Monday, August 25, 2008

My Teaching Over the World

I have been so very lucky in my life. I have been able to travel to many places.

First, camp...which during the summer took me from NJ to PA and then to North Carolina where I was a tennis and horseback riding instructor for two years. While there I met so many great people who invited me into their homes in New Orleans, Tennessee, and other places.

After my "camping" summers, I was a nanny to a family who had three children; one of whom was in the movies in England. She was too young to go on the set by herself, and her Dad, a record producer was too busy. Mom (Pat) had an infant, so when Dave came back to NJ from London, he asked if I would like to be a nanny to Wendy and Patti. Not one to pass up that offer, I was whisked to England. Our home was on the outskirts, near Wimbledon (happily for my tennis playing hours), and I went on set with Wendy as she filmed Alice in Wonderland. Since it was summer, Dave had rented a villa in Forte de Marmi, on the Amafali coast, so Patti, Wendy, Dave and I drove the car from England while Patti and Dave Jr. flew to the villa to get it ready.

We drove from Dover (yes, the white cliffs) and then to Paris where we spent the night a the Geroge Cinq, saw the Effile Tower and did lots of sight seeing. The next morning we headed for Switzerland. I drove for the first time and what a mistake. I had been taught to drive on a manual...a stick shift, so when I saw the stick in the middle of the console, I thought, well I should be in gear. Nothing like being in third (never did find fourth) while zooming down the autoban. In fact, I liked the speed so much, I overshot the exit and we ended up not having enough money to pay the toll to get off the road. They had to send a helicopter to exchange the French/English money. This was the real reason Euros were invented...for silly people like me.

A night in the Alps, Swiss chocolate for dinner, playing in the was a wonderful night before we headed for the town of Forte. When we arrived (thankfully with the transmission still intact)...I was in utter amazement. It was huge. Each of us had our own room and bath and even had those little bowls filled with water in each of our rooms. There was a maid...and a butler...and a cook...and me??? I was always treated like one of the family... a friend who just happened to be watching out for the kids. The beach was right across the street, and we were there every day...except on the days I would take Wendy to Pisa (where I actually did drive correctly and around the Leaning Tower), or the day we took the bus to Florence, or the time Dave took all of us to Venice for an overnight. That was incredible. The gondalas, the walking through the streets of the town that had just been cleaned...and he paid...I mean for everything! I'm not sure I knew how lucky I had it while I was there (this little hick from Haddonfield) but boy, did I enjoy the entire experience.

And then it was back to college in Viriginia, where my summers were full of work...well, I taught tennis every summer so it wasn't that bad. During my senior year I was reading the New York Times and saw an ad, "Teach in the United States Virgin Islands" Well, why not? I applied for the job, found out it was for an Episcopalian Church school, contacted my priest (I happen to be that..even if I can't spell it), and had an inteview over the phone. By August, I had packed myself and my red Volkswagon and was ready to tackle another adventure.

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