Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Traveling

I'm on my last two days in Europe on a "short" eight day visit. I had a great time at the International School of Brussels where I did two days of workshops and an evening concert for families. The students, teachers, parents, and staff were all wonderful to work with and the work we did has set the stage for some marvelous "Bridges" collaborations next year and well into the future. Fourth garde teacher Cheryl Terry, Media Specialist Jeffrey Brewster, and guidance conselor Jill Tulonen have all been helping with Bridges projects for a couple of years now but this visit was a terrific leap forward. Cheryl will be moving on to another ISB, the International School of Bangkok in Thailand, and she hopes to continue building Bridges there, and BOPH is well established now at the Inernational School of Brussels, thanks to Cheryl, Jill, Jeffrey and the other teachers there.
In our culminating BOPH assembly at ISB Brussels we sang "We Are Walking a Bridge of Peace" in 9 languages including new translations in Swedish, Hebrew, French and Japanese. ISB is a very diverse population and the grade 4 students whoe came from the countries where these languages are spoken came up and sang "their language" with me for the rest of the audience. It was wonderful to see how much each "group" supported the others. When each group sang the rest of the audience exploded with applause. We also sang a rousing version of "Hear My Story," during which the students sang, moved and smiled from the tips of their toes to the ceiling in the theatre. It was exciting.
Earlier in the week I had a great visit to ASB, the American School of Barcelona, where I am returning this afternoon to sing at their International Day Celebration. Lower School principal Nancy Boyd and all the ASB staff always make me feel completely welcome whenever I visit. This was my 3rd or 4th time at the school and they too are active BOPH members.
The attached photos are some of the "ups" of this trip. They show me "volunteering" to assist a street performer. The caption of the photo should probably be "Know what you're volunteering for before you raise your hand." When no one offered to volunteer I went up because as a presenter I know how that feels. What I didn't know was that I was volunteering to have him balance "me" on top of his shoulders. My dismount was a little shaky but all's well that ends well and the experience left no permanent scars.
The "downs" of travel on this trip will be detailed in a future post in which I'll tell of how my luggage was stolen in a train station by some very clever thieves. That's all for now.

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