Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Secret Garden closes as spring arrives

It seems as though spring is here. Some days are cooler but many are warm. Last weekend we even took the kids to the waterfront and were rewarded with sunburns. Our spanish teacher says it will probably snow again, and the weather can be unpredictable at this altitude. I guess we'll see.

Thursday was the final performance of "The Secret Garden". The cast did an amazing job. It was a great experience for all of us, but I know I was getting tired of repairing puppets and props between rehearsals and shows. The girls did really well and all the puppets found good homes with various cast members. (Thank god! The last thing I wanted was to deal with 20 marionettes and all the other props filling my sun room!) Next week is the wrap party and we're looking forward to having some fun with our new friends here.

It's can be a strange experience learning to live in another country. When Mike first met our friend Betina, he asked her what part of England she was from. It turns out she's Argentine, but most people here learn "The Queen's English". They say things like "trainers" for sneakers and "trousers" for pants,( though if they ask me for a "rubber" -an eraser- I still act surprised). Anyway I have been trying not to be presumptuous. So Thursday night at the show, when I met the English director of the school they were performing at, I was impressed with her command of the language. Respectfully I said, "You really speak English well, have you spent time in the United States?"
She laughed and said. "Well, I'm from Canada."

Yesterday was Mike's birthday and we went out to the local Mexican restaurant. The food is good, but not like Mexican food in the States. There are peas in the bean burritos and no beans, but they have great salsa. Anyway, it's always full of "Gringos'" from out of town.




This morning a festival for world peace set up down in the square.





Nothing represents peace like Itchy and Scratchy!



The giant gun was really impressive when you stand in front of it.



An article I wrote will be published in Escape Artist Magazine's October issue. It's called "Learning To Live in Spanish". It's an online magazine and this one's in English. Also my brother Duncan just started a blog. It´s called Duncan's Brain :)
Chau todos!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Naomi Turns 5, Opening Night, and snow...Lots and lots of snow

Last weekend we celebrated Naomi's fifth birthday at a children's play place called Barilochicos (which literally means Bariloche Kids). As the kids came in I greeted each child with a kiss while Naomi unceremoniously ripped open the gift... as you can see in this picture. When I mentioned to a mother that in the United States gift opening is a big ordeal done all at once with a careful list of gifts and who gave them, she stared at me in shock.


Here you can see Naomi and Phoebe sharing a ride on the train.


This is the girls with a friend at the end of the party. All in all it went quite well, except that the next day I awoke with a miserable sore throat and a horrible head ache. As Jocelyn (Chloe's teacher from Australia) said later on "All those little ones can be a bit germy!" I guess I shouldn't have kissed them all, but I think I was supposed to.



After the party I had only two days to finish everything for the play. I painted a portrait for the hallway of the mansion. I repaired all the puppets that have been damaged from rehearsal and transport. I sewed the backdrop and drew a flower border for the program. By Thursday morning I'd lost my voice and felt awful. That night we went to the big production.
It was a charming performance. Chloe and Phoebe are two of three kids in the play and they did great. There was a director of a bilingual school in the audience, and she has asked the cast to perform it again in two weeks on their stage. The kids are really excited. This is a lousy picture of the girls onstage.


Here is Chloe puppeteering Robin.


This is a scene where they are driving to the mansion.


A slightly fuzzy picture of Mr. Cravin and the blue jays.


And here's a shot of the flower garden onstage.


On Saturday it rained all day, by Sunday it turned into drippy, wet flakes of snow, and here it is Monday afternoon. Schools have been cancelled and the snow is still coming down hard. The gray clouds block out all the mountains that surround the city. For all the snow we've had, I have yet to see a single plow, and only a few stores have bothered to sprinkle out sawdust on the sidewalk.
The kids felt cooped up so we took them to the park.


This is their snowman, christened "Hermes" by Naomi. (We bought Chloe season three of "Futurama" for her birthday, so of course they gave their snowman a brain slug).


Today I'm feeling better, so I guess I'll get started repairing the puppets for the next show! Chau...
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut

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