NOTE #1: I forgot to do this last week: Leah French won the giveaway for Teri Lucas’ ebook. Thank you for your responses! There were 106 comments and my random number generator chose 53 as the winner. You all seem to especially like Aurifil, Superior threads and Glide. Normally I respond to every blog comment, but not for giveaways. That would have complicated choosing the 53d actual reader comment.
NOTE #2: There was a temporary problem with comments last week due to a new spam filter. I’ve since fixed it and I hope I caught all of your comments.
I realized this week, I not only miss my friends and family, manicures and haircuts, restaurants and teaching, I miss strangers! When I travel to teach and lecture, I meet all kinds of people. Random people. And I miss interacting with strangers – like on the plane, in the airport, at restaurants, guild members and students, all of them previous strangers.
When I lecture, the guild gets to know a bit about me. I enjoy chatting meeting the Program Chair and we usually get to spend a lot of time together. Most Program Chairs are delighted by my visit but sometimes the hiring Chair is long gone and the current one is not at all excited by my visit. If I stay in a home, I get to know my hostess, her life and family. Guild members want the stories about how the quilts came to be. We all get to know each other.
Lodging can be an adventure. I’ve stayed in one truly scary hotel and, in a lovely private home 2 blocks from Rodeo Drive. I’ve had two hostesses that surely had mental issues – one a hoarder and one who made up tall, unbelievable tales of woe, one after another. One home had a tragedy about 15 years prior and it was clear that it was important that everything remain the same. I learn about different kinds of lives and people through my travels.
In the classroom, I get to know my students. Oh I love that! And I get to see all kinds of machines and notions. There’s always someone who has some nifty tool, organizer or notion that is new to me. I’ve seen more than a few students arrive in class with brand-new machines, still in the box. And one that began smoking during class – the machine! Occasionally I will have a completely disengaged student. I just can’t get to her/him. I’ve finally figured out that many times that student is there to keep their friend company and really doesn’t care about free motion quilting.
I’ve taught at some fabulous venues and in cramped, hot spaces that smelled of urine outside. While teaching at shows, machine companies will provide machines and support people for their machines. I recently had a classroom where the store providing the machines provided a difficult thread. At one point, 13 out of 25 machines were down. I’ve had machine reps that saved my class by generously helping me with supplies I forgot. And then there was the one dude rep that hit on me. Really, the guy was like late-20’s, hitting on a woman in her 60’s?
This year would have been my 7th year to teach at Houston. Houston is like the crossroads of the quilting universe – there are quilters from around the globe. I’ve had students from Australia, New Zealand, Brasil, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and Norway and we’re all united by a love of the quilt. How fun is that? I’ll find a spot to sit and eat my lunch and almost every time, I will meet someone new.
If I’m visiting from out of the area, I’ll plan ahead to hit either a hiking destination or an art gallery or museum. I might Uber to get there and there’s one more stranger to meet. I’ve encountered some incredible under-the-wire museums and galleries. I’ve been taken on fabulous hikes in areas that I didn’t know had good hiking – Orange County and Reno most notably. I got lost on one gig, ended up in the middle of a remote neighborhood. I was obviously out of place, with 5% phone power and actually took a ride from a 20-something stranger!
While on an out-of-town gig, I will meet scores of strangers. Doing this traveling teacher thing is an adventure! “Adventure” to me is a specific word. It means I’m venturing into a situation that I can’t control and there may be some very unexpected things. So adventure doesn’t necessarily mean exciting or fun. It means the unexpected, good and bad. Each trip seems to deliver some sort of surprise and lots of strangers.
California is still on lock down. It’s exciting to get to the grocery store now! I miss meeting strangers. I miss the adventure. I wonder whether guilds will ever pay to bring in a teacher from out of the area or across the country. Before the shutdown I was in discussions to possibly teach in Taiwan! Oh, I would have loved that. There is a rich and diverse community of quilting talent and super stars in Taiwan and I would have been honored to teach there. It has been my dream, and still is, to teach in foreign countries. I don’t know if that will ever happen again.
Quilters are just the best people, I miss meeting them! I can only hope that there is some resolution to all this chaos and that we will be meeting again in person, traveling freely and hugging each other. It can’t come soon enough.
Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday has a great link-up party, do check it out.