No birds! No birding! The magical birding month of May, and a whole week without either! An unthinkable circumstance in nearly any situation!
This past week was indeed a rare May week for me where I did absolutely no birding, and it was definitely for a good reason. My son was competing in the World Finals of the “Odyssey of the Mind” competition in East Lansing, Michigan all week. Their team finished first in state for the right to compete in the World Finals, and it was our first time doing so. It was well worth a birdless week, even for a bird nut such as myself!
If you’re not familiar with Odyssey of the Mind, it’s billed as a ‘creative competition’. It consists of two parts. First, there are typically 6 problems presented to the kids many months before the competition starts. The kids choose one of the problems, and come up with a short skit that represents their solution to the problem. The second component is called “Spontaneous”, where at the competition itself, the team is presented a problem and are only given a few minutes to come up with a solution.
The World Finals brought 847 teams from across the globe to compete, including teams from Togo, Switzerland, Poland, Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, South Korea, Great Britain, Germany, and more. Michigan State campus was pretty much owned by the kids these weeks, including all the dorms where the kids and parents stayed. One big highlight for our kids…they signed up for a “buddy team” and were given a team from Japan. What an incredible experience. We saw each other’s presentations, hung out in the dorms with them, and ate with them. A highlight was a formal Japanese tea ceremony, where the kids on our team were each individually, formally served tea, and then were taught to perform the ceremony for each of the Japanese boys!
A wonderful experience, and DEFINITELY worth a birdless week! I’m back now though…where are those binoculars… 😉