MicroUMA Jan CBE 2022 – ‘Gap Year’ project, diversion to Ukraine.

So we just had the 5th session of the Consent-Based Education course. That session is called Living and Learning, Creativity and Flow, and as part of it I share the Unschooled Masters project with the group. Then as the optional between session activity to help deepen folks experience of the course, I offer up the idea to do a 2 week ‘microUMA’ – a self-directed inquiry in the spirit of the UMA. I like to take part in this endeavour as well.

If you are reading this because follow this blog, you might remember that at the end of last year my microUMA was all about steel tongue drums. This year it’s a bit different, because at the end of 2021 I decided to go on a virtual gap year. I wanted to take a bit of a break in 2022, and do something playful and new and learn some things outside of my usual range of study. At first I thought I might actually do some travelling, but I realised that wasn’t a good option so I would do it remotely. I wanted to go to South East Asia, as I don’t know very much about that part of the world, and I took the countries featured in Street Food Asia (Netlflix) as the inspiration for my itinerary (I reordered them to make them make sense as a geographical route). For the month of January I ‘went’ to South Korea. In February I was in Japan. I’ve been sharing all of my adventures on my personal FB page.

Anyway, my itinerary had me hearing to Taiwan for March, but just before I was due to go there, Putin invaded Ukraine and it all seemed a bit frivolous to carry on to Taiwan when a massive knowledge gap had become apparent to me about Ukraine. I just couldn’t carry on with my route as planned, in the event of this horrendous situation. So I made the decision to reroute my gap year, to Ukraine.

So, I’ve been exploring Ukraine for March, and this exploration is what I will be sharing in blog posts over the next couple of weeks, as my microUMA for this Consent-Based Education course cycle.

So far, I have been doing some reading about Ukrainian food culture and cooking, thanks to a beautiful book called Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules – check out Olia’s instagram for info her activism for Ukraine, her brother is a civilian volunteer fighting there now and her parents are there also, and she’s being so generous with her sharing and campaigning.

I also came across Petrykivka painting, a democratic setting similar to the Cabin and the Lodge called One Crazy School, LGBTQ+ human rights activist Olena Shevchenko, and started to get into some history.

When I did my undergraduate degree (before I knew about unschooling and was still on a traditional path), I did my dissertation on Jewish resistance to the Holocaust – it focused on examples of protest and resistance mainly in and around concentration camps. I didn’t realise about Ukraine’s Jewish history, and I’m really interested to understand that better, so that is where my research is going to head. I’d like to understand more about the this, and how it’s intersecting with and influencing what is happening there now. And I’m going to start with learning about the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and this piece too.

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