March travel plans with a 17y.o. fencing phenom

Melensdad

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So the lovely Mrs Bob and I have things 98% confirmed for travel plans for this month with Dasha our near Olympic level fencing student.

100% confirmed: Melen, the lovely Mrs_Bob, Dasha & myself are flying to San Francisco with Dasha on March 12, staying in that area until March 16. While we are there we will visit Stanford University to tour the campus and meet the saber coach for their division 1 team. We plan to be there for 3 full days, 2 of which are just 'tourist' days to see the San Fran area as its an area that my family has never visited so Dasha gets to travel with us ... whether she wants to or not!

March 16 we will fly to Los Angeles and then car to Anaheim. Dasha will be competing in the USFA "SJCC" Super Junior tournament on Sunday March 17. It's technically a regional event but has national/international competitors. It is the 2nd largest and 2nd most competitive event she has seen since she has been in the United States. I'm hoping she makes the Top 16. I think it's possible that she could make the Top 16 if she is fencing well that day. Sadly she is out of practice, she used to practice 5 days a week, now only about 2 to 3 days per week.

March 18 we fly home to Chicago.



96% confirmed: March 22 we fly to Boston. Campus visits, and fencing coach meetings, with Tufts, Harvard and MIT.
'
March 27 we are at YALE for a campus & fencing team visit.

March 28-30 we are in New York City visiting Columbia and NYU for campus & fencing team visits.



98% Confirmed: It looks like the lovely Mrs_Bob and myself may be meeting Dasha's mom. Dasha's mother has moved from Moscow to Kiev. I have never met Dasha's mom but do trade emails with her and have been on conference calls with her. As I understand it she will probably be flying to Boston to meet us in Boston and go with us to New York.



85% chance of happening? By mid month we should know if Dasha is moving to Boston for high school next year. Honestly I'll take her to the airport to see her off to her new home but I'll also very likely cry like a baby when she leaves. And I do believe she is going to transfer high schools and I don't blame her and I fully support it. This has been a wild ride for me "coaching" a near olympic level athlete but at some point the ride needs to end and for the good of this athlete it should end with a transfer to a new school where she has access to a high level fencing club with a real coach where she can practice 5 days each week. But I do believe that she will remember me and my family :smile:



100% True Fun Fact: Found out by accident that Dasha and I both have the same birthday! Almost 40 years apart, but the same month & day.



Pictures just for fun ...
 

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Doc

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Sounds like a busy and fun time. Best wishes for you all.

No doubt in my mind Dasha will remember you and your family and all that you've done for her. You have made a huge impact on this young lady's life. What a good feeling that must be for you.
 

Melensdad

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...
No doubt in my mind Dasha will remember you and your family ...

Well I think she probably will too.

I'm not good enough to coach her in fencing, I clearly have nothing to teach her. She still trusts me as a 'strip coach' at tournaments, which I suppose means I've learned a lot this year because I can see some of her mistakes and some mistakes her opponents make and point those out to her during bouts. Seriously, this girl is nearly Olympic level and my qualifications are that I don't suck as bad as some of the other high school coaches! I think my biggest qualification is that, unlike some other coaches, I'm not lying to her to boost up my team's winning record and I actively try to get her the best coaching I can arrange for her practices. So perhaps that is why she trusts me?

But what I lack in fencing skills has been made up in other ways. Today the lovely Mrs_Bob and I will be meeting her to help her with letters to colleges, to help her transfer to a high school in Boston, and to work on travel plans for the East Coast trip we are finalizing. We will also take her a medium size suitcase for our travel to the West Coast. Pretty rare, I suppose to spend the better part of a month traveling with the child of a stranger, but that is what we are doing. And clearly we've spent a good bit of time with her over the past several months. She's coming to our house for Easter dinner, may stay with us for a week this summer between the end of school and a fencing camp she hopes to attend, etc etc etc.

Dasha has definitely become another "daughter" in the family.


More photos ... just for the fun of it :thumbup:
 

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Doc

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I do believe the really talented folks need quality people like you to help guide them through all the 'other' stuff. You might not be able to 'coach' her talent , but you are guiding her and helping her make wise decisions that will impact her the rest of her life. Kudos to you, the lovely Mrs Bob and Melen for welcoming her in your home and taking the time and travel to help this young lady make the most of her talent. :tiphat:
 

Melensdad

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So it looks like there may be some travel plan changes.

The WEST COAST trip is still 100% confirmed.

The EAST COAST trip is now in some level of limbo.

The foreign exchange student program is balking about paying for the lovely Mrs_Bob & I to travel, despite the fact that they said they were not only willing to pay, but they were also willing to book the flights & hotels. I understand they have some concerns. I'm not here to argue.

So until that all gets figured out we have told Dasha & her mom that we will make all the arrangements but as Dasha's mom is planning to fly in for the same trip, we will sit out and Dasha & her mom can make the visits. If the program changes its mind and pays for us, then we go, but honestly its silly to have a parent + a chaperone on the same trip.

So we now have campus visits lined up. We have letters to fencing coaches dispatched and we are working on follow up phone calls to the same coaches.

No hard feelings either way as to whether or not we go to Boston/New York.


Photos for fun, again ...
 

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Melensdad

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...

96% confirmed: March 22 we fly to Boston. Campus visits, and fencing coach meetings, with Tufts, Harvard and MIT.
'
March 27 we are at YALE for a campus & fencing team visit.

March 28-30 we are in New York City visiting Columbia and NYU for campus & fencing team visits.

...

So this leg of our travel plans have now been cancelled.

We already have campus meetings set up so I need to cancel those meeting.

Unfortunately we could not get everything lined up with the foreign student exchange program.
 

Melensdad

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And tonight at the awards banquet Dasha got an award :clap:
 

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Melensdad

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From San Francisco/Stanford University

Got here Tuesday evening. Departing this morning.

Despite a run in with a Berkley resident and a couple trips through Haight-Ashbury the whole family is unscathed, free thinking and un-buggered.

Melen flies back to Chicago in time for a southside snowstorm, she returns to law school Sunday as classes resume Monday morning.. The lovely Mrs_Bob & I will accompany Dasha south to Anaheim so she can compete in the SJCC event tomorrow. We fly back to Chicago Monday evening.

Most of the pictures are right side up!
 

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Melensdad

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Sad day yesterday at the competition. It’s clear that her skills have declined since joining the high school team because she does not get enough top level competition. She needs to move to a new area where she can have local access to a high level fencing club with multiple top rated fencers. That is simply not possible on the far south side of Chicago.

On the bright side she fenced well enough to earn her first Junior National Points. That is a good thing for improving her chances with college recruiters. Sadly she fenced badly and only placed 21st. I was hoping for something in the top 16 spots. She was hoping for top 8.

The rest of the day was fun.

We fly home to Chicago this evening.
 

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Melensdad

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Back home again in Indiana

Melen is back at law school in Bloomington

Dasha is back at high school

California's landscape is beautiful, but California is a cesspool of filth and poverty. Honestly many parts seemed like a 3rd world country. Homeless people everywhere, and I mean all over the place. Camps of homeless in tents by the highways. People sleeping on the ground in front of Disneyland. Supermarket parking lots with homeless in San Francisco. Could not go a mile without seeing people is desperate shape. Regulations are apparently keeping prices so damn high on everything that it keeps them all in poverty ... the highest rate of poverty of any state in the nation. Chiraq has nothing on the state of California for being a total S#!th0le.
 

Melensdad

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FWIW I never claimed to be a good influence on minors.

Here is a photo of me in front of a strip joint in Hollywood and one of Dasha in front of one of California's pot shops. We finished that night with a FATBURGER

Travel with me and you get to see all the best places :yum:
 

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Melensdad

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So our travel plans for next week to take Dasha to Boston/New York are not happening.

Honestly I'm not unhappy about that.

Dasha will still go, but she will meet her mother in Boston. Mom is flying in from Kiev, Ukraine. We gave Dasha & her mom the itinerary and travel information. Dasha really wanted to go home for a week. Dasha really needs to visit the schools. Having her mom fly into meet her is the best compromise.
 

Melensdad

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Dasha & her mom are in Boston now. They have been trading texts and emails with me all day.


Dasha visited BOSTON COLLEGE and was not impressed.

She also visited WELLESLEY COLLEGE and was not impressed.

The good thing about Wellesley is they share classes with MIT so if Dasha is not accepted at MIT but is accepted at Wellesley she could still get an MIT education. The fencing coach at Wellesley is very interested in meeting with Dasha and is aware that Dasha needs a big scholarship to pay for school.

I'm not surprised Dasha didn't like either school. Its cold in Boston, its Sunday so the campus is pretty much closed. If she would have gone on a day when she could have gotten a real tour, gotten into the buildings, and talked to students she might have a different impression.

She couldn't get into dining halls, couldn't meet with coaches, couldn't get to see anyone from Admissions or Financial Aid. But neither of those two schools are high on her list of choices. She went to see them because they are there. Tomorrow & Tuesday she will visit MIT and Harvard. If she has time she will also go to Tufts.

Lake photo is at Wellesley. Photo in front of the old building is at Boston College.
 

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Melensdad

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Dasha is at MIT and likes this campus
 

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