Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Scratch the Itch

Why do we travel? We humans are an itchy, restless lot. I know. I'm a piano teacher for the 12 and under sector and believe me--sitting still is not an inborn human skill. We need to move: to run, roll, leap, wander, graze, aimlessly amble and fearlessly fly away. We need to 'get out of here' and be 'here' somewhere else.  We need to fling ourselves out into the chaos of chance occurrences and synchronistic serendipities.
Last winter my itch brought me to the high elevations of Peru, where by intent, not chance, I set off one day to purchase a small 10 stringed, round backed guitarito called a charango. Life was all mystery and magic that day as it seemed that every single soul I conversed with along my path turned out to be a music teacher!

One was a tall fellow traveler from Chile who I randomly tapped on the shoulder because of what he had slung across it. "Is that a charango?" I asked him. "Si," he replied with a magnetic smile. He, his companion and I had a brief and cheerful lunch before they had to run to catch a flight back home, having satisfied their own itch. I went on that day to purchase my own charango, and we have travelled some distance together already. 
The Chilean (Camilo Gomez Camblor), it turns out, is somewhat of a virtuoso at this little foreign instrument, and he became my teacher via skype lessons, and now I can call myself "charangista" as well (one who plays the charango). 

If that weren't odd enough, a year later he and I have launched a Music Teacher Exchange project, and if all goes well, my itch will bring me to his hometown of Valparaiso, Chile, this February on an educational and cultural exchange. The following summer he and his charango will hit the scene in northeast Canada, just in time for festival season.

Until then, fund-raise, promote, scratch the itch. You just never know where youre going to land next.