I had so much fun today helping my friend K at the elementary school where she teaches. Today’s job was watching 76 talent show audition acts, ranging in grades K - 5, in order to place any of them in one of the coveted Actual Talent Show acts. It was hilariously entertaining, and I don’t even mean that in any degrading way at all. These kids were a hoot. I could’ve watched 76 more acts and would’ve been perfectly content.
I’m never hip to recent-ish music, (especially kid music) so I’ve shared my absolute favorite act’s song via the video above. Two sassy girls hip hopped, sang, and snapped their fingers to the tune of this little gem, and it will forever bring a smile to my face.
Notable quotes of the day include:
A boy swung around nunchucks for two minutes at his actor foe, missing purposefully to display his skill. When it was his actor-partner’s turn to spar, the boy started backing up immediately, saying, “Make sure you don’t hit me. I’m really freaked out.”
A girl sang Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” a capella, then stopped after thirty seconds, saying, “Um. I don’t know the rest.”
A boy randomly beat on a drum repeatedly in the same pattern. After a whole minute of listening to this, he bowed and said, “And that beat…I made up all by MYSELF.”
Seriously. Kids can be so great. However, if I never hear another Adele, Taio Cruz, Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars song ever again, my ears will rejoice.
Think back to when you were a child. You explored the world, which was new to you and full of wonders, with insatiable curiosity. You learned at a rapid pace. You embraced new ideas, knowledge and people. You asked questions. You loved life with your open, curious beginner’s mind. You were creative, enjoyed wild ideas, and indulged your imagination and fantasy. As a child, you were close to your genius.
Questions: How open, curious, and creative were you as a young child? How open, curious, and creative are you now?"
This song just makes me want to get up and dance.
Hurry up, April!
I’ve been sitting on this post for quite some time. I’ve actually been sitting on it since the last time I posted on my tumblr, which is right below.
When I returned home from Haiti, everyone asked me how my trip was. And I gave everyone the same answer before hesitating to dive into explanation: “It was good. But it was hard.”
I went to Haiti for work. It was actually an unplanned trip. One Monday in November, I was helping tie up loose ends on a project where one of our california DPs and my colleague (another DP) would fly out later that week, and the next thing I know, the CA DP has completely dropped out of shooting and has abandoned the project. I remember my boss not offering up many solutions, and I remember stepping in and saying I would go. And 4 days later, I went.
I was gone for a total of 10 days in Haiti, shooting for 9 of them. It was for TV project, a children’s episodic where each ep would total out anywhere from 20-30 minutes of edited footage. For those of you who don’t know a lick about shooting, that’s a lot of shooting for 9 days. In a foreign country. Where you don’t speak the language. So on a professional level, it was tough.
On a professional level, I have my own standards. I like to schedule based on my surroundings, comfort level. I plan according to traffic and location and budget and time. I plan according to my knowledge of talent. I go on scouts when I can. I plan the mess out of shoots in the US as best as I know how, and I still fall short sometimes. But I can tell you this — I thought I knew what “flying by the seat of my pants” in the US was — but it wasn’t fully realized until I worked in Haiti.
The kids (hosts and otherwise) we worked with were wonderful. There were only one or two who spoke English (we had 4 hosts but probably worked with anywhere from 50-100 kids over the 9 days), but we quickly realized how easy it was to direct, even when you don’t speak each other’s language. Never underestimate the power of an encouraging smile and flailing of your arms.
My colleague, Dero, was fantastic. I couldn’t think of anyone else better to travel overseas and work with other than Hubs (who also works in production.) He knew how to roll with the punches, troubleshoot, refocus, and knew how to be creative and energetic when he was running on only a little sleep. While I was scratching at my 17 mosquito bites (I was messed up externally the whole time), he was working through being sick (he was messed up internally). We were a great balance. It could’ve been bad — I could’ve been stuck with someone who refused to eat certain foods, whined, complained, or was picky about everything, but I wasn’t. If he was tired, he didn’t gripe about it. He just put his head down and did good work. And none of it went unnoticed.
So I’m at the point in the post where I should probably tell you about how this trip affected me personally. When I said Haiti was hard earlier, it was hard on me spiritually, psychologically, emotionally. When I stepped off the plane and we made our way to our car and drove to our lodging I remember looking around and wondering where the millions, billions of dollars that were poured into this country went. I didn’t understand why there was still crumbles of building everywhere. Why there were hundreds of people standing in the street, people sitting on the street corners supposedly not doing anything. Why there weren’t street lights. And why there was trash. Everywhere.
I didn’t understand a lot of things. And in my prior post I mentioned a woman trying to sell her baby. That was the hardest. And I saw some other gruesome things I won’t mention here, but if you know me well enough you can ask me next time we talk. I didn’t understand how I as another human being could consider the most trivial things actual problems in my life. I thought back to the things I complained the most about back home. I thought about what I thought was hard. And when you see half (and fully) naked babies running around in dirty street water with trash around their ankles, you kind of want to punch yourself in the stomach.
When I got home, I felt like I needed to go to therapy. A huge part of me was just angry — at myself, at America, at my job. I felt inadequate and selfish. It made me rethink what had value in my life. I’m a pretty well-rounded person, I didn’t grow up spoiled and was raised to be independent but not without humility. I’ve lived in different places, love all kinds of people and I’m not extravagant or flashy. I was forced to re-examine what I felt my purposes were versus what God’s purpose was for me. And a lot of it I still don’t know. I was actually glad I had the slowest internet speed while I was over there. The few times I logged on to any kind of social networking platform made me want to scream and throw things. For every complaint about a headache. For every moan about some book someone was jealous about. For every person who talked about the Prettiest/Shiniest New Thing and Best Movie and Most Awesome Band in the world. I wanted to throw up my hands and yell at the world, “WHO. CARES. NONE OF THIS EVEN MATTERS.”
I had a long conversation with Dero about this that put a few things into perspective. Sure, while my biggest concerns in Haiti were not catching malaria and cholera (y’all there were signs everywhere for this) a lot of the concerns Haitian folks have are different because, well, it’s what they grew up with. And I had to come to terms with the fact that it’s culturally the same for everyone. For the folks who gripe about traffic jams in California, it’s okay, because that’s what they know. It’s life. You’re concerned with what you know and what you’re used to. The radical difference between both worlds kept slapping me in the face and at the time it was just too difficult for me to grasp without feeling frustration. I had to bite my tongue and try my hardest not to write “Try living in Haiti” for every single (what I deemed) minuscule and worthless problem I saw someone complaining about.
My biggest regret about the trip was not being able to actually enjoy the country as much as I’d liked to. There was no exploring food. There was no exploring shops (although there weren’t many in PAP). I would’ve liked to actually do some work other than what I was hired to do, because the people there are just awesome. (I won’t speak for their politicians and the company they keep.) It’s not the kind of place where you can just go on walks and take tours, but it would’ve been nice to get to the coast. I would’ve liked to just enjoy the people more, but work days were long and I’d come back to our place and have to log and capture and organize footage into the night. Another great thing was the lack of humidity. Sure, it was hot a few days, but it only sprinkled once, which was awesome because it’s not like we had any time for makeup days.
There are still a lot of things on my mind about this trip. A lot of specifics that will continue to worm their way into my brain and heart that may or may not resurface here on the blog some day.
And yet…if the show picks up a second season (I really hope it does), I’ll be the first one volunteering to go back. But I’m definitely going to have to learn more French before I do.