Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Surviving Summer Vacation

I want to see a new Survivor called Survivor "Summer Break". I would love to see all those models, and athletes, and acting wannabes handle three months with five children (plus all the neighbor kids who seem to have moved in). To make it even more of a challenge we have decided to cut back on expenses and have only one vehicle which my husband uses to go to work (no I am not going to wake the natives up at 5am every morning to take him).
We are currently on week 3 I believe, it's getting harder and harder to keep track of the days. I have trained the natives that the television is not a magical device that has to be on 24 hours a day or it will turn them into flying pigs. I have also debunked their belief that video games and computers are a holy grail that must be worshipped at all times. Their diet has also shown some improvement, now consisting of at least on item at each meal that is grown out of the ground and not in some machine.
There have been a lot of customary dialect that I have come to fear, such as, "I'm Bored", "There's Nothing to Do." and "Mom, He (or She)....." I have learned to come back with the equally terrifying replies of "I can find something for you to do", "If you are bored go grab a book", and "If I have to come in there....". Their English is improving so it is beginning to sound like actual words and not just crazed screams. Their vocabulary has had new words added to it such as, "Please, Thank you, Excuse Me, and I'm Sorry."
However there are a few activities I have found useful in trying to relate to these natives. In attempting to get them used to the Outdoors, I have found these colored sticks called chalk. Together we draw pictures of each other on the cement, and experiment with different clothing designs. This is an activity that the natives especially enjoy doing together. Setting up an obstacle course with balls, bikes, ropes, and anything I can locate on their territory allows me to test their physical abilities.
During the three months I spend full time with the natives it is important that I ensure they continue to grow and expand on their education. Trying to get the natives to explore the printed material I have obtained has proven difficult. I have developed some techniques that ensure they will learn and be entertained. During the warmer days I have started a method that allows them to use their natural instincts and their own weapons of water balloons. Each native chooses their own shelter and stands behind it with a bowl of water balloons. I have my own shelter and take turns asking each native a question that falls within their age range and knowledge level. If they get it right they get to throw a water balloon at my shelter, and if they get it wrong I get to throw a balloon at their shelter. This is not a game about winning or losing just about having fun.
The game seems to keep the natives pleased for now, but the next challenge comes from trying to keep their hunger in check.