This Isn’t Goodbye…

As the Smirkus troupe and crew get ready for their TWO FINAL SHOWS today in Greensboro, I am on a plane headed home to return to the University of Iowa. Classes start tomorrow. I wish I could have stayed.

I am so glad I have been able to document the daily happenings here because I am having a very difficult time being able to summarize my experience in a single post. I have seen fifteen towns in five states, experienced almost every weather condition imaginable, made lifelong friendships, and went on the adventure of a lifetime!

It was only two months ago that I was sitting on the floor in my living room jamming my various belongings in a suitcase. I hopped on a plane and — after more time spent delayed on the tarmac than in the air — made it to Vermont.

The troupers' first day on site.

I will admit it, the first three weeks were very tough for me. I can’t say it would have been easy for anybody since the communications/public relations internship was a new one for Smirkus. I was a “guinea pig,” and everyone at Smirkus was trying to figure out how my job would work. Luckily, I survived these trials during the first part of the summer and was able to experience an entirely new set of challenges on the road.

Being away from home base, I gained new responsibilities and became a much more independent person. I had to manage my own time, be able to assist the press and do the social media side of my job — many times, all at once. The time management skills I used in my internship will stick with me for the rest of my life.

The best part of the summer may be all of the people I have met and friends I have made during the course of tour. On my first day in Vermont (when my plane landed at 1 a.m.) I was greeted at Burlington Airport by a very cheerful and chipper lady by the name of Marialisa Calta — my supervisor. She and I got along great. She taught me so much and has offered me so many valuable lessons this summer, and perhaps most importantly taught me to “assume nothing.” Elena Esteban, Smirkus’ Marketing Director, also shared her wisdom. Elena gave me a lesson in time management and setting priorities which will forever be engrained in my brain. Katherine Dickson, Development and Executive Assistant, taught me the valuable skill of driving a car with manual transmission and also was a great friend throughout tour. I also got to spend some quality time with Executive Director, Ed LeClair. Ed is such a great guy and he motivated me to take on extra tasks to become more a part of the Smirkus family. Troy and Sara Wunderle are fantastic people with the biggest hearts. I was so fortunate to have been able to work with them. Judy Gaeth, Tour Operations Director, is the kindest person I have ever worked with. The counselors and coaches, tent crew and concessionaires, production staff, cooks and back lot staff all made my life on the road enjoyable, fun, and memorable.  I thank each and every one of you for making my summer fantastic.

Also this summer I got to work very closely with the troupers. These kids — no, they’re too mature to be kids — these young adults are some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. I am so fortunate to have been able to hang out with them, watch them grow as performers, and see them soar in the ring this summer. I also am so glad to have had the opportunity to listen to them be interviewed by the different press representatives throughout the course of the summer — they have so many great stories to share. You guys rock and will excel in anything you choose to do!

Troupers — You mean so much to me and made me very proud this summer. It was an honor to have the opportunity to spend my summer vacation with you!

Thanks for letting me into the Smirkus family!

Thank you, Circus Smirkus, for allowing me to join the family and to live my dream of “running away” with the circus. Thanks for letting me dive right in to the world of communications at the circus — the skills I have acquired will be useful for the rest of my life! I have grown so much as a person and have made so many friends that it will be difficult to imagine life without Smirkus.

Thanks for the memories, everyone! Have a great last two shows today!

This isn’t goodbye; this is see you down the road!

Thanks for making me feel at home.

Alex Zaprudsky
Former Tour Communications Intern

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8 Responses to This Isn’t Goodbye…

  1. Beth Riungu says:

    Thanks for all the updates Alex, it’s been great hearing the inside scoop. Keep practicing with the bubbles – maybe we’ll see you in the ring next time the circus comes to RI!

  2. Mary Healy says:

    Thanks Alex,for keeping those of us who are somehow connected to Smirkus “in the loop”. You did an amazing job and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking what a GREAT job you did this summer. You kept me entertained all summer without having to leave the house!
    Good luck in your personal journey, and, thanks again.
    Mary Healy

  3. Jack Ryan says:

    Have enjoyed the blog and enjoyed posting links on my “May All Your Days Be Circus Days” Facebook page. Good job and have a great semester at school.

  4. Miriam Rosenblum says:

    Alex – You did a wonderful job as the inaugural communications / pr intern. Thanks for keeping all of us up to date through the weeks of training and show development, across the miles of New England and New York, and through the highs and highs of the 10 week adventure of the Smirkus 2011 season. With your new found skills of a touring circus life, your college studies will be a breeze. See you down the road!

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