Saturday, June 28, 2008

Christmas in June.

This is what it looks like when everything that you asked Santa for is delivered to your door in one giant chunk in June.

The materials are beautiful and sturdy and, with a few exceptions, all here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Splendid Season.

We had the first torrential rain storm in Aruba yesterday. Substantial enough to suspend activity and make me take shelter and pause to admire the bounty that the rain is encouraging in our garden.

I had been dreaming of this kind of abundance ever since I moved here from Costa Rica.

Super huge pomelos that mercilessly bend down the tree boughs to the ground.

Tamarindos galore on the branches, ready to be made into delicious murky juice.

Our first papaya! (It is begging for me to erradicate the aphids that have comfortably settled on the plant.)

Tangelos. Never had one, but I'm looking forward to trying it!

This fusillade of shimarukus materialized in about 2 days. It will be a fierce competition to get to them before the birds and iguanas do once they are advertising themselves with bright red. Supposedly, once ripe, just a handful of these berries has enough vitamin C to keep you sick-free until the next season.

The mango and lime trees are blossoming. Come ye bees!

And nestled in the bouganvillea at the entrance of our classroom, bananaquits have decided to start a family. The nest is very fluffy, and put together with all sorts of construction debris.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The school's character is beginning to show.

Our garden is taking shape. Sinewy coral paths and curvy granite trails:

The hallways are following the trend as well:

Thursday, June 19, 2008


It was no meager errand to comb the entire Broward county collecting and delivering what is to be "the guts" of our school. It was accomplished in due time and without major stress with grateful thanks to the friend and pilot, Ken, who didn't once complain about how his unskilled sidekick (yours truly) apparently suffers from some sort of highway dyslexia (I-75, I-95, 826, 836, Turnpike, and 896- they all look exactly the same to me.)

The spoils, ready to be shipped including most of the Montessori materials, our classroom tables and chairs, books, and lots of other things I can't remember right now:

I will take this opportunity to give a shout out to anyone who simply LOVES to put together IKEA furniture and will be available next weekend. Call me!

Before sending off the boxes, make sure to heed the warning label- it's not a good alternative even though it might be cheaper than purchasing a seat on American Airlines.

All that truckin' deserved another good meal out, Japanese style at Matsuri.

Since we were so expeditious in getting the mission accomplished, there was time to visit the Fairchild Botanical Gardens. These pictures prove that not all of Miami has been turned into a parking lot yet.

Ominous clouds in the lily pool.

This passion flower was as big around as a dinner plate.

I learned that Baobab trees don't have age rings because their bark absorbs so much water it becomes spongy.

Fern displaying "golden ratio":

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quality Control- Miami

I arrived in Miami this morning to begin my 2 day quality control post concerning our materials and furniture (which is yet to be gotten: that is tomorrow's adventure). Lo and behold the wonderful sight of myriads of boxes full of our school materials! (I couldn't back up enough out of the door to take a picture that would include the other boxes stacked up high against the other wall.) In my life, today was Christmas.

To top off the fun time (really, it was fun) cross checking orders and shipments, my friend Ken and I had dinner at Izakaya- the Japanese restaurant down the street. Plain looking but super yummy- grilled rainbow trout with green onions, chili paste and ponzu sauce:

And for dessert, a big steamy glob of hot mochi with red bean filling. This was a new experience for me. Hot mochi. Extra sticky. Super mochiy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Working the phones.

As opposed to most people, I am relishing doing the office work in the actual school office instead of at home. Having established one room of the school will surely (it must) accelerate the process in the rest of the house.

Our materials are in Miami, as is the bulk of the children's furniture (except our lovely shelves, which were home made). I will go meet them next week and make sure they come to us safely and in best condition. Once it is here, the heart (staff) and soul (the materials) of the school will be ready to function in unison- like some kind of great Montessori creature! Then we'll welcome all of you to our Open House!

PS. The sailboats mobile was originally intended for the classroom, but it brings me such nice memories of Maine that I've decided to keep it next to me while I work.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mini Orchard.

Our school yard is slowly transforming into a garden.

This is the "big" (someday) ficus in the middle of the play area under which our sandbox will go.

On the side of the school we now have fruit trees and many of them are already bearing fruit (grapefruits, tangelos, lemons, mangos)! I went to every nursery on the island and carefully chose each tree that we were going to put into the ground. I can't wait for the rainy season to hit these puppies! For now, we do ok with the drip system.

I put some spider lily's in the pots and tomorrow will begin our herb garden as we continue with the landscaping work.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Home again.

It's good to be home.

Wooden Boat School in Maine was certainly spring for my mind. I met so many interesting people there from all walks of life, gleaned plenty of valuable lessons from observing at Peninsula Montessori, gathered loads of great books for our school, learned some things about sailing, made friends with a dog, and spent some time in the pristine nature of Brooklin. I'd have the pictorial evidence of all this hadn't I fumbled with our camera when disembarking a small wooden boat accidentally causing it to take a nosedive into the middle of the harbor's murky waters.

Edit: Apparently a Canadian and other intrepid fellow at Wooden Boat boldly braved the frigid waters of the waterfront and found the camera today! And I've been told that the camera chip still works and will be mailed to Aruba! Will surely post pictures when the camera arrives. The real miracle will be for the package to triumph over the island's post system...

Friday, June 6, 2008

News from the school front.

As I type this, back at home at our own gardens at Beautiful Sun Montessori School are undergoing a major face-lift. The yards are being prepped for some serious planting to be occurring on the weekend and beginning of the week. Grapefruit, lime, Surinam cherry, papaya, Valencia orange, mango and banana trees will be in our yard not long from now!

On the flight to Maine I managed to snap this home-made Google Earth shot of our school. Quite shabby I'd say...

Montessori and Boatbuilding in Maine

This past week I've been staying at the Hogwarts of wooden boatbuilding, aptly titled the "Wooden Boat School". This iconic school is in Brooklin, Maine- the "wooden boatbuilding capital of the world".

Yair is taking a boatbuilding class with master teachers and I came to learn how to sail small wooden vessels in the calm cold waters of Maine, among other things.

Aside from wooden boat builders, guess what else is in Brooklin, Maine...

The Peninsula Montessori School! I discovered this sweet little school on our drive up to Brooklin and it's where I've ended up spending most of the week. The staff welcomed me like family into their community even though it is their last week of classes and it has been a gift to spend these days with them. Their beautiful environment is brimming with wildlife- they have tadpoles, and parakeets, and little wrens, and children- and lots of beautiful materials. Thank you Elsa, Annie, Katie, and Deb for having me with you!

Here is more of Maine's dangerous wildlife: (don't worry, I tamed these bad boys with lemon and melted butter)

Do people from Maine call themselves "Mainiacs"?