Tuesday, March 5, 2013
MY DAUGHTER, MADELINE, and I just got back from our two week trip to Milan, Paris and Copenhagen. We went with the group from Heritage Ballet to study ballet in those cities, and to have fun and explore and be tourists. We had such an incredible trip. The kids worked for over a year to raise the money and Julie Barban planned an outstanding itinerary that took us on all kinds of adventures such as the climbing up the Eiffle Tower, walking to see the Little Mermaid and taking ballet lessons at an International Ballet School in Bergamot, Italy. The highlight of the trip was attending the ballet in each of the cities. We have now been in some of the most beautiful ballet and opera theatres in the world watching incredible performances. In Paris, on Valentine’s Day, we went to the Paris Opera ballet performance of Kaguyahime (The Moon). The story is about Kaguyahime, or Princess Kaguya, who lived in the 10th century. It is a Japanese folk tale. The orchestra were Japanese drummers. The ballet was influenced by Japanese martial arts like kung fu and so it was athletic, contemporary and so energizing. It is something I will remember forever. When I asked Madeline what I should write about in this article this week she said “oh Mom, the food.” She is a chip off the old block, I have to say. She appreciates good food just as much as I do. In all three cities we enjoyed the many cafes and restaurants that sold really good, homemade, fresh, organic (when possible) food. We ate our way through our trip. We joked about the “gelato” alarm that we would go off every couple of hours. I personally think I had the best coffee I’ve ever had and some of the best wine. And, of course, we had some lovely encounters with people who made us feel so welcome. Two women, who spoke no English, served us breakfast every morning at our hostel in Paris. These women made us feel so welcome and special “Oh, les Canadiens …” I was so proud of the kids as they all used their French skills to interact with these two people who started our day, every day, in Paris with a smile and outstanding service. It was great for all the kids to feel the impact of really caring customer service. It makes such a difference when you are away from home. One image that is in my head and will stay forever, is of Madeline wearing a pink beret that she purchased as a souvenir. I watched this little pink hat bop around exploring and enjoying and learning. Thank you, Julie Barban, for providing such a rich experience for the kids (and adults) of this community.