Although it feels like I have been away for a long time, I have been gone from Seattle for less than a week. I arrived in Paris on Sunday and have been busy visiting friends, making new connections, and presenting at the International Drama / Theatre Education conference.
Oh, and today I took a day trip (?!) to London.
Attending the conference has been inspiring, both for its content and in the many conversations I have had with colleagues. I’m walking away from this week with some new and exciting ideas for my company and inspired to go back to my creative work. It has been too long since I’ve written a play or a story. I want to pick up the pen again.
At the conference, I presented a paper based on the Capstone Project I did while on my Fulbright last year. The paper highlighted the need for developing intergenerational drama programs, discussed how the intergenerational drama program I designed in Singapore theoretically and practically helped meet those needs, and shared some of the findings from the project.
In addition to the paper, I also led a workshop called “Bridging Generational Gaps” at the conference. The workshop gave practitioners some program objectives, structures, workshop ideas, and activities to help connect generations through drama.
My workshop was attended by people from Slovenia, Greece, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Sweden, China, Germany, Argentina, and others I think I’ve forgotten. I found the multiple cultural perspectives brought me new insights on intergenerational work and enriched our classroom experience. It was really awe-inspiring.
It happened to be my birthday on the day I presented the workshop. Someone knew about it, and at the end of the workshop, as I was erasing the chalkboard, all of the participants started singing “Happy Birthday” to me. I turned around and saw caring faces of wonderful people from all over the world sharing this moment with each other and with me. I was really touched.
Paris is my favorite city in the world (to date), so being here has been soul satisfying. So,of course, I’ve had to find time to embrace the city. After the conference was done for the day, friends and I climbed to the top of the Sacre Couer basilica (hundreds of tiny, spiral, stone stairs – often very dark – freaky!but worth it), went to the Notre Dame, and sat outside eating ice cream, eating dinner, or having coffee at one of Paris’s hundreds of cafes.
While in Paris I have also had the good fortune to stay with a wonderful friend I affectionately call “Boy Wonder.” He is an inspiring (and very talented) fashion photographer who has been a gracious and kind host during my stay.
Today, Thursday, I snuck out of the conference and took the Eurostar to London. It was definitely a lot to do in a day, but worth every cent and second.
I haven’t been in London for over a decade – I think the last time I was doing my doctoral research at Age Exchange. Being in London again was both familiar and strange. I did not feel a big attachment to the city when I first arrived, even though I have spent a lot of time there. And – I was amazed at how incredibly busy it was.
In my recollection of traveling there in the mid and late 1980s, studying there in the early 1990s and again in 2002, and making a smattering of other visits to London over the years, I do not recall it being so packed with people. Has London doubled in population in the past few decades or, more likely, has my pushing and shoving tolerance gotten smaller?
Even though I had some time to do sightseeing in London today, the real reason for my trip was to watch a 100 piece orchestra record the music for my cousin’s new movie. It was an absolutely incredible experience! Not only did I get to see my cousin (who is awesome by the way), but I had the chance to meet several of the people who are working on the movie, including the composer and the sound engineer, listen to an incredibly talented number of musicians play original music, and get a few sneak previews of the film.
The whole scoring process is far more complicated than you might think, and takes an amazing amount of very detail-oriented teamwork. It was incredible to watch my cousin and his team work together to smoothly make artistic decision. And I learned something about the movie industry. Very cool. Am so thankful for the opportunity.
I am on my way back to Paris now, and will attend the final day of the conference tomorrow.
On Saturday, I head off to Ethiopia…
More on this and some photos to come. Best wishes from the Chunnel.