So, last week was all about taking the National Association of Interpretation's training to become a certified interpretive guide. Let me hasten to say, since this is invariably the first question, that this is not foreign language interpretation. This is about relating a resource ( cultural, historical or scientific) to an audience with a focus on creating both an emotional and an intellectual connection. If it sounds complicated, let me share with you... that is an accurate assessment. There was an awful lot of reading involved... 6 textbooks and a work book.
There were four days packed FULL of lectures and activities by two pretty amazing individuals, who themselves are excellent interpreters. And in the end, there was a test and a presentation by each participant, which netted national certification. I passed! Yeah!
This workshop occurred at Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina.
Now, I had never been to Middleton Place. And though I've lived in SC all of my life, I've not been on a historical rice plantation... so I was significantly, at times, distracted.
Our class took place in a window encased pavilion. Right in the middle of any segment of instruction, a group of sheep would wander up... or a carriage would ride by... or a costumed interpreter would walk from the stableyards to the main house.
As a person who loves gardening, the grounds of Middleton continuously called to me. The Middleton's were who brought Japonica Camelias to America... one of the original four plants still lives in the stunning gardens.
While we were at Middleton, there was unseasonably cold temperatures, which damaged the blossoms on the camelias, which were in full bloom. Deep winter blooms are one of the nicest things about the camelia here in this part of the south.
And I could have simply sat and gazed at the Middleton oaks for a week with no other task to accomplish.
Despite the obvious distractions, and the drive back and forth to Beaufort, which was significantly longer than I had anticipated, the class was a very good thing. I now better understand a lot of the job that I've been doing for the last year and have better tools in my personal arsenal for both work and a number of other things that I do as well. My presentation was both terrifying and had it's comical moments. Who knew that those windowed walls would move, nearly depositing me outside with the sheep, when I least needed a distraction?
On evaluation, I can't imagine a more perfect setting for what I learned this week, and learning interpretation at Middleton will forever be etched in my brain.