I'm home.

My House is in Hurricane, which if you don't know is a medium-sized town about fourty minutes outside of Olympus. It's part farming community and part botany experiment. Half my House are farmers, and the other half are botanists, which makes for very streamlined conversation, at least among the adults. My father is on the botany side of things and my mother is the odd one out- she's an entomologist, as far as I can tell mostly studying the interactions of insects and crops.

There are five biological families in the house and I am towards the younger end of the children. However, I am the eldest of my parents' biological children. I have a younger brother called Asher, who's six (Mars years) and embarking on puberty to my Grandmother Vida's distress.

Grandmother Vida is pretty much my second mother, if not almost my first. When my mother went back to work when I had turned one, Grandmother Vida was not the only adult at home (Uncle Zoo and Aunt Hova, who's Atrina's mother, were also at home), but for whatever reason- perhaps experience with babies- Granny was the person I grew most attached to after my own parents. She's not my biological grandmother, she's actually the eldest of the adults in the House, and had already sent her eldest children off to lives and careers of their own when I was born, but it never mattered, just as it never mattered that Atrina was my House sister. Not everyone lives in a House any more, but I highly recommend it. People say it's de-personalizing, but it never was for me. There were always people around, and yet we could afford enough space for everyone to get some peace and quiet when they wanted it. And Uncle Zoo can cook far better than my biological parents.

I'm back in that "peace and quiet" now. It's not quiet and peaceful as I remember. There are five children left at home, the youngest is now five and distraught that Asher won't play with her so much anymore. Even so, it's not ever as peaceful as it was at University, especially when everyone's at home. I suppose I will have to begin to decide whether I want to live in a House in the future, or at least to think about it.

I went for a walk around the town a couple of days ago. It seems very sleepy and wholesome. The greenhouses are already filling up with green. It was a rite of passage in my town to go on the greenhouse school trip (or two or three times) and walk between the wet green plants that grew so well in the environment they pressed against the glass ceiling as if trying to escape. It's not quite like that now: only the heated greenhouses are flourishing, growing fresh vegetables for the winter. In a week or so, the town will begin to wake up, planting and ploughing, and soon the bare fields will go green producing enough grain for half of Olympus. (Yes, if you eat bread in Olympus, chances are good that it grew around Hurricane.) This has always been my favourite time of year in Olympus, and I've not seen the spring here since I left for University. It's hard to believe it's only my 11th Spring.

Anyway, Uncle Jason is calling for cooking help, since we're eating together tonight, and that means cooking for ten, assuming everyone makes it home (my mother is often at work late). I have to go an help or someone will send Asher looking for me and I don't like the way he barges into my room. More tomorrow- I still haven't updated you on my work situation.

Your Guide to Hurricane,


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