Pause & Reflection
Currently we are back home in the USA (as I'm sure many of you already know from our Instagram feed). We took time off from schooling and traveling in order to visit with family and friends, as well as relax and have some time to ourselves in order to process this amazing experience so far. Below are two reflections from Luke and Jacob. More blog posts will be coming your way as we are headed to Peru very soon! Thank you for your patience :)
Learning from Traveling Around the World
When my dad first asked me what I have learned on our world travels, the first thing that came to my mind was what I learned from our tour guides in China and India. Then I started thinking about all of the different experiences on this trip, and how I learned about different governments, art, life sciences, history, politics, community service, and how people in different countries make a living. I also learned how to write about my experiences in an interesting way to publish on our blog. It is hard to write about everything I have learned, so I will share some highlights and include how I have grown in Christian Science.
A highlight of my learning was what I experienced on Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef. We had the opportunity to meet a sea turtle expert who shared most of his knowledge to us. I really enjoyed hearing from him because he knew so many facts from his research and life experiences. He shared stories about his research which included how he experimented on turtles to prove that they live for over 200 years which most scientists don’t believe. He also allowed me to actually pick up a baby sea turtle which was not allowed, but he allowed it because he felt that the more you interact with sea turtles the more you will want to help them.
Another big learning experience for me was writing for our family blog. It really helped me to have my step-sister Juliette assist me with my writing and editing. I not only did I get to write about what I was learning, but I learned how to express my ideas in an interesting way and worked on how to edit it for publishing. I also liked putting my own pictures that I took in the article, and doing research on the web about my topic. This process helped me become a better writer and taught me how to share my ideas with other people by posting them.
I grew in Christian Science by better understanding and seeing the Christ idea. My Dad told me that the Christ idea is seeing the ideal man in every person. I loved seeing God expressed in the ideal man in every place I went. In Mexico I saw the ideal man from the love and support that Fabienne gave me in everything we did. In Australia, I saw the ideal man in uncle Bill because he was super nice, invited us into his home, and joined us on all adventures with such a fun attitude. In China, I saw the ideal man in our tour guide, Lena. She had such a love for her country and was loaded with facts. In Borneo, our guide Hamit expressed the ideal man by being super nice, very active, and patient with all our needs. In India, my Dad expressed the ideal man by comforting me during my challenges with the air quality in India. He was super patient and willing to help me in whatever way he could. Lastly, in South Africa I saw the ideal man in Mrs. Dry who was a super hard worker, got everything done in an efficient manner, and was supportive and loving at the same time.
These life experiences from my travels around the world have really inspired me to want to learn more and to keep looking for the Christ idea in every person. I have loved this time with my family and look forward to our next journey and learning even more.
My Growth from My Travels
In these past six months I have learned and grown a ton. In every country that we went to we were able to learn academically and grow in Christian Science by experiencing it. Instead of learning in a classroom we learned in the world, whether it be math, history or Christian Science. Below are a few of the ways that I was able to grow during my trip.
Academically I grew a lot. For math I did Khan Academy to learn what my classmates were learning but I also was able to grow from real world experiences, especially shopping in flea markets and grocery stores. They allowed me to practice my mental math and to learn the value of money. Going to countries that don't use US dollars means that I needed to be able to quickly and accurately convert currencies so that I knew how much things were being priced at and what their true value was. This leads me to my next point: learning the value of money. This is a skill that cannot be taught in schools but comes from experiences, I was able to learn a greater value of money in flea markets where the prices are not set. I was able to learn how much things are worth to me by having to pick my price. If I go too low then I won't get a deal and if I go too high then the deal will be agreed upon and I could get stuck paying too much.
I also learned a lot through experiencing science. When we were on the Great Barrier Reef we got to learn so much through seeing life above and underwater in action. For example, we got to see how some of the birds there that have no predators are killed by sticky seeds that keep them from flying and then uses the nutrients of its dead body to help it grow. We also were able to learn about how sea turtles hatch by being able to watch them crawl through the sand to get to the ocean. This is an important part of their life because they have a crystal in their brain that needs to synch to the magnetic field of the earth so that they can find their way back to the exact beach that they hatched on.
I also had the chance to learn a lot in language arts. I grew as writer by having to blog about almost everything that I did. This meant that I needed to tell what happened in an interesting way and to be able to convey my point in a way that my readers would get. I was also able to do a lot of reading which lead to my writing also becoming better. The last main part of my academics was history which was very easy to learn about because I was able to connect with the places that we visited. In China I was able to learn about the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China and the history that went along with them. For instance, the emperor was not allowed to leave the Forbidden City and common people were not allowed to enter it. But, the emperor would still leave and sneak out of the forbidden city so that he could know what was going on in the area he was ruling. This has just been a brief example of how much I have learned academically.
However I did not just grow academically, I have also grown in Christian Science. To me Christian Science is the study of everything that Christ did and the science of it. Before I left Principia, one of the activities we were doing in science was to be able to record what we did so that others could do the same activity and get the same results. This is what Mrs. Eddy did with Christian Science, she created a scientific method for being like Christ. One of the main steps of that is expressing good. I have grown by being able to practice seeing and expressing good around the world in ways that Jesus might have, and getting results from this spiritual view like Jesus might have.
Another part is being Christian; giving and standing for your principles. On this trip I think that I have grown in my principles by seeing what other countries are doing, good and bad. I have grown in my belief of being fair and honest especially in business and not becoming corrupted by anything. In Borneo, one of their biggest exports is palm oil and they do that unsustainably and those companies who own those plantations lie about it by creating a fake "sustainable palm oil" logo. In China, the shops would sell fake everything and nobody seemed to have a problem with that, which I strongly disagree with. But in Australia, a country started by convicts, they are some of the most law abiding citizens in the world. My dad got a speeding ticket for going 4.2 miles per hour over the speed limit, and when my cousin was 8 years old, he got turned in by a neighbor for throwing an apple core onto the grass. Those both could be a little extreme, but it does show how they do stick to the rules and I agree with that. In South Africa I saw a squatter camp that was right below fancy houses that seemed to not care about the community down the hill from them. But I also know that almost all of the better off schools in South Africa have an outreach program for schools that aren't in as good of areas.
Overall I have grown academically by being able to experience what I am learning and being able to practice it. I have also grown in my morals and understanding of how to apply the principles of Christian Science to my every-day life. These opportunities have been very valuable learning experiences and I look forward to many more in South America and Europe.