Robbi planned our tour route to avoid cold weather, and especially snow.
The bus isn’t insulated and there are six external mirrors to defrost. Minnesota didn’t get the memo.
We woke to snow and cold on the morning of our visit to Garden City Elementary. Our host, Callíe Bray recognized my (Matthew’s) distress and started our visit by handing me a coffee. This helped, but I was still cold. A trip into the hallway took the edge off.
As the kids streamed into the school, they gathered in clumps and whispered, pointing at us surreptitiously. We make a customized video for each school we visit, which we send in advance for our hosts to share with the kids and teachers before we arrive. The point is to create anticipation for our visit and to let them know we’re just regular people, ready to laugh and have fun. The result is high excitement and whispers of “They’re really here!” and “We saw you on TV!”
We introduced ourselves, and the second the kids realized we were friendly and approachable, we were buried in mountains of big, soul-affirming hugs. The snow was forgotten.
There was nothing but warmth in that hallway.
I went down to the cafeteria to have breakfast with a group of kids, getting the chance to see them joking and laughing with each other. For a second, it took me back to fifth grade, which was a pretty good year, as I remember.
The kids in our small group were amazing as always—curious, creative, eager to share their ideas for a better world.
Callíe didn’t sign up to be our host. But when her colleague who applied for the tour last year left the school, she took over with gusto, doing all the planning and coordinating it takes to host a visit.
When the time came to leave, Callíe sent us off with a backpack full of art supplies for the kids and a ziplock full of espresso shots for me. Something to keep us all happy and warm on the long road ahead.
Needless to say, we love Callíe, and we heart Minnesota.