Outer space adventure play

The kids have been working on a school play all year, a complicated production involving every class and countless practice runs. It is an elaborate storyline, where a boy from a colourless planet travels the stars to find other colours, collecting friends from all the coloured planets, eventually settling on the multicolour planet where they could all live happily ever after in a place where all colours live harmoniously.

One kid was cast as the “Red Frog” and the other as “Tea from the multicolour planet”. We had to send special dance shoes and black pants, and schedule appointments and holidays around dress rehearsal dates. They brought home music and sang the songs in the car, for months. And at last, this was the week of the big show! As it turned out, each of them was cast for a different night, meaning we had to attend the (same) show two nights in a row…

The best thing about school plays are the little kids who have no idea what they’re doing, looking around the room or dancing hilariously out of sync; equally great are the monotone kids who memorised their lines verbatim and deliver them like a robot. Our kids had about two lines each, but were proud to deliver them with gusto. We also loved the cheesy eighties rocket sounds embedded in all the midi music used for the songs.

Night 1: Red Frog makes his début.



Night 2, déjà vu: Tea makes her début.



I didn’t need to see it twice, but I suppose if the kids ever end up on Broadway, I’ll go more than once, so this school play purgatory was just practice for that. Right??

Great Canadian Tour 2015: Ottawa museums galore

One of the best things about Ottawa is all the museums. There are so many that, growing up there, it’s commonplace, almost boring, to go to a museum. But lucky for us, fresh off 3 years of no museum visiting in Indonesia, the kids still think it’s pretty cool! It’s not so cool for the pocketbook, but hey, we’re on vacation, right?

The first museum we decided to visit was the Air and Space Museum. The kids were keen, but I’ll admit that I also pushed for it because it was the one I have visited the least often myself, so it was still a fresh experience. And, of course, who doesn’t want to look at awesome old planes and rockets? And maybe there was a chance that Chris Hadfield would be there, right? (He wasn’t.)

We saw everything from old-timey flying (and hilariously non-flying) contraptions to slick air force jets, a huge bomber, rescue helicopters, courier planes, cushy 50s passenger planes. And the space section was lots of fun, with some hands-on activities and neat artifacts from Canadian space missions.

But, really, I think we had the most fun taking photos of the kids in the photo board cutouts. These things are classic:

We also visited the Canadian Museum of Civilization History. We are well aware that our museum timing is limited to only a couple of hours, so we have to triage. B and I can never get enough of the First Nations hall and the Inuit art in the basement (which is always shamefully undervisited), and we made a point of visiting the special exhibits rather than the permanent ones, keeping in mind our triage decisions. The exhibit on Greece was very cool, and I was able to crack into the depths of my undergraduate brain and read a lot of the ancient Greek writing. B was uber keen on the “Confederation” exhibit, which was a bit tedious for the rest of us non-politicos until we found a table where you could wear a top hat and pretend to be one of the fathers of confederation! And we also saw a Terry Fox exhibit, which was timed for the 35th anniversary of his run. It was great to share this important Canadiana with the kids, even if B did spend most of the time just photographing close-ups of all the hockey jerseys in the room.

And of course there’s a great Children’s museum that we needed to visit. We also decided to watch an IMAX movie about Lemurs. Lemurs are cool, but for some reason this film was a bit too over the top, and felt like it had been made 10 years ago, despite being recent and narrated by Morgan Freeman. It was missing some kind of legitimate messaging, like “lemurs are good, deforestation is bad” is pretty trite, even when you’re targeting a young audience… But we had a good time over all. We even ran into the kids’ cousins who were at the museum with a summer camp trip, so that was a nice surprise.

The final museum on the list was the Billings Estate Museum, which is a manor right in the heart of the city, the home of the original settlers of the area. In fact, I didn’t visit for the museum itself, but for afternoon tea. My mom and I escaped for the day and spent a lovely few hours enjoying tea and snacks overlooking a beautiful outdoor garden. Probably my favourite kind of museum trip!