Friday, February 27, 2009

Unschooling group and gifts

Last night, my sister, mother, and I attended an unschooling meeting. It was advertised as an unschooling meeting, but really what the woman who's organizing it wants is to start a democratic "school". The building she's renting is GORGEOUS! The main floor is one large open room (with bathrooms and an office coming off of it), with a large open upstairs room (with a curtain drawn across one end of the room to create a meditation area) as well as a dugout basement (the building itself used to be a house, and must be about 100 years old). A few years ago it was renovated, and now the floors, walls, and ceilings are all a beautiful honey coloured wood. If you haven't guessed, I love this place! Marilyn (the woman who's starting this thing) is interested in this place mainly being used by teens, both unschooled, homeschooled, high school rise outs, and teens who are currently in school, but interested in doing more or finding out more about unschooling. The "school" will be run entirely be the teens, with all decisions (finance, projects, workshops, classes, which adults/parents are invited to work with the teens and kids...) based on consensus decision making. Although it's basically starting with high school aged kids in mind, the plan is be welcoming of both younger children and cegep (college) aged people. Pretty cool, eh? The space will also be used for unschooling parent support groups, activities and play groups for the younger ones, and possibly as a space for teens to run businesses out of. Last night only a small group showed up, and Emi and I were the only teens, but there's going to be a meeting just for the teens interested in running this place soon. This whole project is very exciting!

In other interesting news, a Facebook gift exchange was started. You post a note offering to make a unique gift for the first 5 people who respond, then send it to them by mail. If you respond to a note asking for a gift, you must re-post the note and send gifts to 5 people who respond to your note! This thing is spreading like wild fire. I've been tagged a billion times, and even my mom got tagged by a couple people now! Really cool. :-) So now I'll be receiving 4 gifts in the mail, and I need to make and send 5 gifts. Actually, 9 gifts, because several people commented that they were sad they missed it, and I don't want them to be sad! So I'm making a bunch of stuff, it seems. :-P

I'm thinking about the things you guys asked me to talk about in future vlogs (thank guys!) and I'll try and record a new vlog post soon. :-)


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Anti-civ and environmental quotes

I'm sorry to be depressing yet again, but I've found lots of really cool anti-civ and/or environmental quotes lately, and I wanted to share them.

"The people of your culture cling with fanatical tenacity to the specialness of man. They want desperately to perceive a vast gulf between man and the rest of creation. This mythology of human superiority justifies their doing whatever they please with the world, just the way Hitler’s mythology of Aryan superiority justified his doing whatever he pleased with Europe. But in the end this mythology is not deeply satisfying. The Takers are a profoundly lonely people. The world for them is enemy territory, and they live in it like an army of occupation, alienated and isolated by their extraordinary specialness.” Daniel Quinn

“For us to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other and especially to ourselves. The lies are necessary because, without them, many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.” Derrick Jensen

"Having long laid waste our own sanity, and having long forgotten what it feels like to be free, most of us too have no idea what it’s like to live in the real world. Seeing four salmon spawn causes me to burst into tears. I have never seen a river full of fish. I have never seen a sky darkened for days by a single flock of birds (I have, however, seen skies perpetually darkened by smog). As with freedom, so too the extraordinary beauty and fecundity of the world itself: It’s hard to love something you’ve never known. It’s hard to convince yourself to fight for something you may not believe has ever existed." Derrick Jensen

"Even now, we hardly love the Earth or see with eyes or listen any longer with our ears, and we scarcely feel our hearts beat before they break in protest." Stanley Diamond

"We have been too kind to those who are destroying the planet. We have been inexcusably, unforgivably, insanely kind." Derrick Jensen

"I should really like to think there's something wrong with me —
Because, if there isn't then there's something wrong,
Or at least, very different from what it seemed to be,
With the world itself — and that's much more frightening!" T.S.Eliot

"The only measure by which we will be judged by the people who come after is the health of the land base, because that is what is going to support them. They are not going to give a shit whether or not we were pacifists; they are not going to give a shit if we supported Israel or we didn't support Israel; whether we voted green or democrat or republican or not at all. What they are going to care about is whether they can drink the water, whether they can breathe the air, whether the land can support them. One of the important questions is to ask what does the land need from you." Derrick Jensen

"How is it conceivable that all our lauded technological progress--our very civilization--is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal?" Albert Einstein

You know, many people find learning about the type of stuff I read about depressing, but I don't. And surprisingly, many, if not most, green anarchists feel the same way. Or I shouldn't say that. It is depressing, but it doesn't affect my overall happiness, and neither does it affect the overall happiness of other green anarchists I know. More than anything else, I find the knowledge freeing.


Friday, February 20, 2009

The interconnectedness of life

I feel a need to write about something, but I'm not sure what...

I wanted to write a lovely 'about me' post like Sheila did, but I'm not sure how to go about that... I know myself very well, but actually putting that knowledge down in an even semi coherent manner seems very difficult, especially considering how tired my brain is right now.

I also wanted to write about how ridiculous homophobia is. But I think I'd do a really lousy job of it at the moment.

Oh, here's something I think I can manage, since it's far from the logical/researched end of things and much more on the emotional/feelings end of the spectrum. And that thing is how much it pisses me off when humans look at (our)themselves as somehow special, and "better" than all other creatures. Unlike many of my opinions, this is something that's bothered me for years! I'd often read books when I was younger that portrayed humans as the only ones with souls or real personalities, and all other creatures as nothing more than animals to be used, eaten, or controlled. This portrayal always bothered me a great deal, and felt amazingly wrong on a fundamental level.

On a personal level, I can simply see the ridiculousness of it. I look at one of the furry family members that share my home, I look at the raccoons that clatter around on the deck, or the squirrels that race around the tops of fences, or the maple tree that rustles in the wind, and I don't see empty bodies blindly going about basic tasks. I see separate individuals who are simply living their life. I don't understand how they can be looked at as worthless by so many. Life is life, and every creature looks different. We're just one of a vast hots of different species that inhabits this planet. What makes the human race believe it's so special?

On a much larger level, I've recently realized how absolutely stupid and destructive this world view is. If humans are intrinsically of more value, and everything else is somehow lesser, than that leads to the belief that the world is here simply for us, and we as humans have the right to use, abuse, and destroy absolutely anything we wish.

As many of you know, this worldview is leading to the destruction of our planet.

Yes, I'm going to talk about something Derrick Jensen said again. I love how his ideas and words make such perfect sense. Instead of saying that it's always wrong to kill a creature for food, or that it's always wrong to cut down a tree, he instead says that as soon as you or I consume the flesh of an animal, we are obligated to ensure that species survival and well being. As soon as we cut down a tree, we are obligated to insure the survival and well being of that forest. To me, this way is the most ethical, simple, and intelligent way we can possibly look at things. He also goes on to say that if you consume the flesh of a factory farmed animal, you are then obligated to do everything in your power to end factory farming. Same goes if you consume the flesh of a factory farmed carrot.

By looking at things that way, it's impossible to not see how inextricably everything is linked.

I've heard people question why they should care about the extinction of a specific species, whether it's animal or plant or tree, and the answer is so amazingly obvious. Even if you believe that humans have some innate something that makes them "better" than other animals (for we are simply another species of animal), our survival is linked with the survival of every other species on the planet. When a forest is cut down, every human and non-human is ensured less oxygen. When the great fish of the ocean are driven extinct, we ensure ourselves, as well as countless other animals, and countless other forests, less food. When we pollute a river, or all rivers (there are toxins in every single river now), we ensure that both humans and non-humans will no longer be able to drink clean water. Everything we do to harm another life, whether it's trees, animals, rivers, it harms us. Karma in it's truest form.

My mind is feeling very tired, so I'll stop here for now. Just a few thoughts and opinions I figured I'd throw out there, since I think they are extremely important.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Starting an unschooling group in our area!

When we were away at the UWWG, my mom attended both of Kelly Lovejoy's talks. One of them was a kind of 'ask Kelly anything' one, and my mother brought up the issue of finding an unschooling community. My mom said how as far as we know, there are virtually no unschoolers in our area! Kelly's response: "Montreal?? There's tons of unschoolers there! Start a group, and I guarantee you'll have at least 30 family's". Well, what could we say to that? So we're starting a Montreal unschooling group! It may not be a success, but at least we'll know we tried. :-)

So for now, we're simply gathering info. Finding what other people did/do with their groups, thinking of how we can publicize it, what activities to do, where to meet... If anyone has experience with an unschooling group, or even if you have no experience but ideas, I'd love to hear them! :-D

I'm very excited about this, and hoping it works out. :-)


P.S. I'm still looking for unschooling articles for Homeschooling Horizons! If ANYONE who unschools is interested in writing something, I'd love to know! Thanks a bunch. :-D

Monday, February 16, 2009

Boxes, continued

I wasn't entirely satisfied with my post on boxes to start with, and then Michele (who's blog is awesome, by the way) brought up a good point, so I figured I'd add a bit to my original post.

It's true that labels can be useful. For instance, I call myself an unschooling vegetarian pagan anarchist hippie (or my new version, an unschooling soon-to-be-vegan animistic green anarchist hippie ;-)) in the hopes that people will get at least a bit of an idea of what I believe in, what my world view is. That said, I don't want anyone to base how they treat me on that; I want them to base their treatment of me on ME! That was my big point. By putting people in boxes, people often treat those people a certain way, based not on who they are as a person, but on what box they fit them into. Does that make sense? I think that whatever labels seem to fit a person, whatever box they're put into, that should be FAR less important than who they are as a person. Hmm... I still don't feel like I'm saying this right. I don't want people to not talk about controlling schooling methods to me BECAUSE I'm an unschooler, I do, however, not want them to talk about controlling schooling methods to me because it bothers me personally. By saying I'm an unschooler I let people know that it would probably bother me if people talk about coercive parenting or schooling to me, and this is what Michele was saying, but it's not the label that's important, it's my feelings about the subject. There, I think that's a better way of putting what I meant. :-)


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Boxes, how I hate thee

I've only recently really realized how many boxes there are, how many people base everything on those boxes, and how very ingrained the idea of putting everything in categories is. Just among teenagers, especially those in high school, you find perhaps the most obvious categorizing going on. There's the preps, jocks, nerds, geeks, emos, punks, goths, gangsters, wangsters... There's the "smart" people, not necessarily synonymous with nerds, who get good grades, the losers who try yet get bad grades, or simply don't give a fuck. Everyone is judged, evaluated, and slotted neatly into whatever box is deemed to fit best. But even beyond high school, you find just as many boxes.

Everyone, teens and adults, are judged on ethnicity, income level, job field, political views, on what their families are like. How you talk, dress, and act are under constant scrutiny, no matter how old you are. And then, of course, there's the matter of age. Few boxes are so final and unbudging as that of age. For some reason, the number of years you've spent on this planet is considered a great judge, and predictor, of how you'll behave. There are certain things teens WILL do, certain ways they WILL behave, simply because they're teens. Yet because teens are expected to be wild, reckless, and generally stupid, in some ways we're lucky, because we can "get away" with lots f things simply because people expect teens to be unpredictable, simply by the fact that teens ARE wild and "uncontrollable"! I think it'sworse for those who've passed the teen markers, and are then supposed, and rigidly expected, to "act like adults", which in most people's lexicon's means to stop having fun. How would someone react if they saw a grown man racing down the street in wild abandon, laughing for the sheer joy of it? Why, horror of course! And what would people think if an adult dressed in an especially eccentric style (or should say what DO people think when they see the few adults who do)? Again, horror, and often seemingly disgust.

My big question is this: why? Why is everyone expected to act in a certain way, in a predictable way, and why are those who deviate from the predictable greeted with horror, disgust, and fear? Because it does often look like the reactions are motivated by underlying fears, fear of looking outside of their neatly plotted and well understood little worlds. Fear of seeing things a different way. Is it just me, or is one of the huge problems with our society that fear of differences? Even among those who don't seem to fit into many specifuc categories, labelers still, sadly, have little trouble dealing with them. They're simply labeled freaks, or something similarly nasty, denoting those who refuse to follow the norm.

The way the rest of the world relates to someone is often based entirely on the boxes it's deemed that specific person fits into. The boxes are all important. And it seems most people don't know how to relate to someone without using boxes. People are scared to look at someone as simply a person, an individual, full of complexity, likes, loves, hates. Different experiences, feelings, hopes and fears. Why are people scared to meet another indivdual head on, without the judgment that is the myriad list of boxes? Well, for one, our culture certainly doesn't encourage that. The boxes are useful to those in power, keeping everyone neatly separated and segregated by class, ethnicity, job. Perhaps that's because if people stopped identifying as goths, as mechanics, as caucasians, African Americans, university graduates, and simply identified as people, as individuals, we would no longer live on our own little islands. Instead, we'd band together, and take back the freedom, community, and life that we rightly deserve, instead of the fabricated existance the powers that be allow us. I've said before that what keeps us trapped in this destructive culture is nothing more substtantial than ideas, and I think that boxes may be simply an extention of that. To function in this culture, we must cling to ideas, to orderliness, and to everyone keeping to their own cliques, their own boxes. That way, we can "know" that people weren't meant to mix and mingle, to have relationships with those older, younger. Those with different opinions than ours, different skin colours, different backgrounds and experiences. If we don't have to stick to our boxes, then we don't need a hierchy that creates and maintains boxes. Boxes are just another block, another idea, that lets us rationalize our culture, our way of living and relating to the world.

So here's to throwing out boxes, destructive ideas, and anything else that gets in the way of good, meaningful relationships with a multitude of different people, and ultimately, gets in the way of the world we want to live in.


I can't decide what to write about... Pick one please?

Now, I'm having trouble deciding what to write about... There are basically three things that have been on my mind lately, and that I've considered posting about.

1. Boxes. How our culture likes to put everyone in numerous different categorical boxes, from age, to education, job, style, political views... No one is safe from boxes! And the worst thing I find personally, is that I find myself putting people, and myself, in boxes all the time, even though I don't want to!

2. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) rights. Although I'm heterosexual (I have been attracted to members of my gender occasionally, as I think most people, "straight" or not, are, but since I'm definitely far more attracted to guys, and don't plan on ever doing anything with a girl, I identify as hetero), I have many friends and even more acquaintances who are in the LGBT spectrum. I've never been homophobic in the least, but ever since several friends came out, gay rights have meant a lot to me.

3. Depression and self injury. I'm almost not sure that I "should" be writing about this, since although I've dealt with some depression in the past (not clinical depression, simply spending days on end in my room feeling extremely hopeless, useless, and depressed), I've never cut (or burned, or anything else). However, many of my friends have at one point or another. I've also done actual, search for stats and read mental health websites, research into self injury, since I very much wanted to be supportive to those who were dealing with it, and wanted to understand why.

Since I can't decide what to write about, I'm going to let someone else decide for me. I plan to write about all three of these things at some point or other, but for now, I'd ask that the first person who reads this (really, whoever you are) please pick one! My family isn't available at the moment, so I need an internet person to do it for me. :-P

Thanks a bunch!


Friday, February 13, 2009

What life looked like today

My family got some very bad news yesterday. If you're friends with me on Facebook, you'll probably know what that news was. I'd love to blog about it as well, since to me, blogging is a great outlet, but before putting that news on the net for anyone to view, I think I should check with the person who's bad news it was. So for now, just know that my family is going through a bit of a rough patch, but I'm doing okay, and keeping some mental distance. When I need to think about it, I do, but otherwise, I'm distracting myself, and just going on with life how I normally do.

I could write 'what unschooling looked like today', but I came to a realization just a little while ago; there is no 'what unschooling looked like today'. There's only what LIFE looked like today. Learning IS living, and living IS learning, so why differentiate between the two? If I'm living, I'm learning, and obviously if I'm learning, I'm living! So what did life look like today? So far, I read a bunch of blogs, mainly on unschooling. I read some of Endgame, and thanks to that book, I decided to take a walk.

I love where I live. I love being so close to the water. So that's where I walked, down to the water. It's a bright day today (although as I speak the sun is starting to go down), and fairly warm, with the snow starting to melt. However, the wind is strong, and makes it feel MUCH colder. It was a spur of the moment decision to go for a walk, so of course I didn't even bother changing out of my PJ's before going out! I simply put on my coat, wrapped myself up in my stripey wool scarf, slung my camera over my shoulder, and started out. (I wanted to show you some pictures I took, but blogger isn't cooperating. :-( ) I walked along, huddled in my coat, pretty much just looking at the ground, and in that position I couldn't help but notice how all of the snow was glittering. It was melting a bit today. But since it was still cold, there was lots of ice. Marvelous, glittery, slippery ice. I stopped to take a picture of a random chunk of ice on the street, and I'm very happy with how that shot turned out. :-) I'll use that shot for my photography blog today, and I'll post all the pictures that I wanted to in a separate post when blogger starts working properly. As I walked, I let my mind drift... I listened to the cars go by, and the wind passing by, and saw the beautiful sunlight streaming down... When I got to the water, I had to navigate the ice before I could get to the shore and the patch of grass (actual grass!) where the snow had melted. Just as I got near the shore, the wind suddenly picked up, making my loose pajama pants billow like crazy, and the leaves that had somehow managed to cling to a dead branch rustle wildly. What a lovely welcome! Everything was ice bright, and I quickly started snapping pictures. Note to self: next time I want to take pictures when it's cold out, I should find proper gloves, instead of wearing a ratty old pair of mittens that the wind cuts right through. My hands got pretty cold pretty fast, so I decided to head back. Just as I started to walk away, the wind gusted once more, pushing me away from the water. I love the wind! :-) I was so lost in thought on the way home that I actually walked past my house!

I don't see how anyone could ever not love life, when there's crunchy ice to be cracked, rocks to be kicked, wind to be raced with, clouds to be watched... This was one of those Winter days that lets you know that Spring is on the way. Sure, there will probably be more snowfalls, and there will definitely be many more cold days, but Spring is still on the horizon, moving steadily closer. Everything is just so damn wonderful.

I picked up the mail on my way in, and discovered that my Yukon travel booklet had arrived! I now have travel information from New Mexico, Newfoundland, BC, and the Yukon. So far, the places I want to go to most are Newfoundland and BC. I find it funny that I literally chose the two places that are farthest appart. One on the eat coast of Canada, one on the west!

And that's pretty much it. I continue to read Endgame, and look at the travel info... My family has decided we need to go to more unschooling conferences, and so far we're looking mainly at the Northeastern, We Shine, and Toronto unschooling conferences. Cost is a big issue, and so far We Shine seems o be the best for that... I know that most unschoolers who read my blog are west coasters, but I still have to ask, is anyone else looking into those conferences? It would be awesome to run into people I know online! :-D


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Successful unschooler? Adult? What??

Lately, several people have referred to me as a "successful unschooler", or made similar comments of that type. Recently, someone in their mid-twenties commented that there were few people "our age" at the convention. What??

When I first got a comment about being a "successful unschooler", the first thing that came to mind was that I wasn't finished yet!! So what, I would have graduated from high school last year had I been schooled. That means nothing. I still live at home (I mean come on, I'm only nearly 18!), I don't have a job. The next thing that came to mind, following quickly on the heals of my first thoughts, was what constitutes success? Why was the first thing I thought of for success getting a job? I don't even believe that our wage system is right! So what IS success, and what is my personal success as an unschooler being judged on? I really don't know.

The other comment that really hit home was that about age. People "our age". I don't consider myself an adult yet, although legally, I will be incredibly soon. I know what he meant, in the sense that I am a young adult now, which I suppose does put me in the same category as someone in their twenties. However, it still feels weird. Here's another one. What makes you an adult? I've never been a fan of using purely age as a judge. I'm not a child the day before my 18th birthday, and an adult the next day. Things just don't work that way. I suppose the first thought that comes to mind is that moving out would be a good marker, but I have issues with that as well. What about the people who live with their parents into their thirties? I don't think that they're still children. And besides, in traditional communities, large extended families would often live together. I don't think where you live is an accurate judge at all. So maybe age is just another box that our society has made... Cutting everything into neat categories. Perhaps the only real judge, the only thing that makes someone an adult, is how they feel. Who they feel they are.

If that's the case, I have no clue what I am!

I certainly don't feel like an adult. But neither do I feel like a child. But really, isn't that what the teenage years are or? Transitioning from child to adult? But I don't really feel entirely like I'm in the same boat as many younger teens, either... I have many younger friends, and they're totally awesome, but I guess I feel a bit like I'm further on in that transition, closer to that magical age of Adulthood. Which makes sense, I suppose. Especially lately, now that I'm going through a bit of a period of baby lust, which freaks me out a bit considering I'm still 17!! That isn't an actual issue at all, seeing as I'm single, but in conversations lately on abortion, teen pregnancy, and similar matters, I've realized that at any point from now onwards I would not be upset to be pregnant, and that feels like a pretty big realization.

I don't know what I'm trying to get at at all in this post... I guess I'm just putting my thoughts out, seeing what they look like written down, and if I can glean any further meaning or answers from my tangled thoughts.

In some ways, I really feel like I'm in a big transition. In other ways, I feel like nothing is changing at all. I still need my mom, I don't want to move out. But things are changing. I'm just not sure how much...


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New quote and anarchy

"Real revolution starts with learning. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention." ~Rise Against

Yes, I'm in another anti-state/capitalism/fascism etc mood. I've been reading this really cool blog, that I've been following for a while now, called GreenIsTheNewRed, that deals with the so called "Green Scare", the labeling by governments of environmental activists as "Eco-Terrorists". For anyone who values freedom as much as I do, reading about the crap that's going on, especially in the US, both scares and angers me. I still think it's really important to know, however.

I'm also about to start Endgame Vol. 2: Resistance by Derrick Jensen, so I'll probably be in a political frame of mind again for a while now. Wait, I'm always in a green anarchist frame of mind, aren't I? Never mind... :-P Oh, and I've been wondering, is it annoying how often I talk about that type of stuff? Because I've been feeling like it might be...


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Unschoolers Winter Waterpark Gathering 2009

Yes! I finally have all of the pictures I wanted uploaded onto this post uploaded!! Since blogger only allows you to upload 5 at once, I've literally been uploading for hours. Hey, you guys asked for lots of pictures, right? ;-) They're in chronalogical order, and that's how I'll tell about our trip as well!

My mom, sister, and I started out towards Ohio Sunday, the 1st of February. We entered New York, and ended up staying in Buffalo.

When I saw this truck at night, I just loved it for some reason! My mom was nice enough to stop the car so I could get a good shot. :-P
We arrived in Buffalo fairly early, around 8:30ish pm, I think. We ate supper, then attempted to find a hotel. And that's where the difficulty started. The first one we tried was filthy (like really ew), and then the next half dozed or so were scented. Since both Emi and my mom are allergic to synthetic scents, it's really hard to find places that don't use stuff like Febreeze (which is really bad for everyone by the way, regardless of allergies), we have to try LOTS of hotels before we find one that we can actually stay in. Finally, at 11:30 pm, and after getting lost several times, we were stressed out, exhausted, and nearly in tears, when we finally (finally!) found a non sweet smelling hotel! Woo hoo! I took this pic the next morning.
The hotel gave us some coupons for a restaurant across the street, so we ate there the next morning. It was a really nice homestyle, large portion serving, place, with a really sweet waitress to boot.
We then passed through Pennsylvania.
It was a beautiful sunny day...

And it got steadily warmer the further we went. It was like driving into spring.
We were totally comfortable walking around outside in just our sweatshirts, which is certainly not something you can do in Montreal in February!
The Ohio welcome center was awesome.

Passing through Cleveland, we spotted this gorgeous building. I love it!
The car door handle just suddenly seemed really photographable...
And we made it there! Finally! It's about ten hours of straight driving, but with the amount of stops we make, it took us much longer.
We arrived at the Kalahari resort, where the UWWG was being held, on Monday the 2nd of February. That night, we were all really tired and spastic. Emi and I went down to the conference center, where everything was being held, for the Winter carnival, but we just felt out of place. I met a couple of people I knew from camp, but overall the carnival was really just for young kids, and all of the teens seemed to have come with their friends. I think we both, in our exhausted depression, decided that we'd have an awfuk time. Luckily, we were wrong!
The next day I woke up and started bouncing around excitedly trying to get my family to go down to the Waterpark with me. Mum was busy, so Emi and I went down. It's an all inclusive resort, so the waterpark, rooms, restaurants, convention center, and spa are all accessible without ever leaving trhe building! Emi originally didn't want to go in the wave pool, or on the slides, since the last time she'd been to a waterpark she was about 8 and it terrified her! However, as soon as she saw that there were tubes for the wave pool, she decided she's try it, and we both had a blast! After that, we tried several slides, which were all extremely awesome!

We wandered down to the conference center after that, and were hailed by a whole group of teens sitting around on couches, including a couple of people I know from camp. They were crazy, chaotic, and very friendly! After everyone split for food, we hung out in the hotel room for a bit...

But when the cleaning staff came to clean our room, we headed back down and met up with people again. They started a crazy girls against guys truth or dare game (I say "they" because I wasn't playing, just taking pictures :-P).
EWW! It got far worse even than that, sadly... :-P
"Why am I not on the cool fish list??"
These lights were on the ceiling of the auditorium/ballroom/really big room, and I just loved them!
I took lots of pictures of the first talent show (it was on Tuesday, I believe), but most were blurry! This little girl was just SO CUTE! She sung a song, and danced along to it too. :-)
The outdoor hot tub was awesome.
This guy was insane. Nice, but insane. ;-P
My mom took a belly dancing class on Wednesday. I took pictures. :-)
The lovely and very talented instructor. It was truly awesome watching her dance.
The endless ghallway that our room was on... The Kalahari resort is the largest hotel in Ohio with over 800 rooms, and also bosts the largest indoor waterpark in North America.
Wedensday night, hanging out in the empty, dark, grand ballroom. They played spin the bottle, we ran foot races, and some people started playing football. Emi just sat on this lion statue. :-P
The view from the windows overlooking the waterpark. A whole bunch of it is cut off at the left edge of this shot...

There were two elevaters that brought us from our room to the lobby. One we named Otis, the other George. George was cooler, because he had a heart on his floor.
Thursday, lying around in people piles. I loved watching these two (adorable little kid and Ben) interact. They just get along so well!
Group shot! Missing a few people that were part of this hangout group, but there's a lot of them here!

Riding the luggage carts was a popular pastime!

Paris Hilton ;-)
Crazy, chaotic, insane, elevator rides.
Such a cute picture! I love how much hugging and cuddling goes on at unschooling gatherings.

This was hanging around at the ball on Thursday night, our last night there. That is a petty intense look, although I have no clue what it's about! :-P
Emi doesn't like this picture, but I do!
Aww :-)
The ball!

Crazy headbanging.

Emi and Max looking lovely.
Swirling lights...
Nate doing a funny pose.

The woman who did the belly dancing class let people borow her coin scarves for the dance. Mum LOVED it and wants one of he own now!

Scattered shoes...
This little guy made friends with a couple of the teens, and was planning on sleeping over with them on Thursday night. However, his parents were leaving halfway through the ball. He was so sad! :-( He gave his shirt, which had earned him his nickname Checkers, to the guy he's made best friends with. :-)
More dancing...
Myself in a mirror.
The next, and final, morning at Kalahari. I realized I hadn't really taken pictures around the lobby, so I did. The tackyness pissed me off a lot to start with, but by the last day I'd pretty much gotten used to it. :-P

The Candy Shack
More waterpark shots through the windows.
"African" (we're not so sure about it's authenticity ;-)) decor.

People, getting ready to say good bye.
Jack and Emi.
All the group, or at least those who hadn't left yet.
Bethany, the girl in this pic, did an awesome workshop at one point on raw foods. She has a fascinating story (of how she used raw foods to heal herself), and you can check out her blog here. I'm sad that I only really got to talk to her and her mother on the last day! That whole family seems really cool. The three siblings that were there are pictured below. Emi and Timmeh (the bigger brother!) spent the last sleepover night talking, and Emi only got about two hours of sleep!
Jane and Tristram are so cute together! I met both of them at camp.
Their expressions are just made of awesomeness.
We stayed so long talking to people that by the time we got going it was three in the afternoon!

These swans were in a pond just outside of the Kalahari's main doors. I love ducks, swans, and similar birds. :-)
Pretty ice.
The bridge that connected the Kalahari building to the parking lot.
We only got as far as Buffalo again going back on Friday, so we stayed at the same hotel as last time. In the morning, on Saturday, we were up bright and early for the long drive.
Oil is such a fascinating contradiction. Beautiful, yet awful.
It was a good trip, even if the traveling bit coming home was stressful as hell. We were all really tired! But it's always nice seeing other unschoolers. There weren't all that many people my age, and out of the few that were there many seemed rather cliquey, but I still met some really cool people. There's this guy, Eli Gerzon, who's doing world travel tours for unschoolers. Emi was originally interested in the Japan tour, but since she always envisioned going to Japan in a few years, she's not sure if she wants to go as soon as November. Either way, Eli was a very interesting person to talk to, and I look forward with interest to any future trips he plans.

There were also several interesting workshops. I already mentioned the raw foods one briefly, but what I didn't mention was that there was actually food to try! I was rather suspicious of it at first, but the ONLY thing I didn't like was the guacomole, and that's just because I never like guacomole! I also caught the tail end of a talk on radical unschooling by Kelly Lovejoy, which made me sad, but what I did hear was very interesting, and my mom was there for the whole workshop and really felt that she got a lot out of it.

I'd love to catch up on all of the blogs I'm following, but since I follow about 40, I just can't! Because of that, please don't be insulted if I usually comment, yet don't this time! :-S

I'm still looking for unschooling articles for Homeschooling Horizons, and I'd be much obliged (and very happy) if you'd be interested in that!