Monday, February 5, 2007

Day 25: The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Since our last day off on January 15th, we had been looking forward to our free day which would come on Friday, February 2 after our class with the Roanoke Ballet. I tried to plan our itinerary in such a way that we could teach classes in seven states, but would not have to drive any more than four hours in a stretch.

The plan for this part of our trip was to leave Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where we were staying, drive to Roanoke and then halfway to our next class-- a return engagement with the River City Youth Ballet in Charleston. In between we would have a full day to relax in a nice hotel.

But the threat of snow forced us to make some changes and kicks off the portion of our trip which I will call--Driving, Delays and Cancelations.

As it happened, being able to stay and extra day in Chapel Hill instead of on the road was a true pleasure, and it would only be later that we would feel the effects. My brother teaches at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the Lee family generously opened their doors to us. Instead of staying in an impersonal hotel, we got to spend another day with brother Cal, wife Jen and children Sophia and Emerson.

There was snow in Chapel Hill, just enough to land and stick for an hour or two before it changed to rain and melted away in more spring-like temperatures. The children of Chapel Hill were ready to take full advantage of the snow while they had it. We loved seeing the kids bundled up and running out to play with their rarely used sleds. We even made our own snowman.

As it happens, it never snowed in Roanoke, but the schools did close and therefore so did the studio. Fortunately this happened on one of our rare days off, so we were able to reschedule for the following day.

The time off also gave us time to have the brake pads replaced and to change the oil in the car and to see a bit more of Chapel Hill.

If you're looking for seriously swanky coffee, I recommend Three Cups where the guys at the counter describe the beans-- bought in a special auction-- with words that are usually used for fine wines. You can enjoy a push pot of a particular strain of coffee that is not available in any other coffee shop in the world.

While in Chapel Hill we also experienced the joys of shopping at Kohl's-- a favorite activity of Valery's, tasting authentic southern barbeque and local beer from the North Carolina Brewery.

Days off will be less rare in the future, as several studios contacted us with cancelations in the 11th hour. We'll have lots of time to sight see and relax in Michigan. (Want a ballet class with Valery Lantratov? Ten days left-- going fast!)