Oh my, how time flies! It has been 5 months since my last post though given how much has been happening I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s actually been that long. Nevertheless, I’m well overdue to give an update and to say thank-you for the amazing support in the past months. Right now I’m in Houston International Airport waiting for my next flight to Rio and then on to Salvador.
In June, thanks to the financial support of the Avon Foundation for Women, I was able to return to Brazil to teach in Salvador as well as a full week in Rio starting a new harp class with a social project there. I also took another harp with me so there are now 8 harps that have been donated, thanks to the support of the generous donors who have contributed in various ways.
Here are a couple of photos of my time in Salvador with the wonderful students there. We had lots of lessons and two masterclasses exploring healthy harping, proprioception and all kinds of other useful concepts that help understand how we use our bodies, not just at the harp. I love how the students are so trusting, dedicated (some of them travel 3 hours each day just to practice!) and so eager to try new things. I ask a lot of them and they always play along. I can’t wait to see them again next week – once again, thanks to the Avon Foundation.
But let me backtrack a bit to the harp moving. Typically, I fly with United Airlines as they have the most direct routing (Calgary-Houston-Rio) and so far, the harps have always arrived in great condition. The flights cost more but because I’m usually taking the harp wrapped only in bubble wrap and in a bicycle box, it’s safer to have fewer transfers. The staff are always interested and helpful when I arrive to check in and even more so, people are super curious when I arrive and pick up my “luggage” in Brazil. In June, my check-in didn’t go as smoothly as usual though. Normally I pay a bit extra, about $100-$150 for the oversize box. The rules are always the same but apparently can be interpreted quite differently. So much so that this time when I arrived at the check-in, I was told it would be $500! There was no way I could pay that! So I took a big breath, chatted, asked if they could consult with a manager etc etc, waited, happily chatted more about the harp and what I was doing in Brazil, calmly waited more until finally the attendant came over, pasted a baggage tag on the box, handed me my boarding card, asked me to tape up the box (that includes doing all the bubble wrap etc which I always leave til the end so they can see the harp – and even then sometimes it still gets reopened!). Then she helped me load it on the oversize luggage ramp and wished me a good flight and successful trip. I paid $0!
There are so many examples of the generosity of people and companies that have been coming up lately. I have to say, I’m pretty overwhelmed and incredibly grateful. There are so many stories to share and I will start trying to put them out a bit more regularly! In the meantime, I’m off again, eager to see my students and also a little concerned about the security situation. There’s an extremely important second-round run off election on the 28th – the day I fly home. Really hoping that things calm down and the politicians begin to find ways to do the job they are meant to do which is serve all of the people of their wonderful country that I have grown to love so much!
Live FB performance of Amazing Grace (arranged by Susann Macdonald). Performed on July 4, 2017 as a thank-you for reaching $3000 mark of the 2017 Harping for Harps campaign.