaust in the ether there are small achievements worth celebrating.

Today I put up the blinds in my office (I had to do it 3 times before it came out right.)
And I installed our school mailbox.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eyes open!

Be on the lookout for a little article about our school to be published in "The News", "Amigoe", and "Aruba Today".

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Time for landscaping!

As the school building reaches infrastructural maturation and we're this close, THIS CLOSE, to being ready to move in (Monday? Tuesday?). My attention has moved to the outdoors.

The house was a little wild jungle when we first laid our eyes on it. We were in the midst of an unusually rainy season in Aruba then. The growth had been allowed to prosper for something like 10 years disturbed only by the occasional empty beer can being flung from defecting De Palm Island passer-byes. There was wild grass and lots of crazy contorted shrubbery, a bougainvillea that had busted through the ceiling and was growing onto the roof, iguanas and birds galore. I had a vision originally to preserve the wildness untouched except for the positively hazardous thorny acacias, the stinging nettle bushes, and the other injurious plant life.

Construction and summer certainly exert their toll on the landscape and the wilderness that was no longer is. So now we turn our minds towards transforming the landscape into a new wilderness.

In terms of the landscaping I am leaning largely toward a natural elements playground. Giant plastic structures don't fit the bill exactly. We want lots of quiet shady spots to sit under, natural objects for moving, climbing, and balancing, and areas for planting and tending to plants. We're segmenting our large yard into areas and half of the yard is destined to become a fruit tree orchard.

I have researched and come up with some indispensable items that we will certainly include in our design such as:

A tire swing.
Check out this clever tire swing modification, perfect for 2-3 year olds!

Rope Swing for swinging ecologically.

Sandbox under a shady tree for sensory experience- and digging, and forming, and building, and experimenting.

Raised beds for planting, and watering, and hopefully one day harvesting.

A Crocodile bench made out of driftwood for sitting and balancing. (This is a project for Yair.)

Boulders and stumps for balancing, climbing, and sitting.

A little tiny Japanese style garden with gravel and boulders for raking, and observing, and enjoying! I must say, Aruban boulders lend themselves perfectly for this project!

This most ambitious garden adventure will be the focus of our work for these weeks to come. Also, the Montessori materials are arriving sometime next week. That's also a focus.... :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brand Spankin New School Logo

Proudly bearing my scorched retinas as battle scars (I beat the computer screen!), I've managed to wrestle a unanimous decision about the school logo out of the public (thank you family and friends).

Monday, May 19, 2008

The eggs are quiet.

A little inca dove has found a home in the vines at our house and has built a very environmentally friendly nest. Notice the plastic wrap lining and waterproofing the bottom of the nest?

Almost ready to move into.

With the fresh coat of terracotta tiles lining our floors, it's getting near time to move into the school. Maybe Thursday, maybe Friday... The materials have been shipped from Canada and will be arriving in the next to weeks. The shelves keep floating around the house in anticipation, waiting to arrive at their final placement. All of these developments reminds me of videos run in reverse where smashed shards of broken things fly backwards into place and become a whole once again. I feel that things are flying into place and the school is becoming whole.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Aruba spring.

May in Aruba is all about blue. It is windy enough that my papers get blown off of the dining room table, but not enough that the salt spray hazes the sky up. It is sunny in that way that blinds you when you walk out doors. There is a glow about things because they've soaked up so much light during the day, that they give it off in the evening.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

P.S. Thank you editors.

Thank you to all those educated and meticulous folks out who have sent grammar edits related to the new school website. www.

Red Feet.

Transforming an old Arubian house into a Montessori school is quite a task. As much as I have attempted to preserve ye old house because of its innate charm and old fashioned coziness, some painful sacrifices have had to be made. As of yesterday we're saying goodbye to the original salt and pepper/vanilla mint tiles that graced the floors. The job to restore them was, according to the professional strength Arubian tile cleaning crew, "e ta impossible" (requires no translation). We are replacing them with classic red terracotta tiles. Red floors remind me of being six years old and having red stained feet soles after playing on our porch after it had recently been waxed. I also remember my brother and sister and I would dare each other to taste the wax which looked surprisingly like mashed papaya.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Room full of dainty shelves.

Don Roberto finished the shelves and we brought them to the school yesterday afternoon. Two pickup loads worth of gorgeous cedar shelves. I snapped a little portrait of them corralled up in the school office while Yair herded the rest of them out of the truck and into their new home. Thanks again to all the folks who heeded my panic emails and sent measurements while I was in Sweden double guessing myself about shelf measurements. As far as I know, they look just right.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Website

We now have an official school website! I built it from scratch with the help of Yahoo software (I was going to type "evil Yahoo", but so far it's worked out well). I am very proud of myself for pulling off this technological stunt.

Here it is!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back Home.

It feels so good to be back home especially with this tropic depression that makes the water so still.

In contrast to the calm waters, there is loads of work to do at the school site. I was very pleasantly surprised with how much has changed since I left in March. With the Assistants to Infancy course completed and eating my dust, I can now immerse myself, mono-project style, in the school.

The electricity is being installed, still today.

As the top parts of the school get polished and finished, we are now trying to figure out what to do with the floors.

The kitchen cabinets are being built. The color of the kitchen is called "King Kamehameha Green".

This is the outside view of the kitchen.

We had a sink installed on the porch, where most of the practical life area exercises will take place.

This is the view of the porch/lunch area from inside the classroom.

I'm thinking of repaving the sidewalks and creating a tricycle path in the garden.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Skol to spring.

It has been a long winter. A winter of challenges involving teeth and stomach and other body parts. Of grinding my bottom in a chair for 250 hours of observation. Of re-organizing, re-typing, and re-printing Assistants to Infancy coursework (the sound of the printer now Pavolvs me into an immediate calm stupor). A winter in snow, wind, and rain.

But today, in Sweden, we officially welcome the Spring!

Last night in the company of the sum of the Varbergian villagers, we assisted their pagan ritual of setting a giant mountain of organic debris alight. Instead of burning witches, we intended to burn our recycling paper. In my case, a composite of lecture notes, correction post-its, used up tissues, and medication packaging. In the haste of departure, I forgot my bag at home, alas. So our little motley crew stood by the giant fire's edge, breathing the downwind smoke, watching the blazing rubble and solemnly welcoming the warmth.

The end of the Swedish road (more like a bike path).

Ginni Sackett says that "perfect" means "complete". In that case, here are my Assistants to Infancy albums color coded and perfect. Aside from taking the exams, presenting these puppies and having them approved by the trainer and examiner essentially marks the end of the course for me here in Sweden.

Like a rabid sucking vortex this trip is coming to an end and I am frantically gathering my last impressions of Spring, and kebabs, and fog horns and all of those wonderful things that are not part of my life in Aruba.