Here & there: Date night with Peru

Sacred Valley of Peru (near Cusco), September 2015.| Photo by John Mosaico courtesy of Mosaico Travel, St. George News

FEATURE — It’s 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and that means one thing in my house: my third-grader has a date with Peru.

A few minutes before 6 o’clock, he sits perched on his blue Ikea stool in the center of our living room rug. His feet dance lightly. His bouncing knees balance a bow across their span.

Tuesday night date night with Peru from columnist Kat Dayton's living room, Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 1, 2015. | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News
Tuesday night date night with Peru from columnist Kat Dayton’s living room, Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 1, 2015. | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

The high-pitched digital ring erupts from the tranquil computer screen in front of him, and the smiling face of my son’s cello teacher, Megan Titensor, pops up on the display. She, too, is perched on the edge of her much larger stool as she straddles her honey-hued instrument.

“Hola,” Megan says, greeting my son. He smiles but doesn’t quite return the international greeting. “Let’s tune your instrument,” she continues.

He picks up the cello at his feet, nestles it between his knees and pulls the bow slowly across the A string. “It’s a little low — can you tighten it?” she asks him. He complies, pulling and pushing the bow across the string, stopping to adjust the fine tuner at her instruction until it’s right.

They repeat the process on each string until the cello is in tune. Then, they begin.

Normally, Megan is in Cusco. She teaches cello at the Asociacion Cultural de Qantu. On this night she is in Lima for a strings institute, so we ask her about the city.

“It’s hot,” Megan says, “and my cello is loving the humidity — it’s great!”

Now, you may be wondering who sits perched on his cello stool awaiting a FaceTime call from more than 4,500 miles away. Why isn’t his teacher local? Or at least have the same country code?

We didn’t start our cello lessons in Peru; it just sort of happened that way.

Our local cello teacher moved to Cusco to follow a lifelong dream … and we followed her.

An orchestra concert with nearly all of the Peruvian string students at Qantu Cusco and cellist Megan Titensor, Cathedral of Cusco, Andahuaylillas, Peru, Dec 6, 2015 | Photo by Jerson Flores. St. George News
An orchestra concert with nearly all of the Peruvian string students at Qantu Cusco and cellist Megan Titensor, Cathedral of Cusco, Andahuaylillas, Peru, Dec. 6, 2015 | Photo by Jerson Flores, courtesy of Kat Dayton, St. George News

We followed her because she’s amazing and because technology lets us. More importantly, we followed her because my son insisted.

If I remember correctly, he explained to me that they had a connection. A strong connection. Like tree roots.

How could I argue with that?

So we decided to give it a chance. And now we have weekly dates with Peru.

In addition to instruction on the cello, Megan often gives us mini culture lessons. She tells us what the weather’s like, what she ate, where she hiked that day and about the interesting sights she sees.

Next week will be our last Peruvian lesson for a month and a half. It’s summer in Peru and Megan will be pursuing more lifelong dreams — taking a road trip through Chile and Argentina.

Even though there will be no lessons (the cello doesn’t like road trips), we may insist on a date or two with Chile and Argentina along the way because it’s one of our lifelong dreams, too.

Kat Dayton is a developing columnist with St. George News. Any opinions stated are her own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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