We’re all mad

I’m feeling philosophical – I think this state is called two-beer life clarity. I get worse with more beer. I think society is pretty fucked up.

Lets start with food – do you know what kind of junk we shove into our bodies? I don’t know what all the E numbers on my packaging mean, and I shouldn’t have to. I do know that most packaged food contains heaps of sodium and sugar, and that I can buy bread that lasts a week before it dries out. That’s a sure indicator of a lot of preservatives and stuff that I probably shouldn’t be putting into my body.

Back in South Africa, there has been a rumpus for the last few months about the strange meat identified in various meat products. Meat products? Why aren’t we eating real meat, not processed to death “meat products”?

I love asking the Greek butchers for mince, whereupon they point at a chunk of beef, I say “nai” (yes), and then they mince it for me while I watch. No danger of kangaroo or donkey or anything else dodgy going into that mince. And the smaller the villages that we visit, the better the vegetables taste. Potatoes that come direct from Georgio’s brother, or Elena who grows the tomatoes for the village etc. Go back to the larger towns, and the vegetables look better and taste worse.

Home schooling my son has made me think more deeply about school as a system. The material that we have to cover for grade 5 is quite fun. I tend to identify sections for Aidan to work through, and it has been great when he asks if he can do more. I give Aidan quite a bit of independence with his school work, but I worry that the cost of this freedom is that he will hate the confines of the formal classroom when he returns to school next year.

We get through so much school work in just a few hours a week. This is all supplemented by experiencing history through visiting wonderful ruins such as Delphi, and seeing new countries and cultures rather than just having a few pics of traditional dress in “life sciences”. Next year he has to go back to 8 hours of school a day, to do far less than we do in 8 hours a week.

So the life question is – why do we entrust the critical educational needs of our children to such an inefficient and antiquated system? Schools are cattle pens for young minds, and it’s the rare teacher who sparks true interest in a pupil.

It’s all about time, really. Our days are so filled with having to make money that we accept a fairly poor quality of life. Africa more so than Europe. Most of the Mediterranean cultures take a break in the heat of the day, and only resume business late afternoon. It means that families enjoy lunch together, and don’t spend all the great daylight hours locked up in offices and shops etc.

I like almost everything about village life except actually living in a village. I like the more natural food sources, the more relaxed pace of life, the safety for our children, and the way people know everyone and help each other. I’d just go stark raving bonkers from boredom though, so I’ll have to figure out how to get village quality-of-life in a city. Pour me that next beer, please.

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5 Responses to We’re all mad

  1. Nomad says:

    You cannot beat the taste of real European tomatoes … be it in Italy, Greece, Spain, France etc ! I think it is because they pick them ripe. None of this pick them rock hard and grass green so that they don’t bruise being transported, and then “gas them” to make them red on the outside …. and still rock hard inside and tasteless!
    Having two daughters now finished school, I cannot but agree with you regarding education. I always maintain that my girls would have learnt so much more in a fraction of the time than they did at school if I had home schooled them. So what stopped me? The fact that we do not live in a village, but in a big city, and I did not think that I could provide them with the correct social outlets in a world gone crazy with kids doing all manner of organised after school activity. They needed to learn to rub along with other kids in a variety of situations, and I sadly did not think I could adequately provide that for them!
    Cheer up! When high school comes along a lot of the issues remain the same, but the depth ofthe curriculum is much more engaging!

    • lor342 says:

      I agree – the tomatoes are fantastic here! Will have to see about Aidan’s next round of schooling – no idea yet what I will do…

  2. behan says:

    From food “products” to learning, I agree entirely (crack another beer!). When I tell people homeschooling takes a fraction of the time our kids would spend in Normal School at home, I’m not sure they believe me (and suspect many assume we’re slackers). Is homeschooling when you get back to SA an option? Maybe you’re lucky to have access to a good school. Hey, total tangent but have you used Kids4Sail to find other families in the Med? They could use some critical mass, but it’s a good idea.
    PS- we had some ‘roo in Australia, actually pretty tasty!

    • lor342 says:

      Thanks for the link – I’ll check it out. We’re returning to a good school next year, but it will still be difficult for my son to accept all the discipline again after the freedom of this year

  3. Steve says:

    Lovely post – have another one on me! You’ll be back in good old SA soon, look forward to toughening you up with a little donkey-infused mince. Anyone for Spaghetti Boloneighs?

    Missing you all

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