A Day of Hope in Tiananmen Square

Finally getting caught up on video work shot, but not produced.

We are very fortunate to have many great interactions with people as we circle the planet. Often the best days are surprises that take on a magic all their own. November 19th, 2017 in Beijing was no exception. What follows is a collaboration between Nicky and Stacia filming, Nicky editing, Alexander and Annika playing, dad writing and narration by Alexander.                                                    Hoping you enjoy our message of hope.


Japanese culture: Gardening

The rock garden.
 Though the rock garden may be placing rocks in a bowl, if you get the opportunity to take part in this calming, and intricate activity, you will find it is a whole lot more. This activity takes patience, as well as a passion for what you are creating. You must feel as though you are standing right in the center of your tiny garden. Using this, I knew where and how to place my rocks and moss. After that, it all fell into place. After all, this tiny garden is perfected from your hands and only limited by your imagination.  – Alexander Balog


Japanese gardening with the master.

Little one, where does your heart take you?

Sensei, is it the items in the garden, or the space without, that makes the garden complete?

Master, how does one know when the garden is complete?

Japanese gardening. Who knew? #Alexander #kyoto

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Your garden is complete when the heart says it is complete.



Japanese culture: Geisha

 Growing up with only brothers, I’m not quite sure what exactly is the definition of “a little girls best day ever”, but I suspect heading out in Kyoto with Maman to get kitted up in full makeup as Geisha is pretty darn close.

I believe the story will begin, “Once upon a time…



They strolled…

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And rode in a Rickshaw…

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And had a jolly photo shoot that I imagine they will both remember for a very long time. My two beautiful Geisha princesses…

“The highly accomplished courtesans of these districts entertained their clients by dancing, singing, and playing music. Some were renowned poets and calligraphers. Gradually, they all became specialized and the new profession, purely of entertainment, arose.” – Wikipedia

Annika’s Musings on the Subject

“Geisha and Meiko by Annika Balog

I went to the Geisha salon. Then I went to the back room.  We sat in chairs while the workers put on the make-up. And then we put on the dresses and took our pictures. Then we went outside and took more pictures and went in a rickshaw. I enjoyed it very much. Everyone was waving at me and taking pictures of my mom and me. I hope to do this again someday. And I hope I will enjoy it that day too.”


World School Month #1 Done. Annika

8/20 Sounds of letters, beginning sounds, ending sound, short vowels, blends, Add 3-digit numbers with tiles
8/21 Add three digit numbers with carrying over the units, simply algebra, coloring for business card, Chinese tea ceremony, Hike to sacred cliff dwelling, Tanah Lot
8/22 Classical music, reading her stories, business card drawings, add 3-digit with 2 carrying over
8/23 Classical music, game theory, paper airplane contest, re-writing her Tea story, adding, intro to fractions, nature hike, rice cultivation
8/24 Cooking class, writing fractions, Assisted next town research
8/25 Walk through local town, Bali architecture, traditional Bali reed weavings, subtracting, subtracting with borrowing, presenting Tea Ceremony story
8/26 Subtraction, drawing research pictures, technology: uploading photos, creating documents, email with attachments
8/27 Culminating activity: ATV, fractions, story time, kite flying, exit interviews
8/28 Travel day. Car bingo. Site reading with day. Visit to sacred lake. Story time.
8/29 Fractions, adding with tiles, grouping tens, spelling list 1, story time
8/30 Equivalent fractions, subtracting with carrying over, spelling list 2, story time, reading
8/31 Ubud with parents, French
9/1 Green school. Reading with parents
9/2 Reading with parents, clock intro, shapes intro
9/3 Time, spelling, congruent sides, French
9/4 Geometric shape dissections, vocabulary, practice speech, story time, parts of an insect, exit interviews
9/5 Travel Day, Carpe Diem boat, water activities
9/6 Komodo National Park, spelling, sea creature art, story time, water activities
9/7 Adding carrying over paper, spelling, story time, water activities
9/8 Spelling, math equations, place value, story time, comic book writing, water activities
9/9 Water activities, video-taping commercial, French
9/10 Travel day
9/11 Time, rounding, place value, Singapore video, classical music, reading, writing, story time, insects
9/12 Art & Science Museum of Singapore. Travel to Tokyo, time, TM geometric shapes, reading, Japan videos
9/13 Travel morning. Walk to Imperial gardens
9/14 Buddhism, Shintoism, Sumo, Tokyo research, reading, add WP, spelling, compound words, Planet Earth science, bus ride & train rides through city, reading
9/15 NYC video, Japanese business card ceremony, Planet Earth science, Museum of Innovation, reading, time, producing a business card

Ding, Ding. School is in session. Arthur has sent your first assignment.

Kids, your new teacher, Arthur has sent your first assignment.   “In a brief video, no more than 3 minutes each, tell me about yourself and show me who you are.”

Teacher feedback:

“Annika’s vocabulary and comprehension are off the charts. She will be (is?) a force to be reckoned with.

Alexander: introspective and humble. Perhaps the Philosopher-Scientist.
Nicholas: favorite comment: American kids are more American. When I was in Europe it was so easy to pick out the Americans.
I do play video games: Simcity, Civilization, Pokemon Go (caught 230), Battlefront.
Most important thing to convey about school next year: each child will have a significant voice in what they will be learning. If Alexander wants to learn more astronomy then that’s what we’ll do. If Nicholas wants to learn more technology then that’s what we’ll do.
The video was amazing. You were correct when you felt that your kids felt comfortable in front of a camera.
Two weeks!”