After an intense week as a participant in the Musician's Mentorship Program with Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto, I am back in the good ol' US of A. The trip was a success, not only did I learn a TON in the program, but I got to see Canada for the first time, increasing my number of countries visited to 3! (Mexico and South Korea, if you're wondering about the other 2).
I was surrounded by incredibly talented musicians who didn't hesitate to dish out their best advice, tips, and secrets to me. In addition, I was surrounded by some beautiful scenery and amazing sights. The trip got even better when Eddie flew out to meet me half way through the week, and even BETTER when I was able to meet up with a friend, known only through the blogosphere until now. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Hilary of The Smitten Image herself happens to live only minutes from where I resided in Toronto.
I admit, it was a little like meeting a celebrity. I first "met" Hilary when I discovered a beautiful photo of hers that I wanted to use for one of my posts (A Brave Leaf) back in October of 2010. She granted me permission to borrow it, and we became followers of each other's blogs. I had very few readers of my humble little blog until one day, Hilary selected my post as one of her choices for Post of the Week (The Eleventh Hour). Suddenly I had comments from people other than my mother! Well, things grew from there. I'm sure many of you are familiar with her stunning photography, and yes, I saw the camera myself, as well as the little pond where many of her masterpieces are captured. It was a wonderful evening with Hilary, her son Alex, and his girlfriend Veronica. I love how technology can connect us to amazing people we would have never otherwise known existed!
Eddie and I had just enough time at the end of the trip to make it to Niagara Falls. We ate dinner in a restaurant overlooking the Falls and even got a fireworks show. It was a breathtaking view that my photography skills don't even come close to doing justice to.
Eddie arrived to Canada by flying into Buffalo, NY and driving over the border, because he wasn't allowed to fly into Canada without a passport. When I explained this to several different people throughout the week, their reaction was always the same, a bit of a gasp, followed by, "He might have trouble getting back over the border." I wasn't all that worried about it, but Eddie was a different story. As we approached the border in our car, Eddie grew more and more fidgety and nervous, "Should we claim the maple syrup we have in the back seat?" I admit, I chucked as he rubbed his jeans anxiously, waiting to speak to the U.S. guard. Eddie called the guard "Sir" about 15 times in a matter of 2 minutes and I was certain he noticed we were acting suspicious. But in the end, all our identification was accepted and we were let back in with no problems. I couldn't help thinking of this episode of "Frasier" when they cross the Canadian border with Daphne, an English immigrant with no green card:
Below are some photos from the week (click to enlarge). Enjoy! :)
This is the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, NY
Canada's National Ballet School is a beautiful facility in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Niagara Falls at night...it was amazing!
Fireworks right outside our window...awesome!
Hilary and I, a piano and guitar in the background. I felt right at home!
Canada welcomed me, and I thank you Canada!