On Friday, I began my road trip to Kalahari in Eastern Pennsylvania. The finance & marketing company I represent was having a regional conference for the weekend. I basically took a leap of faith when I made the decision to go. It was somewhat of a last-minute decision so I never finalized my travel logistics. No joke, I didn’t even know if I’d have a bed to sleep on once I got there. The hotel was fully booked. I packed my car with pillows and blankets in case I had no other option come nightfall. It was close enough I probably could have driven back and forth if I really needed to. Luckily, some of my colleagues pulled through and let me crash in their room.
Kalahari is a hotel, indoor waterpark, and convention center that is entirely safari-themed. It was fantastic! Just check out some of these pictures from inside the resort.
All of the elephants, giraffes, and lions were awesome. Paintings and animal sculptures lined every wall. So fun to be around! There was an unbelievably huge arcade downstairs, a lovely sweets shop, and very affordable dining options.
Of course, you may recall I somehow managed to accidentally book a class with VIPKID DURING my trip to Kalahari. Oops. On a positive note, it gave me my first opportunity to try working away from home. I decided to approach it like a challenge to see how realistic it is to work VIPKID remotely.
I got to work and began assembling my portable travel-ready classroom!
My first task was to make a small and lightweight reward system. At Michaels, I got 2 sheets of felt ($0.39/each) and frog and monkey stickers ($2.00). I stuck them onto felt and cut them out. Fun fact, felt sticks to felt very well. So NO glue or tape is needed to make something like this.
At the Dollar Store, I got a plush star ($1.00) to supplement my previously purchased props like ABC Flashcards ($1.00), a dry erase board with a marker ($1.00), and a monkey plush ($1.00).
At Michaels Arts & Crafts Store, I bought a plain new orange t-shirt on sale ($2.00) and fun candy-themed bulletin board paper on clearance ($1.00).
I took all of these items, grabbed my MacBook Pro and Turtle Beach XBOX headphones, and threw everything into an old backpack. Boom!
My next task was to build a fun-looking backdrop. I got an old trifold poster and covered it up with my $1.00 roll of paper from Michaels. I taped the corners to the board and tossed it into the back of my car. I figured teaching out of my car would be easiest so I wouldn’t disturb the people around me. I didn’t want to look so silly teaching at Kalahari in public.
I quickly realized how bad of an idea this was. I sat in the backseat of my car looking at what I had created. I was now the stranger with candy in the backseat of his car trying to talk to little kids. NOPE! NOT A GOOD COMBINATION. I folded up the poster and brought it back into my house. Simply no way I was even attempting that one. I’ll have to look for other backdrops on clearance because I’m not digging the candy thing anymore. It’s actually kind of scary! ?
I ended up doing exactly what I was trying to avoid. I taught from the center of the lobby. In bright orange waving my yellow star, there I was!
Fortunately for me, the lobby was pretty dead at 6:00 AM. Phew! Mid-way through my lesson I realized the lobby started blasting jungle music. I hope Katie enjoyed the atmosphere.