This year I got two weeks for spring break. Chandler is on a modified year round schedule so we get two weeks for all of our breaks. It was a lot of fun, and I was busy those two weeks. I started off vacation with a trip to the dentist, yipee! I hadn't been in years and I was so glad to finally be able to go and have my teeth cleaned. The dentist I have gone to my whole life wasn't on the insurance for the two previous districts I worked for, and I was hesitant of going to a different one, and luckily they are one the insurance chandler uses, so I was a happy girl, and I'm a nerd and enjoyed getting my teeth cleaned.
We then took an impromptu trip to the train park with my cousins, siblings and their kids. We had so much, especially because my nephews love trains. They were so excited to ride the train and then go to the museum and see the trains. Another day we also went down to the Mesa Arts Center for their festival of creativity, the kids had so much fun, and it's always fun to watch their excitement.
St. Patrick's Day was a fun adventure! I got to spend it with 8 of my students and a bunch of other orchestra kiddos at the Elementary and Jr. High Allstate Orchestra Festival. It was way out in Surprise, so we got a bus to take all the kids so their parents didn't have to drive out there and stay all day. We were supposed to leave at 6:45 am (yuck) but got off a little late. After about five minutes on the freeway the bus driver decided to get off because the steering wheel was sticking, not good! We found a parking lot to hangout in and she used my phone to call the maintenance people to see what to do. She was finally able to get a hold of someone and they brought us a new bus. We were supposed to arrive in Surprise around 8 am, and didn't get there until 9. We quickly got the kids into rehearsal. I was kind of excited for my assignment, I got to do the Jr. High Viola chair test, and a friend of mine from EAC was my counterpart for this assignment and we had a lot of fun catching up and listening to the violas. There were some kids with amazing talent that you could tell practiced a lot to get ready. My students had a great time and did an amazing job.
The second week of Spring Break was busy, I was going to Atlanta for the American String Teacher's Association Conference. I left Tuesday morning, and it kind of took all day to get there with the time difference. I also got a little turned around when I got off the MARTA train (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) and it took me a bit to find the hotel, good thing I have a gps on my phone. Later that night I went out to dinner with a friend that I had met while working for Disney, Matthew and I had a great time catching up and he took me to a delicious and interesting restaurant called the Vortex. We had Sweet Potato fries that came with Marshmallow cream as one of the sauces, so good! The three hour time difference was starting to get to me at this point. I was waiting up for one of the ladies I was sharing a room with and she was coming from Quebec. The other lady came the next day. It was a little interesting sharing with strangers, but it was nice to have someone I kind of knew to go to the evening events with.
I spent Wednesday just being lazy since I was still on vacation. I had wanted to get a pedicure before I left, but ran out of time, so I found a little salon to go to in this small mall that was connected to the hotel. It was the most interesting pedi I have ever gotten. A friend of mine would to refer to such things as a nail rape. So they take me back into this back room and I sit in this normal kind of padded chair and put my feet in one of those home foot spa things, and they didn't even plug it in. The chick then started working on my nails and I had to put my feet up at a weird angle. After sitting like that for a while my muscles started to shake because it was so awkward and she asked me to stop moving, um I can't crazy lady. It took forever for her to finish and then after she finished with me another client came in and she started working with her while my nails were drying. I waited like 30 minutes for them to dry and then I paid and left that awful place. It was like the worst and most expensive pedicure ever, cost me $35, I barely left her a tip I was so frustrated. I should have just gone to the spa at the hotel and paid like $20 more for a MUCH better experience! Oh well, there are always those learning moments!
Later that evening they had a opening reception for the conference and gave everyone a raffle ticket. Each state brought a gift bag and they were giving them away. I happened to win the gift bag from Utah, with a song for my students, a Motab Christmas CD and some delicious Utah Truffles, yum yum! There was a dessert reception and I had some yummy treats, their blonde brownies were so good. The next day all of the workshops began, and I was excited. The only downfall to this was getting up in the morning, with having a smart phone it didn't automatically change time and I didn't want to change the time in case it would mess up my calendar. So I set my alarm for 3:30 AZ time so I could get up at 6:30 Atlanta time. I had an amazing time at the conference and learned so much. One of the neatest things was meeting people who have written the different method books I have used. It helped me to understand how the wrote the book and reasonings to their method.
On Friday night it was the National High School Honor Orchestra Concert. The ladies I was rooming with decided not to go so I went down to the lobby to try and find a group of people to walk down to the concert with. Luckily I did and had fun meeting people and seeing a bit of downtown Atlanta. It was busy with the hustle and bustle of NCAA March Madness Basketball. The concert was amazing, and I am so glad I made myself go.
Saturday was the last day, and I was ready to go home the next morning. After the last class I ran off with one of my roommates to the World of Coke. I figured I needed to do something touristy while I was in Atlanta. It was a fun adventure, even though I'm not a big fan of coke, the brand is still pretty cool. I loved all the artifacts they have. They even have a tasting station where you can sample about 60 different flavors of soda from around the world. There are some very tasty ones, and very interesting ones. Then when you leave they give you a bottle of coke that was bottled there on site. That night for the closing of the conference that had Barrage perform. They are a group of 5 violinists that play a wide variety of music. I want to see them whenever they come to visit AZ, which they do kind of often since one of the guys is from Mesa!
The next morning I got up bright and early to catch my flight at 10:30. I gave myself plenty of time to make it to the airport so I wouldn't feel rushed, and good thing I did. Getting to the airport that morning was an adventure! First I started the trek to the Marta station, walking up a big hill with my heavy suitcase. Next as I was getting ready to go down the escalator some guy started talking to me, and so I got to talk with him down one of the longest escalators in the world. He was talking so softly I could hardly understand what he was saying at times. He then went into his sob story about being a veteran and now he's homeless and then asked for food any money. I was able to give him a granola bar as we got to the bottom of the escalator. Since I wouldn't give him anymore when we got to the bottom he went right back up to find another person to beg. I had wanted to get a picture of the super long escalator and I was going to time it to see how long it took, but he ruined my plans on that. I did take my camera out to get a picture, and I'm sure he thought I was taking a picture of him, but I wasn't. I needed to document the super long escalator. Luckily you have to have a card to go through the gates to the train so he couldn't bother me anymore. I made it down to wait for the train and it took forever to come. Finally when it did, it had problems and instead of taking 20 minutes to get to the airport, it took 40 minutes. It kept stopping, which was kind of annoying but I was able to see the sights a bit, and even saw an LDS church building along the way which made me happy.
The plane ride home was fun. I sat next to a guy and his son from Alabama who were on their way to AZ for the first time and they were going to the Grand Canyon. He was so excited and it was so much fun to watch his excitement. When we were getting ready to land I switched seats with him so he could sit by the window and see the somewhat beautiful landscape Arizona has to offer. I got to hear about the fun things they had planned for the week. I then was kicking myself for not having any Easter Pageant cards with me so I could share with them a little about the church and the amazing experience of attending the pageant.