Life is like a box of Chocolates

My first presentation for the camp was at the home of the Mottes. The Motte family for the past few years has been our host—kind and gracious with a spacious home about 40 minutes from my hotel. I used Uber for the first time! It’s about 50% less than a taxi and FAST. I was quite impressed. Great idea.
At the meeting three LITs were committed to attend for four weeks, one IAP for four weeks, to staff want to apply for four weeks each (both musical students) and three more potential LITs want to meet me at the hotel Saturday or Sunday. All is all it was a nice start to our meetings in France. I suppose that all seven will apply and one family is considering us for 2018. So potentially 28 “camper weeks” the first night.
I was touched that our host, Gilles Mott, a former LIT, was so passionate about the camp and was so quick to explain his appreciation for the spiritual element of camp life—it seemed to be the thing he elaborated upon the most and seemed to glow as he talked about what it meant to him. Those remarks and unexpected compliments are fuel for my soul and give me the extra “caffeine” to keep up the pace at time. (I was beginning to feel the weight of jet lag right before the presentation, but Gilles enthusiasm woke me up!)
Today I share the camp to a “summer camp fair” at a school near the hotel. It’s for foreign travel and we’re the only USA based agency that comes each year—could be nice.
Tomorrow 18 families (60+ people) will come to the Honore’s home for a presentation—it’s always the biggest meeting in the North of France.
As I write this email I am attaching the barrister at the expresso bar at the hotel. All the other workers at this hotel are, and always have been, incredibly kind and attentive to me. I have been coming here for 20+ years and they all know me by name. I stay here for a week each year and I when I depart (always near Christmas time) I leave at the front desk some boxes of Belgian chocolates or a box of cigars for all the staff. It’s a small gesture, but they are so kind to me friendly. But the gentleman behind the bar today is not kind and seems to make it a point to ignore me. He’s new here and, I suppose, sees me as all other American tourists—a loud, annoying, arrogant kind of customer? It is how we are known, internationally, and I do see the “ugly American tourists” all over France. Oh well. I need to get a cigar for him today. 😉

Dean Barley

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