I have written a bit about the WWoofs we have had on our farm this year. Each and every one has taught us something, shared themselves and brought laughter into our home. The extra hands with the kids, farm and garden have been a godsend and we have made many many friends. Every time a new person arrives on our farm I think 'how can they possibly compare with XYZ who just left' and they do....
Currently we have a german girl K who came to us about 5 weeks ago. She began very quietly and joined us when we had other woofs here. She quietly fit herself in with the family and worked hard with us outside. As time has gone on and she has become more comfortable speaking English (one reason foreign WWOOFS like to stay with a family) the depth of her personality is growing on us.
I lived in Germany for one year as an exchange student so I understand some german and I know a bit about their culture. One aspect that I was exposed to was their school system. In Germany the kids are divided in the 5th grade into 3 streams. University, trades and workers. I don't know if that is the right terminology. When I was in Germany I lived with a family who had a grade 5 daughter - the father wanted her to go to the university stream and the mother, more practical perhaps, the middle stream. The pressure was enormous. She pulled out all her eyelashes. Once in a particular stream it would be very hard to change. The middle stream finished school at 16 and then did practicums....choosing their eventual career. K explained to me that she did her practicum in a bookshop and then went back to school so she could go to university and become a teacher. She struggled over her explanation but I got it. She said more people are switching streams now than in the past. However, when I was there it was almost impossible to do - a lot of determination was required. hmmmmm
So then she gradually tells us that she planned her year in Canada, bought her tickets, booked her visit to our farm before even telling her parents. None of her family had ever travelled. That takes some courage! Hmmm maybe there's more to this girl.
A couple of days ago she started walking around with paper and a pen and writing things down. Of course I was curious (nosey) and asked.....She told me she was planning a story...that she wrote stories. Oh! So I ask about the story.....it's an involved time warp fantasy story that takes place in 3 dimensions/universes that split when a baby is born and cries....
WHOA! (OK this chickie never dug fantasy novels......)
She has been busy at work on her planning ever since (hogging my laptop!)
Tonight I asked her more about her planning.
The story I got was a story that - I don't have the eloquence with words that many do to explain the feeling of awe I got - unschoolers/homeschoolers can certainly appreciate....
She's been creating stories since she was 8. In her mind. She has a huge multidimensioned story that has evolved and changed since she was 8 that is still to be written. She began when she was 8 and still has the 14 pages stapled together with one inch high letters. When she was 14 she wrote 200 pages of the story....it is still evolving in her head and one day it will be done.
She said she got poor grades in "german" because she wrote too slowly, had bad handwriting and couldn't spell. German was not her good subject and it was obvious to her mother and teacher that she should go to the middle stream schooling. HUH?! A child who has a creative mind spinning with stories slotted into an educational path that would never fulfill the destiny chosen for her. She remembers as a child being so frustrated by the stories in her mind she was unable to release because of the skill in her fingers (and poor spelling - my god how dare she!) I can remember slaving over a couple of sentences in grade 2 and being wiped out - Can you imagine having a novel in your head at 8???
She never really told her family about the stories in her mind. I got the feeling that she is realizing that her stories are good and she is proud of them...and more comfortable sharing them.
She has published some of her stories online and has had good feedback. After her year in Canada she will go to university to be a teacher (canubelieveit?) In her words "I have a wish and a dream - It is my wish to be a teacher but it is my dream to be a writer"
Does John Holt publish in german?
My guts feel all jiggly thinking about another amazing addition to our life.
The next JKRowling is picking cukes and weeding strawberries on my farm!
I wish her such amazing success.