Living in a house without internet tends to do things to your blog post frequency.

It's been a happy week. I picked up Sebastian at the airport on Wednesday night and we drove down to Matt and Carrie's new place the next day. We're doing curriculum design for the craft of electronics which will run at Berea College in the fall, and Matt and Jan (his chair) and Danny (Berea student) have been fun to work with and to get to know, and the town is small and full of craft shops, and the woodwork is amazing; I've never seen such beautifully carved pushsticks for the bandsaw. This is a place where vent plugs are turned on a lathe and hand-carved with the college logo. Holy cow.

The Jaduds live in a house right by the college; they arrived at their new house exactly 3 days before we did, so everything is slowly being unpacked, and (as previously mentioned) internet is nonexistent. But we've seen the local market (amazing tomatoes) and gotten stuffed at the Indian buffet and acquired more amusing phrases, like transitionfish and the gerbil of boldness.

Transitionfish was originally tilapia, purchased for dinner one night and explained by Matt as a "good transition fish" to expose the (not-particularly-fish-loving) Sebastian to more seafood. #transitionfish would make a good hashtag, I said. We giggled, and began applying the phrase to conversational lulls or topic shifts. "But enough about dinner. How about our learning objectives? #transitionfish."

Gerbil of Boldness: another dinner (Sebastian's birthday -- the Jaduds introduced us both to a tiny whiskey tasting) wherein I asked Matt when he had learned how to Be Bold. A thoughtful look came across his face, and he said, "you know, I'd never thought about this... but my freshman year... one night... I was in my room, and... I was bitten by my roommate's gerbil. And the next morning, THE BITE WAS GONE, AND MAGICALLY--"

Now, Matthew Jr. happens to have a small stuffed gerbil. It is now the Gerbil of Boldness, and to be bitten by it is a transition(fish) experience that we are trying to figure out how to cultivate...

Curriculum development is going well. We have a first draft of enduring understandings: How to play with electricity and not die, to believe your experience and build it incrementally, and translate between written, visual, and physical representations of circuitry. The post has more detail on each, along with a first draft of personas, but I'm writing hastily and sloppily and scattered-like here because I do not actually want to talk about work now, just note it in passing, and remember more important things. Such as:

  • How wonderful hugs are.
  • How much I admire Matt being home for lunch and dinner every day -- and sharing in the cooking and the dishwashing, too. How many books Matthew Jr. has that are forgotten relics of my childhood; Corduroy, Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom, anything by Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle or Tomie dePaola. The feeling of being around the dinner table with everyone -- Matt and Carrie and Matthew, Sebastian and me -- and slicing bread and passing jam and roasted vegetables from the grill, on a warm summer night.
  • That you can get three iced coffees at Berea Tea & Coffee for the price of one at Starbucks.
  • That Jan's house is full of handcrafted mugs and furniture and wall-hangings from when she and her husband Bob have travelled, and how their laundry line stretches stories above the little farm below, which used to have horses before Jan became chair.
  • That fireflies (and squirrels) aren't apparently that prevalent in Germany (or at least the part of it that Sebastian's from). Yay, discovering new things!
  • On my part: the sound of wind rustling through the tree leaves, which I can now hear, and which is a constant whispering. That elevators beep when they arrive, and when they pass each floor.
  • That red wine vinegar can be used to make a cold soba dipping sauce, that Thai-style peanut chicken tastes excellent scrambled into eggs a few mornings later, that butter does not quite fit in the butter cow, and on how much small discussions can teach you about life and people, slowly, over time.

That's all for now. I need to write; I want to read. The life is slower here, and that is good.