Here’s the link for my genre paper 2, aka the “Global Balloons” as I’m calling it.
A lot of people asked me where I came up with the idea. Well, actually, my mom came up with this idea. I was really struggling in figuring out how to make this project “public,” as I did want to follow those guidelines as much as possible but do something original at the same time. I didn’t want to anything with chalk, since we did that class, doing a poster is something that reminds me of high school and I’ve already done so many I didn’t feel like going to Walgreens to get poster board…again! So a video would be the ideal genre. But how to make it public? I went over to my parents’ house for dinner a few weeks ago and we brainstormed methods of “public” messaging together. Banners on airplanes, the big “A” on the foothill next to our house, blimps, graffiti, hot air balloons… Finally, the idea of balloons sparked of a chain of inspiration and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do! Execution, however, was another story entirely.
First of all, in order to really convey my message, I would have to get a lot of balloons. I had this image of Pixar’s Up in my head…okay, so maybe not THAT many balloons. But what would the balloons represent? I had a very recent discovery/epiphany of what I wanted to do with my teacher’s certificate after I graduate: I’m going to Australia. And so what if I did something that spread the message about the benefits of teaching abroad? Aha! I could write countries on the balloons and send off information on HOW to teach abroad on each one. Viola! Public, interesting, and unique. Now where can I get 40 helium balloons for cheap?
Turns out I live right next to Party City, and they gave me a deal that if I bought over 20 balloons the last 20 would be half off–so a $50 project turned into a mere $28. I can live with that. Transporting 40 helium balloons is no easy feat, either. I had to get both of my roommates (which is a grand total of three cars) to help me drive home these damn demanding balloons. Without incident or any pops, we managed to squeeze them through the front door and suddenly our living room ceiling is covered in balloons (as you can see in the video. I decided on the colors blue and green because they represent the globe). I spent 4 hours writing on each balloon and printing out tiny slips of paper with tips on classroom management in each country, what sort of teachers they’re looking for, and how to get involved/apply for jobs/get more information regarding that country. I tried to rearrange the balloons to look like the globe, but, alas, turns out a pack of helium, static-charged balloons have minds of their own. Without further ado I grab a camera, hand it to my roommate, and we all head out the front door followed by a swarm of bubbling balloons.
There’s a roundabout just down the street from our townhouse so I decided it would be the most public place to let them loose without walking/driving for miles. Turns out, there were several cars pulled over to watch, curious of this large collection of balloons and three girls video-taping it. And one lucky toddler was taking a walk with his grandma and got to see it all happen. He was squealing with delight so loud it made all of us laugh, and I’m pretty sure we made that kid’s day. Anyway, the end of the story ended like in the video–watching these balloons that were once a pain in the ass and a huge mess to handle disappear into tiny specks on the horizon. They floated north and I watched 40 minuscule black specks vanish behind a cloud. That’s the last I ever saw of them, but I hope the messages they carry will reach others.
Thanks for the support, guys, and spread the word! Teaching abroad, in no matter which country or what sort of needs are there, is a valuable service…and will give so much outstanding personal experience, too. Can’t wait for Melbourne!