Traveling to School

This is my contribution to a challenge that was in my understanding started by Keri-Lee Beasley (@klbeasley). I came to it through Tim Bray (@tsbray) and his blog. It sounded like a fun and interesting way to open a small window into our lives so I decided to give it a go.

I literally live within a three to five minute walk from my classroom so I was afraid I might not be able to give a very interesting account of my daily commute. I have tried my best to compile some of the small things, that when added together, give where I live it’s character and charm. I have to add that we live on the island of Borneo. Many people think we live smack dab in the middle of the jungle. I poke fun at that notion a bit in my post. Enough chatter, let’s get to the pictures!

First, here we are leaving the house. Quinn is mounted up and ready to “scoot” his Strider to school. Not to be left out, his little brother Leo puts on his shoes to walk us out. Herme our amazingly talented, kind, and loving pembantu can be seen on the left.

Time to hit the road!

Here you can see the remnants of scaffolding that has surrounded our apartment for the last 8 months. After three contractors and many fruitless deadlines we finally are free of our metal exoskeleton! It’s nice not to live in the middle of a construction zone anymore.

Free at last!

This is where we part with Leo. We will miss him greatly but we must forge on ahead without him. (Yes, we have only traveled 10 feet but that’s enough when you’re 17 months old and your legs are quite short) In the second pic he’s leaning in for a goodbye/goodluck smooch.

A much as I'd like to take you with you gotta stay.

That's a bit of a wet one!

After parting with Leo we continue our arduous journey down the 10 meters of paved street before making a right turn and roughing it through the next 30 meters of grass. Today was especially rough going as the grass has not been cut in almost 5 days and was approaching 5cm in length. Quinn bravely forges on alone via a more bike friendly route. He will rejoin the expedition in 1 minute 47 seconds. As he parts we shout hearty words of encouragement (Godspeed!) but our voices are stolen by the wind and for a moment we are left wondering whether we will ever see him again. We ponder for a moment if we were foolish to undertake such an adventure with a 4 year old.

Go for it Quinn!

As we progress against the dense jungle foliage we bow our heads against the rising winds. Our chests heave with pained effort as we strain to fill our lungs with enough oxygen to satisfy our burning quads. We must rest. Lucky for us there is a neighborhood graffiti/adolescent messaging board on enroute which gives us the perfect excuse to take a break and catch up on what’s important enough to a 10 year old for them to use a wet finger to write about it on the side of a shed.

Native markings.


Look closely to see who's got a crush on who.

Alright I’ve drawn out the jungle journey thing a bit far. I’ll drop it now.

I now take at least 7 steps and arrive at this play equipment. If you are taking this route to school and have young ones you must budget in some extra time here.

Gotta try the slide once and a while!

Next we came upon a little iguana who seemed to be as interested in us as we were in him.

Hello friend!

Quinn has rejoined us at this point. We proceed for about 15 paces and now we must cross the “bridge”. Yeah it’s only about a foot long and probably not even classified as a bridge but I still like to think of it as a bridge. It’s kind of a metaphorical bridge for me. On one side I am neighbor, father, husband; but on the other side in addition to all of these things I am also “Teacher Ben”.

That brings us to school! Here is my desk.

Do you like my big blue "chair"?

Here is a view of my room as if you were seated at my desk.

We're studying trees as you can probably tell.

And finally here is my super awesome teaching assistant Aneik!

Binding our student made alphabet books.

There you have it! This is what my morning commute to school in Borneo looks like.

*UPDATE*
Here are two similar posts. One by Clint Hamada (@chamada) and the other by Adrienne Michetti (@amichetti). Definitely worth a look!

Avatar of Benjamin J Sheridan

About Benjamin J Sheridan

MS technology coordinator at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India.
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16 Responses to Traveling to School

  1. Nicely. Done. Pressure is on for me to do mine now.

  2. Clint Hamada says:

    I love that you see iguanas on your way to work. Especially since it’s only a 10 minute commute! I also love that your little one needs to start the journey with you; my 20 month old is the exact same. She can’t stand to be the only one not leaving the house so she usually rides the elevator with us.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

    • Clint, thanks for reading. I didn’t know you had written one too. I dig your photos, they came out nicely. I taught with Michelle Wise (art teacher at UNIS) years ago in Cambodia. Although I’ve been to Hanoi I’ve never seen the area where you live, definitely cool. Thanks for posting!

  3. Tim Bray says:

    Quinn! Leo! I can’t believe how big they have both gotten. Wow! Time flies. It is a short, but action packed voyage to school, as I knew it would be with a Sheridan involved. It is great to get a glimpse of your new world.
    Cheers,
    Tim

  4. Thanks for the tour Ben! The I even went back to see Tim’s (but unfortunately couldn’t get to Keri-Lee’s original post). I love the ‘window’ into the day. The smooch close up was my favorite!

  5. Adrienne says:

    I love it! Thanks for sharing. I especially love the iguana! That’s an excellent photo. Also, it’s those little things that remind us of the unique places we live in the world. And the bridge — great metaphor. I think in those kinds of ways, too.

  6. Stephanie Sheridan says:

    Thanks for sharing, Bro! As always, your photos tell such a great story. My commute is similar over here, no cool iguanas though. I love your ball chair.

  7. Pegmom says:

    Thanks for this! While the iguana is cool, nothing compares to seeing Q off and away on his bike, or that wet smooch from Leo. This makes me want to pay closer attention!

  8. Kim Cofino says:

    Love it! Did you go all the way back to Jess McCulloch’s original post to see where it started?

  9. If you look closely, I think Quinn is trying to run me over with his bicycle on his commute to work.

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