Just a normal Friday, I guess...

Trip Start Aug 07, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New Jersey
Friday, October 16, 2009

Hey all! Not a very eventful week--that's a good thing! The schools have gone smoothly, no notable hotel experiences... we've just been cruising along.

Today, we did three shows at one middle school. Seventh grade was the first assembly. The show began with the 7th grade vice-principal taking the microphone from Kelsey right before she was about to introduce the show, asking her, "I don't need to introduce you, right? We can just get this thing going?" Uh... well... that's completely up to you. "Alright, well what is this thing--character ed or something?" Uh... yeah.
Then he proceeded to give the most flat, distant, who-cares sort of introduction. Ridiculous--it made us so mad. Eventually, we rationalized that the video will speak for itself--kids will appreciate it and enjoy it as they go along, despite the poor introduction. We just regretted that the introduction failed to set the appropriate tone for the assembly.
The audience was fine--pretty normal. When the show was over, the guidance counselor had to dismiss everyone, because the vice-principal left, the principal was never around, and most of the teachers had left! There was an entire class of kids left without a teacher! When she finally got everyone dismissed, the counselor came up to us and said "Good job with the show--it's just too bad that it wasn't appropriate for this audience." Pardon us? "Not to criticize you guys, I mean you have no control over it, but I just wish someone had previewed the show." Well Camfel does provide preview videos online. "Yes, I know, I've worked with Camfel for years, and other videos have been great--but this one just doesn't really apply to these students." Really? How so? Give us some feedback. "Well, this is a very affluent group of students. So I think this is just like watching TV for them--singing along to the songs and such--I didn't feel like they were with you." Well, the great thing about this video's theme is that whatever walk of life these kids are from, they can find something that applies. Life is unfair to everyone. "Oh no, I agree. I think the theme of unfairness is great."

... We don't really know what happened. We suspect that for whatever reason, she didn't like the video. Then she looked to the audience's reaction to try to support her belief. Kids murmured at parts, they sung along with some of the songs--that's completely norrmal, even a good thing. And about affluence? I don't know... there's only one segment about a girl whose parents didn't have enough money to support her joining a soccer club in school, so she had to work harder in practice to compete. But beside that, wealth is irrelevant to the segments.

So, she was a discouragement. And by the end of the first show, we felt like we were in for a long, hard, rest of the day. There were two hours in between each show, so we were there for a while.

It was cold in the auditorium, so between shows we wore our sweatshirts and created shadow puppets in front of the projectors.

(Kelsey's Insert:  Michael is actaully very good at shadow puppets.  We were working off an online how-to site and he got a lot of them.  However, all of my shadow puppets looked like aliens with big eyes and horns.  Bunnies, camels, faces, dogs - all alien blobs.)

Shows two and three were much better. The assistant principals for those grades were much more welcoming and friendly. Their reaction to the video, and the reaction of teachers and students was much more positive.

The set-up, also, was in fact very good. It was a nice big auditorium stage, and everything went smoothly. All in all, it was a nice day.

On our way out of town, Kelsey and I stopped at a Panera. We really only wanted to buy some Pink Ribbon bagels (in honor of October being breast cancer awareness month), but we ended up staying for about five hours! We booked some more hotels for the upcoming days, organized our itinerary folder, even played some games while we ate dinner and sipped tea. It was a nice relaxing way to wrap up our week :)

My mom and grandma are visiting tomorrow! They're staying with the Kildows, and we're staying in a Candlewood Inn a few minutes from their house.

But oh my goodness, this Candlewood is amazing--our favorite hotel yet. It is an extended stay suite, with FREE guest laundry, a workout room, and a fully-equipped kitchenette! We made use of every one of those ammenities already tonight - even washing clothes that weren't dirty just because we could FOR FREE. Fantastic. Love it.

Well it's bedtime--we're so excited for visitors tomorrow! We miss seeing loved ones, so we're anticipating a really refreshing and encouraging weekend.


- Michael
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