23 September 2011

Flat Stanley

The first grade classes at our daughter's school do a Flat Stanley project every year. You know Flat Stanley, right? He's a kid who gets accidentally squished to two dimensions, which turns out to be sort of cool because he can slip under doors and travel in a mailing envelope. The school project has the kids make their own Flat Stanley, write a letter to someone, and mail their Stanley off on an adventure.

Me being me, I suggested that the girlie send her Flat Stanley to a State Department friend of mine who was then in Ethiopia. So she did. We got some wonderful emails and photos from Ethiopia:

Sorry for the many delays of Flat Stanley - he has had some adventures, though. We went to a track meet at the International Community School in Addis Ababa. Stanley had a tour of the school, looked at a Tukle, the traditional round Ethiopian house, and hung out in a garden, including a banana tree. The running track here is the best running rack in East Africa, and is a track where the Ethiopian Olympic team frequently trains.

Then they went to Sabahar, a silk weaving place started by friends of ours, where local extract and weave silk at fair wages. Stanley got to hang out with some silk worms and mulberry leaves - the silk worms seemed happy with Stanley and did take any bites out of him - they only eat the leaves!

Stanley got lost for a little while - we had hoped to send him home during a recent visit back to the US, but he got lost in our stuff, so instead we took him traveling some more with us in Ethiopia. A couple weeks ago, we traveled to Axum and Lalibela, Ethiopia. Axum has these huge obelisks called "stellae" that were built over 600 years ago. The churches at Lalibela are often thought to be the 8th wonder of the world - buildings carved out of rock since the 1200's. Look these places up - they're pretty cool.

We may get some other traveling with Stanley done - then finally Stanley should be ready to head home - sorry it's long after the end of the school year, but I hope you enjoy seeing some of his travels!

Stanley didn't come home. And a year went by, and the girlie was now a second grader, and she saw all the Flat Stanleys go up on the bulletin boards in the first grade hallway, and she got teary. Where's my Flat Stanley? Oh, out having adventures, I said, he'll be home one day.

And then Maternal Dementia posted about their Flat Stanley going missing, and I felt better. Except that she was able to clone theirs, with the full acquiescence of her child, because Stanley had been lost In Their Very House, so I didn't really feel better. But I knew in my heart of hearts that Stanley was going to turn up.

And you know what? Stanley just came home, after 18 months of international travel. I do believe he's the best traveled Stanley ever sent out from that school - having gone to Virginia, then Ethiopia, then Pennsylvania, then back to Ethiopia, and then to New Jersey, and now back to New York. He's just exhausted, and terribly thin, but we're all so pleased to have him back. I think he'll stay home for a while.

But we're definitely going to have to fatten him up. Luckily, there's an Ethiopian restaurant in the next town. He'll probably like that.


Liz Miller said...

That is AWESOME.

Jody said...

That is pretty cool.

We were the guardians of a Flat Stanley for my cousin, our first year of marriage. I was SO STRESSED about making sure Stanley had fun adventures, but even MORE stressed about getting him back to my cousin in time for the second-grade class presentation. We made it, thank goodness.

Our kids' school didn't DO Flat Stanley. I was so bummed.

De said...

I was not aware of this school project! What a lot of fun M's Stanley had - she could probably write another book for the series.

I imagine Stanley has had enough Ethiopian food - but I'd love to go to the restaurant. We had one in Hartford for such a short time and, not surprisingly in this area, it closed after I had been there only once.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I wonder if a picture of Flat Stanley would have sufficed--taken, of course, while he was off being a globe-trotter.

Kyla said...

What a well-traveled Stanley!

Neither of my kids did a Flat Stanley project (well, KayTar is in 1st this year, so maybe?), but KayTar enjoyed the books very much last year.

kathy a. said...

my daughter had a similar project, but meant to be done closer to home. the teacher had two plush flying squirrels, named Pete and RePete, who had their own carry bags and went home with students for a week at a time. They each had journals, so the students wrote about adventures and supplied drawings and photographic proof.

it was a great project! each kid got to have a squirrel several times. the burden was on the kids to find adventures for the squirrels, and to write and report back. everyone was interested in what the squirrels had been up to.

Bibliomama said...

VERY cool. Our kids have 'travel buddies' - little stuffed animals - and my husband's sales force all considered it a personal affront if they didn't get to take the travel buddy. He went from California to Europe to Australia Malaysia and China - I think we established that he'd gone all the way around the world in the end. We have a great picture of a very proper Japanese gentleman holding the tiny elephant in one hand and a bottle of Japanese beer in the other, looking slightly bewildered.

mayberry said...

Totally worth the wait! Our Stanley went to NYC. Should've had him pay you a visit.

Anna ~ Random Handprints said...

this post makes me feel less bad about being totally neurotic about my kid's FS - first i made a copy in case the original went missing and then i made FS visit our most responsible friends, even though they live only one state away.

they returned him, with a six page typed letter, and a passel of adventures.

which reminds me, i have a thank you note to write...

leanne said...

I love Flat Stanley. What a neat idea. So glad M's Stanley finally came back home -- but what a trip!

abby said...

How awesomely fun!

Your post, and all the wonderful comments, are giving this teacher/traveller all sorts of ideas. If you ever have another character looking for adventure, you're welcome to send her my way.

Or I may just create my own...