Monday, May 06, 2013

Playing with fire

It has been a long winter. Grey and cold and snowy. Without going into temperatures and historical comparison, let’s just say (truthfully) we’ve had snow from Halloween to Easter. In light of this situation, we all embraced the ski season but as the months passed skiing lost its allure. We needed something new, something warmer. We needed fire.
In search of wood working tools for the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, we found a wonderful little studio in Munich that has woodworking and more. Phil and Adam spent some time there, carving yet another Green Bay Packers themed Derby car. They were able to work, with a master carpenter overseeing their work, for a fee of just a few dollars an hour. With their car mostly complete, Phil scanned the all German literature at the studio and found a few classes the kids could get into over their school spring break. We were instantly hooked.
The kids first took a sewing class. We tentatively walked up the stairs into a room with rows of sewing machines. My kids were the only three students. I left them alone with a teacher only speaking German in what looked just a bit like a sweatshop. I came back to check on them, only to be waved off as they all sat hunched over the machines. At the end of the day, they all had sewn colorful little zippered bags. While the girls confided that the teacher spent much time untangling thread around Adam’s sewing machine, the final products were great. The kids were proud and confident and we moved out to metal working.
Everyone was interested in this course though we weren’t sure how much metal working they would be allowed to do. Would they just plan a project or watch the instructor? Never fear, all kids were given electric torches and fired away on scrap metal for hours. They pulled on heavy duty aprons and big face masks and got busy. Royce looked adorable, dressed in her robot gear, following around our pony-tailed instructor Fritz. The kids all made sculptures out of scrap metal. Fritz explained I had to pay for the metal, one euro per kilogram. Adam’s project weighed four kilos. But a small price to pay for time spent playing with fire, as long as he was the one to carry the masterpiece home.


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