Saturday, November 2, 2013

The SALT club

A couple of years ago, one of my closest friends moved back to Australia.  I was nearly inconsolable for months, and while I was definitely alone and friendless, it had me (and my mom) thinking: How many other homeschoolers were having trouble connecting with the homeschool community?  
So that very night we decided to create a club where homeschoolers connect to likeminded homeschoolers.  We spent several hours trying to come up with a cool acronym, and finally ended up with "SALT", which stands for "Society for Artistic and Literary Teens".  The very first meeting, we met up at Edgar's Cafe on 84th street (Edgar Allan Poe street).  They had WONDERFUL cheesecake (this was before I went vegan) and the decor was very quaint and quirky.  Apparently my parents went on a date here many moons ago.  
So, after sorting out the unforeseen problem of NOT HAVING ENOUGH CHAIRS, we shared our favorite books to break the ice.  

The meetings themselves are very relaxed, and are a mix of homeschool veterans and newcomers to SALT.  Sometimes I assign optional "homework", which is usually something like, "Dress up like a pirate" or "Bring a portable instrument to Bryant park where we'll be spazzes and sing to our hearts' content".  It's usually just to get to know each other. 
The most recent SALT club took place in Little India just yesterday, because Diwali starts on Sunday.  So I asked everyone to research Diwali so they're not out of the know.  
After rehearsal for Yeast Nation (warning: shameless self-advertisement), I, my brother, and our friends Izzy, Luna and Leo took the subway to Jackson Heights in Queens.  I... honestly don't think I've ever been to Queens before.  It's embarrassing.  I'm in Manhattan and Brooklyn all week!  We then met up with brother and sister Zachary and Candace (Jazz musicians who just moved from San Francisco!) and  Jules (who is my age and EXTREMELY interested in visual arts) in front of Patel Brothers.  Patel Brothers is a grocery store which has ALL KINDS of specialty/imported/exotic ingredients, like atta flour, garam masala, Indian sweets, frozen chapatis... they were selling diyas (lamps for Diwali) as well, and even henna that came in a tube!  After browsing a bit, we found a buffet, and a couple more of our friends, Julia, Sofe, and Michael, came.  

There are quite a few buffets and diners in Little India, and VERY reasonably priced (10-12 dollars).  The owner was surprisingly friendly and welcoming to us, considering that we were a dozen loud, crazy homeschool teens.  but we got some amazing food (rice, tender, saucy potatoes, fresh naan bread, and some GLORIOUSLY spiced chick peas).  AND they gave us free rice pudding!
We then wandered around the area, window shopping and seeing the sights.  My mom found us, which  I thought rather impressive, as she (we) NEVER go to Queens.  Luna and Izzy drifted off to look at clothes, Quintin and Leo went off as well, which left the rest of us to browse the shops.  One in particular that was quite cool was Butal Emporium.  It was recommended to me by a homeschool mommylord.  I left Little India with some turmeric and adhesive bindis.  Eventually, everyone came back and my mom took a picture of us!  
from left to right: Candace, me, Julia, Izzy, Sofe, Luna, Leo, Michael, and Quintin.  Zach sort of disappeared.

I definitely think that organizing SALT meetings was one of the best things I've done.  A lot of homeschoolers have made friends through it, and if they were new to homeschooling, then it seemed like the transition was easier.  It has grown quite a bit through the years.   I love meeting all of the awesome teens that come to the meetings!   

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