Today, Jessica, Peter, Michael and Theo came to visit before their move to Ireland. They're relocating from San Francisco, which is close, to Dublin, which is far. When they left, the boys drug out the big map of the world, in order to see where Michael is going. Tonight, we'll have potatoes and cabbage, we'll talk about the Irish portion of our heritage, and we'll get a sense of Ireland.
This sort of conversation happens at our table all the time. We live in a marina, and people are constantly coming in from somewhere interesting or leaving to go somewhere interesting. The big world map gets taken out a lot. I've gotten into the habit of pointing out who we know, where they are, what they're eating, and what the language spoken there sounds like. It's not comprehensive, but it's enough to be intriguing.
Right now, the marina is swarming with folks heading from all over the place to join the Baja Ha-Ha cruising rally down the coast to Mexico. Mexico! Oh, the food! Oh, the language! Oh, the music! Mexico is easy, because of the proximity. Easier than the Galapagos, anyway. The boys are already vaguely familiar with the Spanish language because of their exploits in Puerto Rico with Dora. And Mexican food is an integral part of our eating anyway; one of the many bonuses of being Californian. But that's what provided the bridge for them to realize that as you speak Spanish in Mexico and Puerto Rico, there are other languages in other places that you speak when you go there. We've had all kinds of fun playing around with Tahitian, Fijian, and Hawaiian. Especially Hawaiian; the language sounds like a waterfall, and we've found several excellent Hawaiian Rap bands that the boys love listening to. Nothing like dancing with your language lessons, and knowing at least how to say "please" and "thank you" everywhere you go.
Jim and Juanita, who sailed here from Maine (technically three seas away, even though it's the same country), live one dock away from us and will be sailing the South Pacific in three months. We've talked about how you eat there (fruit, fruit, fruit, and fish), and since Jim is big into food and boat cookery, we've talked about dehydrators versus blenders, ovens versus pressure cookers, and fishing poles versus traps. It's on the schedule for the boys and I to make our own solar cooker.
Jeff, the guy docked right behind us, is heading for the Galapagos in November. Because of him, we're watching endless rounds of nature shows on Netflix, about the finches and the lizards and Darwin. And of course, finding the island and the route on the map.
Next week, Jason is flying to Seattle to join up with our pal Toast, to sail their boat down here to San Francisco Bay. They've just finished a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, and the boys are just bursting with questions to ask Toast's three daughters, who are friends of theirs. The boys have never been anyplace like Vancouver Island, nor have they seen orcas or humpbacks in the water next to the boat, as Toast's family has.
A few weeks ago our friend Zen stopped by. He's planning to voyage across the Pacific to Japan. We've already spent a bunch of time talking about Japan, but the boys hadn't really understood that we could sail there. So this engendered a conversation where we talked about being able to sail to all the places on the map that touch the blue. And that of course leads to being able to read the names of the places in brown and green that touch the blue places.
And that right there, my friends, is what Geography in the School of the World looks like. There won't be a test, but there will certainly be dessert when we're finished. And probably dancing.
Laureen is a writer, a professional editor, a scuba instructor, a beginning sailor, a traveler, and an obsessive researcher who's chiefly focused on, and delighted with, her husband Jason, her sons Rowan and Kestrel, and her daughter Aurora. She's a lifelong Californian, which lends a very distinctive spin to both her ideas and her politics, and she's discovered, in her peregrinations, that the world is far smaller yet far more fascinating than anyone gives it credit for being. She holds forth her opinions on that in her blog, The ElementalMom.