The Extended Field Trip

The expat experience often feels like an extended Field Trip.

To enhance our experiences, we have been on many true field trips: the equally surreal though polar opposite Dickens World and Gloucester Manor, and the family visits to Hampshire, Paris, and Prague.  But, as Jackie reminded me, only she and Katie have been on real field trips.

Early in the school year, Jackie went off to the Lake District in Northern England for a three day foray into the forests to fjord streams and do organic research for her Science class.

Little time was spent on the curricular aspect of the journey.  Rather, extreme emphasis was placed on proper wardrobe and packing for this trip.  An hour was dedicated to it the 7th Grade Coffee.  Unfortunately, the tradition of the banal, lengthy school coffee exists here as well.

Foul weather gear, wellies, long underwear, hats, gloves, even ski pants were deemed necessary.  You might have thought she was headed to summit Everest!  All this to walk through the woods in England.

Upon return, Jackie had little to say about the substance of the trip:  “It was cold, we got wet, the food was terrible”.  Apparently, her accommodations in England made Camp Jewel in CT look like the Four Seasons.

However, as always, it was the four hour bus ride and time spent together with friends that was the best part.

Yesterday, she visited Canterbury to see the famed cathedral and walk in the pilgrims’ steps from the Canterbury Tales. In a nutshell, Jackie had this to say:  “the church was big, the town was sketchy, the weather was cold”.  Take that Chaucer!

Katie was recently shipped out to Laverstoke Park Farm in Overton.  Her Foundations class was prepared to awake every morning at 5:30 a.m. to work on a farm, prepare their own meals, and do conservation work.  Again, there was great emphasis on proper clothing, the most important of which was wellies for walking through manure.  This was serious!

The theme of the expedition was idealistic and lofty:  How can a group work collaboratively to find ways for all members of the community to join in, to share responsibility, and to feel respected and safe?

Turns out that the best way to this is by chasing piglets (deemed “so cute!)





and by milking a buffalo (deemed “so gross!). 

That’s right, milking a buffalo.

This was the highlight of the trip as Katie explains she “squatted down, got underneath the utter, attached the metal clamps, and milked a buffalo”.



I’m not sure if I should be concerned that Foundations is her favorite class so far in High School.

Forget the 3Rs (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic), Katie is focused more on 4H !!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Dinella November 24, 2011 at 2:35 am

Hi Cathy! I just discovered your Tales and Exploits and its absolutely real, refreshing and funny. Sounds like you have the right mentality and it will be a wonderful experience for all. All my best and thanks for sharing the real side of all your adventures! Cindy


cathy dishner November 27, 2011 at 7:42 am

Great to hear from you and glad you enjoy the blog. Hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving – our was full of adventure (to be blogged about soon!!)


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