My commitment to blog about each day of this pandacademic year has taken a real hit lately. Today I am finally getting around to writing about day 109, which was Thursday, March 25th. I hope to catch up soon. It’s just been a pretty busy time recently for me with supporting Learners and families within Abrome, responding to prospective families, and supporting folks doing the good work of liberation outside of Abrome. Plus, the pandemic has certainly wore me down as it has many others. This has been exacerbated by my observation of how people and organizations have thrown in the towel and surrendered to chance instead of prioritizing the health and welfare of others. But we shall fight on.

There is less to talk than usual for Abrome’s day 109, as it was the lowest attendance day we have had in quite a while. One, the cell that was meeting near the lake had to take a remote day, and the Flying Squad cell only had two Learners show up. This was in part because three Learners were still quarantining from the break, and another Learner had planned to take this day off. But slow days are not enough to slow us down.

For the morning meeting the youngest Learner wanted to lead the meeting, and with so few present we were much more flexible with how we would approach the meeting and the day, and we all felt that we could table some of the discussion topics we would have otherwise addressed that morning. For prompts the Learner asked us for our favorite type of sports vehicle, and our favorite type of grass. What we found is that there is not much excitement around sports vehicles in the group, and that bamboo is the favorite type of grass for half of the Abrome crew, as well as giant pandas.

Next we talked about our plans for the day. Both Facilitators expressed a desire to walk a bit and to enjoy some open space and set up the hammock to relax a bit, so we decided to head toward the Long Center to see what that might offer us. Unsurprisingly, the Learners were focused on where they would be able to get food that they were often not able to get at home, and we made plans to stop at a fast food joint and a food truck on our way back to the pickup point at the end of the day.


The weather was glorious, as Facilitator Ariel said, so the walk along the river was particularly nice. Even better, a Learner that had been wearing pants every day decided to follow our advice and wear shorts, which meant that he was able to enjoy the warmer weather instead of having to deal with it. We were thrilled to stumble upon a nice little green patch next to a pond and decided that this was where we were going to set up for a good portion of the day. But first, we took turns running to the bathroom while others watched the backpacks, and then Facilitator Ariel set up the hammock. The hammock was a big hit with the Learners, with each wanting to spend time in it. The hammock also gave us an opportunity to talk about boundaries—the need to ask permission to use someone else’s stuff, masking when close to each other, and when to step back and not engage with someone when they are doing something else (such as answering a phone call).

Facilitator Ariel told a parent of one of the Learners that morning that today might be a good day for light sabers, so one of the Learners brought his light saber, as did Facilitator Ariel. Eventually the light sabers came out and there was a violent battle between the Learners. Fortunately there were no serious injuries had, other than arms that got sliced off and severed arteries.


As we requested a slower day without so many Learners there was also a lot of time sitting and being by ourselves. One Learner found himself down by the pond staring at the birds in the lake, with the skyline of downtown in the distance. Meanwhile, another Learner found himself up a tree and balancing himself well out on a branch that would probably not hold a Learner of a larger size.


We had some challenges on the day, as well. One Learner broke some branches off of a tree and that led to us talking about the Abrome principles: take care of yourself, take care of others, and take care of the space. We talked about whether or not it was appropriate to break branches off of a living tree for the sake of breaking branches, versus having a need for it. Separately, I engaged with a Learner on his need to provide commentary and critique the actions of the other Learner. It seemed that the Learner was trying to establish himself as older and more mature and therefore needing to point out the differences between him and the younger Learner. This allowed us to talk about development and whether or not we should be judging others on age, maturity, or other issues. Finally, there was still a fixation on food for much of the day, even though we committed to going to the food destinations they requested at the end of the day.


But the Facilitators were steadfast in sticking with the original plan, and not going back so early for food that we were left just sitting around waiting for the day to end. With a chunk of time reserved for staying in place, one of the Learners went into discovery mode, and began cloverleafing around our patch of green in the city. Soon he decided to run up a small hill where he found a great view of the city and a representative view of Texas, with select cities all over it. It was a pretty great installation into the city for the public to enjoy, and it would be great if we could find ways to add some context to it so that it included names and history that is not confined to present day Texas.

Having been able to take in the space on this slower day, we packed up and began our trek back to the pickup spot with plans to stop at the food joints along the way. First we hit P. Terry’s where the Learners fell prey to the draw of tasty but not the healthiest of options. Having spent a good amount of money and time there, we then continued our trek to the Thai ice cream food truck we had hit on Monday. This time, though, the Learner who chose to splurge a bit at P. Terry’s did not have the money necessary to get ice cream. It was a great lesson on the limits of money. Meanwhile I keep modeling bringing all my food each day, as a healthier and less expensive alternative to always wanting to prepare food and treats.