Friday, April 8, 2011

NHVSP 2011 Update 9

Hello to all our Dear Parents & the world out there!

I want to start my work here by thanking Nimrod for his outstanding work. His updates have kept some of your urgent questions at bay, and in general we seldom laugh as much as when Nimrod delivers one of his lines – he has made even Nate bend over, short of breath from the giggles.

It has barely been a few days since we saw many of you, so this may be old news, but for those who missed out on all the fun, here is some for you.

Hard at work planning for the spring
We skied up the driveway of Northwoods Stewardship Center on Wednesday the 22nd of March, and did not have time for rest. Even though trail life was over we still had to live, and build ourselves a camp. We began with digging, a lot of digging, before we had room to set all our tents on the ground. Our home now consists of four wall tents and our expedition tent – the big one is our kitchen and meeting room, and there is one for the girls, teachers and guest teachers each, while the guys have our old home. Only after this did we have time to finish up the last part of our Big Jobs – with practical things, like washing and drying hundreds of Ziplocks for Bridie, and academic pages to reflect and give some words of advice for future students. We could then let go off it all with a last presentation for each other and let all stress and frustrations flow away with laughter. I will bring a bit of it out to you here, for your enjoyment or confusion, and so you may learn something might not have known about your child (or friend etc...)

The Eating Awards
The “Classic Frosting Mix-Up/King of the Spice Spill” Award goes to … Jake!
The “Tiny-Bite-Taker” Award goes to … Bridie!
The “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate” Award goes to … Nimrod!
The “Indecisive Count-Offer/Oh no, I didn’t Get Jam on my 4ths!” Award goes to … Mathilde!
The “Thank God the Big One Eats so Little” Award goes to … Nate!
The “What a Trooper” Award goes to … Sam!
The “I Put Hot Sauce in my Oatmeal” and the “Attack of the Snacks” Awards goes to … Tim!
The “Big Mouth, Little Stomach” Award goes to … Zane!
The “Average Eater” Award goes to … Jon!
The “Eats like a Fat Man, Looks like a Stick” Award goes to … Rosa!
The “Feed the Hungry Boys and Rosa/Come from Behind, Eat Like a Beast” Award goes to … Serene!
The “Weak Stomach, Big Heart” Award goes to … Lu!
The “Boy Wonder/Bottomless Fiery Abyss” Award goes to … Julian!

 And the one who has been watching our eating habits is Tobias, and though he didn’t award himself a prize, we can clearly see that he has been an observant food manager.

So, to Big Jobs. “Finally, spring!” we thought as we arrived here, and though we have now put the winter behind us in mind and work, nature has not yet answered our call. It is still snowing as we take our first steps in our new Big Jobs. I hope that they will eventually fit us as well as our old jobs did – like wearing in a new pair of leather boots. Here are the exciting results:


So there, I shall stop being anonymous and present myself. Hei mamma og pappa! Hi everyone’s super nice parents! This is Mathilde speaking, and I shall be your window into our lives for the rest of this journey – I hope it will be to your satisfaction.

Bridie and her beautiful family
Back to the goings-on. Parent Weekend came upon us, as did a very snowy storm, on April 1st. Too busy reuniting and telling true stories of our exciting adventures to make anybody a fool, we all had a great evening – some going out to eat dinner, and others staying for the potluck at Northwoods (figuring that it was enough to have us push their car up the driveway once that evening). The next day the amazing food fest continued at breakfast and dinner, but in between there everyone had some time for whatever they wanted with their families (which also often involved good food, and I do believe good conversations, and good hugs and for some, good music).  Even Serene and myself, as the orphans, did not feel put out at all – thank you so much for your wise words, contagious smiles, great food and coffee, generosity, and parental love. I appreciate it so much!

The Knapps, the crew, and the baskets
As good byes and well wishes were exchanged that Sunday, our new guests arrived and we had no time to feel down before we were back at work. Chris Knapp had come back to us, this time with his wife, Ashirah, and their children Owen and Bonnie Bee. We were ready to start making our pack baskets, and Ashirah had the knowledge and patience we needed to reach our goal. The week before we had gone down on the other side of Clyde River and cut a big ash tree that we brought home. Then we spent days pounding the growth rings of off it one by one with mallets, under Chris’ instruction, and stripping these into the widths we needed for weaving (with some good help from our families over the weekend!) The weaving began right after the parents left, and though the next few days were spent mostly indoors, we all enjoyed it a lot more than we do our academics. We also had great entertainment in the toddlers running around, Owen well taught to snatch our tools and give them back to Ashirah when we weren’t treating them the way we had been told. Soon enough we understood that basket weaving is a challenging art, and not everyone ended up with the shape they thought they were making, but we all ended up with real beauty between our hands, made by our hands. Tuesday afternoon it was time for the Knapps to leave, and we waved sadly goodbye – Chris, and now Ashirah (and those maple syrup-honey-vanilla icecream-fig bar-chocolate sweet kids), have been an important part of our semester and we are incredibly thankful for everything they have shared with us.

Mathilde and Scott
Now only one day has gone by, but we are deep into building our canoe with Scott Barkdoll of Skywoods Canoes.  (You can see his work at It is exciting to see the boat take shape, and we can’t wait to see the finished river-runner. Meanwhile, we all struggle with putting our pack baskets down and dream of creating sleeping bags with room to sleep with our baskets on.

Poet’s Yurt of Thank-Yous

To our Loving Parents
Thank you for your gracious, welcoming smiles, hugs, and heaping dishes of food. Your loving support held us close through those days. You were there in times of need and sorrow, to lend a comforting hug and wise words. You were there in times of joyous connection, to share a laugh with.
Many thanks!
- Serene

The Morse Bluegrass Band
Food and company,
your music and memories,
stay with me always.
- Tim

Blue woolen garments.
Corned beef and rye.
A feeling of oh-so-good.
Got places to go and things to do and I know I’ll be happy as soon as I get there
But I wouldn’t mind just one more day.
- Jake

Thank you for lending us your children
for sending these bright young spirits off for a little while
for letting go
and trusting
and bearing with them and us.
I don’t know
what it is like to
have a child and watch
him grow
and let her go
off into the world and become
an adult.
But I imagine this is
not an easy step.
As one by one they grow new facial hair, make big life decisions, question the path they are on
And now here you are, with your support, your trust, your courage
your love expressed through heaping tables of food
I can’t know what it is like for you, but I do know it is no little thing.
So thanks.
– Lu

Dear Wonderful Parents:
We thank you for all your wonderfulness, on parents day and in general. Your generosity, for your children and everyone else was greatly appreciated. Most of all, thanks for the kindness you showed those of us who don’t happen to be your children – the times you spent talking and even taking out people outside your family. It is a remarkable sign to Semester’s power.
- Nimrod

Right now, for the short term,
you are nourishing me with food.
But for the rest of my life to come
you give the gift of knowledge and love.
Sometimes that can best be given
with a different environment and people,
and I can not think of a more noble act
than to let go and encourage
our growth away from you.
- Julian

Thank you for the food and drinks,
for your loving care.
Thank you for your guidance, 
the strength you give us,
for your support and wisdom.
And your patience as you wait for each new update.
- Rosa

With that, hold onto your patience (as we try very hard to hold onto ours, and fail, in waiting to see the ground and leaves, and putting away our winter boots). I will happily bring you more tales of our life in not-so-long.

Yours dearly,
Mathilde Vikene
Spring Scribe NH-Vermont Semester 2011

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