Impromptu L.A. Trip and The Chain of Poncho-Giving Kindness

Part of my New Year's list of plans/goals is a ballet summer intensive program for Isabella. She is very dedicated and passionate in this art form and I promised her I will give her all the support I can give. Around mid January, I started searching (googleing) for schools offering dance summer programs (San Francisco Ballet does not have one for her age level). The two other premiere ballet schools in the U.S. offering summer intensives for Isabella's age group are the American Ballet Theater (ABT) in New York and the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. We missed the audition date for ABT (and I thought I was starting early with my planning); luckily, Joffrey Ballet has a schedule for an audition in L.A. on January 30th.

We did not decide to go until Thursday, the 28th, when I went ahead and booked a hotel room for the following day (my Worldpoints from Amex came in handy:). I asked the boys if they will accompany us for the trip. Even Immanuel who is almost always busy with his own schedule was willing to come with us.

On the day of the trip, I had to miss bible study...Isabella stayed home from school with a tummy ache. I took Ian to school for his Finals. Then it was on to housework and preparations for the trip. I drafted an itinerary complete with driving times and fun times for after the auditions.

We pretty much followed the schedule I drafted but we also remained flexible for a stress-free mini vacation.

We picked up Ian from school at around 2:30pm and left straight from there to San Luis Obispo where we met up with Phil for dinner at Firestone Grill around 6:00pm. Phil helped maximize our time by ordering dinner for us before we got there. The boys rode with Phil back to Pismo while Belle and I went to get gas at Costco. We left Pismo around 7:30. Phil drove and we arrived in our hotel in downtown L.A. at around 11pm. We had no trouble going to sleep.

The next day we rushed to the auditions after continental breakfast and power prep fighting for one bathroom. We made it to the audition site at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the L.A. Music Center just in the nick of time for the 9am audition time for her age group.

Isabella said she had fun at the auditions and learned new combinations. The teacher was "very nice and very good." She said he called out her number and said: "great job number 29!"

here she is posing outside the venue after the audition

We debated where to spend the rest of our mini weekend was a toss up between Universal Studios and Disney. We decided to go Disney because it is open until late while Universal closes at 6pm.

here the kids obliged to pose for a photo before our first stop in Frontierland

They even got me to ride Splash Mountain.

The rest is blissful history of fun family time at Disneyland until 9:30pm (we did not make it until 11pm as planned:).

And from 11am to 2:30pm the following day, Sunday, at California Adventures.

There is one particular story I want to share that happened during our last ride before leaving California Adventures. In my schedule, I had planned for us to leave the park by 2pm. And by 2pm, though we started an hour late, we accomplished all that we planned and we're right on schedule. But after our last supposed ride, "Soaring", Isabella begged us if we could go for one more last ride and go on the "Rapids" ride again. She won, of course, but Ian and Immanuel did not want to go...they didn't want to get wet (can you imagine they're scared of cold water lol) As we were handing them our bags and sweaters, a lady asked us if we want their ponchos. So Ian and Immanuel got to join us at the fun ride complete with ponchos to protect them from getting soaked (bless that lady's heart).

Coming out from the ride, Phil asks: "hey mom! are you going to pass on the ponchos to others who may want them?" What a great idea! I started offering the ponchos to incoming "rafters" but no one wanted them. As we were walking to go out of the park, a man in a wheelchair asked us if we still needed our ponchos. We were very happy to give it to him and he was delighted saying "yay! now we won't get soaked!". Phil called it the "Chain of Poncho-Giving Kindness".

We had lunch at a buffet outside the park and finally bid goodbye to L.A. around 3:30pm. We dropped off Phil and left Pismo around 7:30pm, arriving Union city at 10:30pm. Again, we didn't have any trouble going to sleep.

It was a indeed a blessed impromptu audition and mini weekend vacation!

(More funny photos of this trip if you click on the photo tab)

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