Monday, October 26, 2009

Life through a tube of toothpaste

Hello all! So, it's been a while since I've posted. Oops. It's funny how life gets ahead of you, isn't it? We just finished our production of Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman. I feel like we put on a good show, and I learned so much in the process. This was a challenging show for me on a lot of levels. First of all, it was in French, which is the language I have the least amount of experience with, so that was an adventure. It is also a very complicated show, and so fitting the whole thing together in my brain was a task in and of itself. I also understudied the role of Nicklausse in all of the spare time I had, which was very difficult, but also extremely rewarding. I now feel much more competent and capable of learning roles in the future. Over the past few weeks, I felt like my life was being squeezed through a tube of toothpaste. There were so many deadlines, expectations to meet, tasks to accomplish, people to give my attention to, and places to be that I felt like it was all building up behind the small opening of my 24 hour days. Emotions ran high, and time ran short, but I made it! The show was a success, and now I can catch up on all the other facets of my life. I was lucky enough to have my dad and brother come out for the show. It was really nice to see them, and I am excited to go home for Christmas! I feel like I am always analyzing how I feel about my musical life, and I keep coming up with the same conclusion. I love performing, and I love to sing, but it is hard. Luckily for me, I can do hard things! Haha. I am learning that to be a good performer you have to give so much of your being over to the music and the passion behind it. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but the reward is always worth the effort.
In other news, fall is in full swing! I love Utah in the fall. The colors are lovely, and the air is crisp and clean. It's supposed to snow tomorrow though. Gross. I love my life, and I hope to update you on it again very soon! Alles liebe!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sappy and nostaligic ramblings

Hello all! Once again I apologize for my long absence. I am back at BYU! Woo hoo! I am living in my old apartment, and it is very nice to be back. My computer is dying, and I only have time for a short update. I am taking classes this term, and things in general are going well. Naturally there have been some bumps, but that is to be expected. I have been thinking a lot lately about change. I was thinking about how my life has developed over the last two years. Two years ago I never could have imagined that I would be where I am right now. If you had told me that I would get into the school of music, I would have hoped you were right, but at the same time I would have been afraid that it was all just a sick joke. Then if you had told me that not only would I get into my major, but I would have the chance to learn German, live in Vienna, and sing there for three months with some of the most talented people on the planet, I would have absolutely never have believed you. I have had so many beautiful experiences, but more importantly, I have been fortunate enough to make friends with the most wonderful people imaginable. I am grateful for all the people in my life, and for the growth and support that I feel. My path has taken many unexpectedly fantastic turns, and I know that there are many more on the horizon!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Home

I have been home for just over 24 hours. Wierd. My trip back to the states was fairly uneventful, is a positve thing in my book when it comes to flying. It has been great to see my family, but I am definitely going to miss Vienna. I will miss quiet, dignified beauty of the city, and the goodness of the people. Vienna taught me that beauty is all around - all you have to do is notice it. I am so grateful that I got to experience the music of Vienna. It was wonderful to step away from my everyday life and fall in love with music again. Not that I ever fell out of love, but it was nice to re-group and affirm to myself that yes, I am doing the right things with my life. I am coming away from this experience inspired not only as a musician, but also as an individual. I have learned that life doesn't just fall into your lap. You have to actively seek out opportunity, and then once you find it, be brave enough to take it and magical things can happen. Now that I am home, I think the challenge will be to avoid falling into a complacent routine. I want to keep experiencing and learning new and beautiful things. I promise that I will fill in the holes in my blog. There are all sorts of adventures that I haven't talked about yet.! However, right now jetlag is exacting its revenge, and I have to go to sleep. Bis bald!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oh, the places you'll go


Since the last time I posted I have been to Prague, Budapest, Salzburg, Mauthausen, Melk, and Duernstein. Wow. I promise that I will blog about all of these trips! Right now I just have time to say that I am having a spectacular time in Europe, and I can't wait to share all of my adventures with you! Here are a few pictures. Maybe by posting these I will assuage some of the neglect that my blog is undoubtedly feeling.



Laura, Britain, and I up on the castle hill in Salzburg


A cemetary at Mauthausen concentration camp


The monestary at Melk

An awesome staircase inside the monestary

Me and the lovely Austrian countryside. This was taken up by the ruins of a castle.

Until I have more time, this will have to do! Auf wiedersehen!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm back!

Sorry I've been slacking! I have been sooooooo busy! Here is a general rundown of what I have been up to: I went to Schoenbrunn palace, which was great. It was beautiful, but kind of quirky at the same time. It had a bunch of smaller rooms that all had very specific purposes. For instnace, there was a whole room dedicated to brushing the empress Elizabeth's hair. It took four hours. Woah. There was another room that was decorated with pictures that Maria Theresia's children had drawn, which was neat. I would post pictures, but they wouldn't let us take any! Sad. After the tour, Joseph, Emily, Naomi, and I walked around the grounds for a long time, which I really enjoyed. The weather was brisk and windy, and had a little bit of an ominous feel about it. That doesn't sound like that much fun, but it really was. We walked up the hill to the Gloriette, which is where they were going to build an even bigger palace but didn't because they ran out of funding. From there we had a nice view of the city. We also meandered along the tree-lined paths and came upon some very interesting monuments. There was one that looked like Roman ruins, but clearly nothing had stood there before. They just build the monument to look antique and dilapidated. I also went on walking tour four this week. We saw the monument to the man who inspired Hitler's anti-semetic ideas. He was also mayor of Vienna, which is why he has a statue. They would never build a statue to him for infecting Hitler. We also saw a part of the old city wall that surrounded Vienna, along with all sorts of neat buildings. Yay! Outside the Museum of Applied Art I saw a banner for a photography exhibit about the poverty in Americus, Georgia. Ironic, right? Who would have though that I would see a sign for an exhibit about GA in Vienna! It was kind of a wierd moment. I also saw a man who had been stabbed in the subway last week! It was intense. I was coming home from FHE, and I took the U2 to the U4 in Karlsplatz. When I got to the U4 platform, I could tell that something wasn't right. As I got further onto the platform, I saw a bunch of drunk people stumbling around. More than usual, anyway. I though that was kind of wierd, but I kept going a little further. Then I saw a man lying on the ground. Another man was kneeling over him, and tearing his shirt off. As he ripped the fabric away, I could see blood streaming down his chest from what looked like a stab wound. This theory was corroberated by Sister Vincent the next day. She had come onto that same platform right after this happened, and she told me that by the time she got there they were announcing what had happened over the intercom. I did not stick around long enough to hear those announcements. I was about to call 911, until I realized that I did not know the Austrian equivalent of 911! I should probably find that out. There was a man who called it in though. I saw him talking to emergency personell as I left. I exited that platform, and took an alternate route home. Tomorrow I am going to a Monestary that is just outside of Vienna. I will give a full report tomorrow night! In other news, I am going to Prague this weekend! Hooray! We leave on Thursday afternoon, and I am so excited about it! Well, that is all for now. Alles Liebe!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

YSA Performance

Last night my study abroad peeps and I had the chance to give a performance at the outreach institute. Hooray! It was wonderful to have the chance to perform our pieces, even if we were all a little sick. We did the greater portion of our opera scenes program, and it was a rousing sucess. I sang Dorabella in the duet and trio from Cosi fan tutte. Those pieces center around two girls who are madly in love with their boyfriends, but fall in love with other men when given the opportunity. Viel spass. Then I sang in the Magic Flute scene with Joseph, Emily, and Britain. This scene was very well recieved, and it's no wonder! It's got a serpent (played by our very own Rebeker), jelousy, comedy, and magic! Not to mention Mozart wrote some pretty good music :). Next it was onto the Rossini. I was pretty nervous about this scene from Barber of Seville, because the coloratura had been giving me problems earlier that day due to sickness. However, it went very well, all things considered. In that scene I play Rosina, who is madly in love with Count Almaviva, who she previously thought was a student named Lindoro. My wonderfully talented amigos also did scenes from Don Giovanni, Lakme, and Martha, and Ty also played one of his compositions. It was so much fun to sing for all of our YSA buddies. They weren't there to judge us, they just wanted to hear what we had to offer, and support us, which was fantastic. I love to sing. That is all.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Birthday in Bratislava

I am pleased to report that I no longer have that ever-pesky suffix "teen" at the end of my age. Yayhoo! Not to say that my teen years weren't fun, because they were, but I am looking forward to what the next phase in my life will bring. "What did you do for your birthday?" you might ask. Well, let me just tell you. I slept in, which is always a good thing, and then Laura called me and asked if I wanted to go get some lunch. Naturally, I said yes, and we met up with Emily and Joseph at our favorite cafe. While we were eating our food (which we accidently ordered - yay language mistakes), Joseph had the brilliant idea to go to Bratislava. The next thing I knew I was on a train to Slovakia! The more I think about it, the more unreal it seems. Who gets to go on a random European adventure for their birthday!?! I'm pretty lucky I suppose. Anyway, the train ride was fun. Bratislava is only about an hour from Vienna, and we got to see some beautiful countryside. Britain, Joseph, and I were on the same train, and Emily, Laura, and Becky followed about an hour later. We made friends with Fabian, who was seated next to Britain. He was about our age, and works in a hotel here in Vienna. As we looked out the windows, we noticed these round bush-like things in the trees. Fabian informed us that those are mistletoe! That was exciting. After pulling into the train station, we took a ten minute bus ride into the old city center of Bratislava. It was wonderful. We wandered around the old city where quaint Mideval buildings line the winding cobblestone alleys, and took in the general cuteness that surrounded us. After finally meeting up with the others, we ate dinner at this great restauraunt with very kind staff. They let us use their internet to find a hostel, and then we were on our way. For dessert we decided to check out a chocolate cafe. Brace yourselves - they serve you bowls of melted chocolate that you eat with a spoon. Oh my goodness. It was heavenly. This literally was an establishment that served nothing but chocolate. Why do we not have these in the states!?!?! It was awesome. After gorging ourselves, we meandered our way around the city, and eventually found our hostel. We stayed there for 13 euros, and none of us really slept. They were having a party in the bar downstairs, and the unbelieveably loud music didn't stop until 3 in the morning. Ouch. At seven, we stumbled out of bed, and back into the city. As we were entering Bratislava on the bus the day before, we had seen a castle on a hill overlooking the Danube, so we decided to go check it out. It was built in the 8th century. Wow. We couldn't go inside, because it was closed, but we wandered around the outside and took pictures. After that, we went to visit our good friend Billa, and headed back to Vienna. But wait! Naturally, there's more. A few hours after we arrived in Vienna, we had a rehearsal with the casting director of the Theater an der Wien in the rehearsal space in the theater. Yeah. We worked on our opera scenes with him, and he talked to us about how the business really works. What a great contact!! Yay Joseph. Well, that's all for now. I have to go recover from the week! Bis bald!

Here are some pictures of my Birthday adventures.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Once upon a time, there was a fairy princess who went to a ball...

I just got back from a ball. Let me repeat that. I JUST GOT BACK FROM A BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At a palace, no less!!!! It was unimaginably wonderful. Let me start at the beginning (yes, a very good place to start). To begin my wondrous day, I slept in. Hooray. Then I got up, ate some breakfast, and put on my makeup for the ball, because I knew that I wouldn't have time for the rest of the day. Then I caught the Strassenbahn and headed over to the stake center for my voice lesson, which was fabulous. I switched my audition piece for the opera. Yay! I'm now auditioning for the part of Nicklausse in for Tales of Hoffman in the fall. This fits my voice much better than the other role I was auditioning for. After that, I came back and finished getting ready for the ball. I must say, all of us girlies looked pretty fabulous. I wore my black prom dress from senior year. Yay! Our groups consisted of 7 girls, and Ty - the only guy. It was kind of funny. Anyway, after getting ready we headed over to Ty's house to take pictures. Again, kind of funny, I know. He lives with Austrian aristocrats, so their house is an appropriate place to gather before a ball. The one spot of ghetto on our trophy of class was that we had to take the U-bahn to Ty's place. It was hilarious. Here we were (Britain, Emily, and I) in our formalwear in the nasty U-bahn station. I have never gotten so many wierd looks in my life. Most people drive, or take a cab, or a limo to a ball. Oh no my friends, we took the U-bahn. Klassy with a K, as Laura would say. It was awesome. We took princess pictures in the U-bahn. I will get them from Emily and post them at a later date. Anyway, we congregated at Ty's, took pictures, and then walked to the Hoffburg. We took some awesome pictures of us walking down Mariahilfer Strasse, which I will also post later. We arrived at the palace, and it was so beautiful. As we entered by way of the arches, which were build on the same spot as a gate that Napoleon blew up, we could see the Palace. the Rathaus, and the buildings of the Museumsquartier all lit up. It was unbelieveable. Then we went inside. Oh. My. Goodness. It was spectacular. Marble, mirrors, and chandeliers stretched out in every direction. We checked our coats, and ascended the red carpet lined staircase into the area where the ball was held. There were several rooms, but when we got there the debutauntes from the dance school were performing. Imagine hundreds of girls in white dresses dancing with their tuxedo-clad parthners, all perfectly in sync. After the opening ceremony, the floor was open. The Viennese have such a rich culture. The dancing was incredible. It was nothing like American dancing where it seems that everything has to have a sensual undertone. No, this was dancing for the sake of beautiful dancing. Not that everyone was a great dancer. There were people messing up all over the place, but they were having such a great time that it didn't matter, which was comforting. Did I mention that there was a live orchestra and jazz combo? Yeah. They were the Austrian military orchestra, and they were great! We sat on the steps just below them, and chatted with some of the violinists. As soon as we had taken in the general splendor of our situation, we were ready to dance. Ty danced with a few of us, myself included. It turns out that Becky is an incredible dancer! She was so awesome. I, on the other hand, am not so wonderful. However, I gave it my best shot, and had a blast in the process. In addition to Ty, I danced with Bernhardt, a violinist in the orchestra, and Krystoff, a law student from Salzburg. They were both very nice, and I learned six new dances. I learned the foxtrot, jive, cha-cha, rumba, a french dance that I think was called the Midnight Quatrain (or something like that. They said the name in German), and the Viennese waltz. The French dance was out of control. It was one of those dances like in Pride and Prejudice where the couples line up in two lines, only it went so fast. My parthner (Krystoff) and I were really bad at it, but it was really fun. The waltz was by far my favorite. It was so beautiful. We waltzed to Moon River, and the feeling of all those couples spinning at exactly the same time was absolutely enchanting. I was so happy that I got to waltz at a ball in Vienna. How perfect ist that? After the waltz, the orchestra played the Blue Danube Waltz. Perfection. I still cannot get over how amazing this whole experience was. As I left, I took one last look at the couples waltzing under the picturesque Baroque painted ceiling of the ballroom, and thought to myself "How did this happen? How is this really my life?!?" I am having absolutely the best time over here, and feel so blessed to have this opportunity! I have to go to bed now. I have class in the morning! Yikes! However, I will post pictures as soon as I can. Auf wiedersehen!

PS- Here are some pictures, as promised!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Can life get better? I submit that it cannot!

My life is a fairytale. I wake up every morning, push back the princess curtains, and eat my breakfast in my adorable and completely European apartment overlooking the Danube. Then I go to school and learn about art, language, and architecture. After that, I get to make music for a few hours with my wonderfully talented friends. Today I went to the Kunsteshistorisches Museum (art history museum) with Amy, Shea, and Emily, and saw the Saliera (Cellini), and a whole room full of original Breugel paintings. I need to go back to see the Vermeers and Rembrandts. After the museum, I went home, changed, and then Britain and I made our way down to the Naschmarkt to meet the others for dinner. What happened next was like something out of a movie. Let me preface this story by saying that Joseph has connections, and has made friends with the casting director at the Theater an der Wien - where Mozart conducted the premiere of The Magic Flute. How cool is that?!?! So, tonight Mr. Schwarz was kind enough to invite all of us to the final dress rehearsal of Handel's Parthenope. We met in the lobby after dinner, and pretty soon Mr. Schwarz came and whisked us around to the back of the theater. We got to go backstage, and into the theater where we got to sit in the fifth or sixth row - for free. None of us really knew anything about Parthenope, except for a shady synopsis that Britain and I looked up on Wikipedia, so we had no clue what to expect. It was so incredible!!! It was a modern staging, which I didn't know if I would like. I loved it! It was sooooooo well done. There were two counter-tenors, which was exciting, and the Mezzo was fabulous. The acting was so good! And the set - unbelieveable. There were all these elements that twisted, and evolved. It was also very funny, which was exciting, because it could have been pretty dry. At the end, there is supposed to be a duel, but they staged it as a boxing match, and it was so funny! There was also a scene where Parthenope and one of her many romantic prospects were doing yoga. It matched the music exactly, and was so clever. The Mezzo and the Tenor rode off on a motorcycle at the end. Awesome! During one of the intermissions Mr. Schwarz came and told us abou the set, and a little bit of what it takes to put on such a high quality show, which was fascinating. We are also going on a behind the scenes tour of the Theater in the next week or so. How many people get this kind of opportunity?!? Not many. I'll post pictures of the theater tomorrow. It's very intimate, and I think it's my favorite of all the theaters that I've been to here. But wait - there's more! As if all of this awesomeness isn't enough, I'm going to a ball on Tuesday. It's called the Elmayer Kranzchen ball. It's held in the Hofburg palace. I'm so excited! Here is the website. Well, that's all for now! Auf wiedersehen!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Musikverein noch einmal

The Musikverein rocks my world. I heard Anna Larsson (Mezzo-soprano), today, and it was unbelieveable. However, my musical experience did not start out so warm and fuzzy. Laura was nice enough to get tickets for everybody yesterday, however, she was under the impression that the tickets were for the Wiener Philharmoniker concert, which was also tonight in the same venue. Little did she know that the ticket website was feeding her lies. So, when the time came for us to head over to get our tickets, Laura calls me and says she's going to be late and asks me if I would pick up the tickets. Naturally, I agreed, and proceeded to the Musikverein. Once we arrived, I asked a nice lady where the will-call office was. She told me that for the Philharmoniker, it was down two blocks. So, off we went. Unfortunately, we got a little bit confused, and ran around for about a half hour between two different ticket offices selling tickets for two different concerts at the same venue. Arg! When Laura bought the tickets, the confirmation e-mail said they were for the Philharmoniker, but they were actually for Anna Larsson's recital, which we found out after running around like crazy people, and dealing with several very rude individuals. Finally we figured out where we were going, and got into the recital, albeit a bit late. The small portion of the first half that we saw, I actually wasn't too impressed with. To be fair though, I was not in the best of moods. Intermission came around, and we (meaning Ty, Laura, Britain, Emily, and myself) went downstairs to the main level of the hall, where we saw Joseph. After chatting for a few minutes, we proceeded to sneak into some empty seats. I sat next to a very nice man, and we spoke a little bit in German. Yay! From that point on, the recital got better and better! Anna Larsson has this big, rich voice (being a worldclass mezzo), and it was great for me to see how she used it. It seemed to get clearer and more inviting the more she sang. Maybe that will be me someday! She did a set of Grieg songs, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Grieg is a Norwegian composer, who I am beginning to really love as I listen to more of his work. She also sang a Wolf set, and two encores, one of which was a piece from Sibelius - awesome. I love being a part of the Viennese audience. The people here love music so much, and have no qualms about showing their appreciation, which I think is great. They always give the most sincere, enthusiastic applause and have no problem shouting "bravo!" if they think someone deserves it. I have such a fabulous opportunity over here to watch all of these famous singers, and how they practice their craft. I learn so much from watching and listening to them - not to mention it's so fun to attend so many concerts and operas!
P.S I might to go a ball next week. For real. I'll keep you posted! Bis bald!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What a weekend!

Here are the events of this weekend:

On friday I went on my third walking tour. It was so cold!!!! We saw interesting things though, like the house where Mozart composed the Marriage of Figaro. I also ate at the place that has the biggest Wiener Schnitzel in Wien. We then went to the LDS outreach, stuffed ourselves with waffles, and watched movies. Yay! Saturday Britain and I awoke to a call from Dr. Vincent informing us that our study abroad group would be giving a concert in 24 hours. Yikes! I then went to Naschmarkt, and went to lunch with Naomi and Emily. Viel spass. After lunch, Britain, Laura, Naomi and I hung out at my apartment, and then went on an uber romantic girl dinner date. Then I went to Die Zauberfloete! It was so fun. I really enjoyed that show. The staging was fun, and overall the singing was very good. There were some things in that show that I thought were a little off, but it was so fun. Today I went over to Dr. Vincent's to help out with things before the concert. We ate lunch, which was tasty, and then we all practiced the rep for the concert. We then headed over to the stake center for sacrament meeting. After church, we all huddled in the kitchen and ate rice. Then I warmed up and sang with Ty, Naomi, and Laura. That was so fun! It's always fun to sing with talented friends. Then it was time for the concert. The performance was so fun! I haven't performed in a concert setting in a long time, and it was so great to sing on a concert with my friends. The Viennese are so appreciative of classical music, which is not something I'm completely used to yet. After the performance, we got a chance to speak to the church members, which was so wonderful. I spoke mostly in German, which was exciting, even if I didn't understand everything people said. Tonight was one of those times when I feel that yes, I really am doing the right thing with my life. I love singing, and I love the affect that music has on people's hearts. I want to make people happy through my music. It is so important to remind myself that the goal of singing is not my own satisfaction, but rather the peace that can come to other people. If I can can be the vehicle through which a person's soul is touched, then all everything is worth it. That is the ultimate goal. I am excited to have more performance opportunities, and am motivated to keep moving forward. Bis bald!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ich liebe Musik!

So, I just got back from The Barber of Seville at the Staatsoper, and it was so wonderful! I am singing a trio from this opera here in Vienna, so it was especially fun to see that piece performed. The set was this neat building with walls that would could be pulled up like garage doors in front of all the rooms. It looked kind of like a Spanish dollhouse when all the walls were up. I loved the staging for this show, and the singing was unbelieveable! It was very exciting (not to mention a little intimidating) to hear how the pros do coloratura. This trio for opera scenes is my first attempt at Rossini caliber coloratura, and it has been extremely challenging, but also very rewarding as I realize that I am singing music now that was far out of my reach just a few short months ago. It's very encouraging to see improvement in yourself. The acting in this production was fabulous as well, especially Figaro! That baritone did such a great job. His voice was fantastic, and he was so funny! Needless to say, I had a great opera-going experience. I realized that in almost all of my blog posts I start at the last thing that happened and go backwards. This post is no exception. That being said, earlier today we had German class, and opera workshop. German went well. It was a little intense, as always, but I feel like my German is greatly improving. I get really irritated when I am in a public place and people speak to me in English when I am trying to communicate in German. However, I have noticed that this is happening a little bit less than when I first arrived. It did happen tonight at a cafe, but the rest of today was pretty good in the German department. Opera workshop was so fun today! We reviewed the Die Zauberfloete scene, which was good, because we had to re-work some things. I am really excited about that scene. Yay Mozart! We also did the Cosi fan tutte duet and trio, as well as the Barber of Seville trio. Now that I have most of my music memorized, it is really fun to work out acting and blocking details. Opera is so complicated, but it is such a rush when things flow the way they are supposed to. Hopefully our scenes will continue to get better and better! I hope you enjoyed my operatic rant. I knew that I would learn a lot about music here, but I am amazed at how much deeper my understanding of music's ability to reach out and touch the core of human emotion has grown. I love this city, I love music, and I can't wait to see what other adventures are in store for me! Bis bald!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crazy weather

The weather here is insane. One day it is sunny and warm, and the next it is snowing and miserable. Take this morning for instance, I looked out the window and thought that it was going to be warm. Needless to say, it was freezing! AND it started raining and then snowing, and got colder and colder as the day went on. Brrrr! Today I went to the Kunsthistorisches Museum (art history museum) for my fine art class. It was so fun! Tomorrow we are going to the Academy of Fine Arts, where Hitler was rejected as an art student. I also had voice lessons and opera workshop today, both of which went well. Hooray! After that I went to a cafe with some amigas, and then we headed over to Becky and Naomi's house to watch a movie. We all piled on Naomi's bed, and it was glorious. Yesterday we had class, and then opera workshop, and then it was time to find some chocolate! After the hunt for chocolatey goodness was accomplished, we went over to the outreach institute for delicous dinner for 1.50 Euro! It was so good! We were all starving. Then we had FHE and hung out with the Austrian peeps. That's the report for today! I have to go to bed. So much to write, so little time!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A rainy Sunday in Vienna

Hello all!

Let me paint a picture for you. This morning I awoke to the sound of rain lightly knocking on the window. I clumbsily parted my princess curtains (yes, I have princess curtains that seperate my bed from the rest of the floral-wallpapered awesomeness that is my room), and casually greeted the serf that seems to always occupy the other half of my kingdom when she's not otherwise engaged in useful activities such as, but certainly not limited to, preparing my morning cornflakes or bringing me chocolate bars ;). After this customary greeting of "hey Britain," I felt the gentle heat of the radiator eminating from the floorboards as I made my way to the window. As I peered around the orchid emblazoned curtains, I noted the usual morning suspects - Volkswagons humming along the Ringstrasse, pedestrians hustling down the sidewalks with their dogs, and little kids on razor scooters. However this morning, something was a little different. For one thing, the windows were a little bit foggy, and secondly, the Danube was greyer and more tumultuous than usual. As I looked closer, I also noted that the pedestrians were hugging their big fur coats (which are very popular among the women here) a little tighter to their bodies, and that the unfortunately small dogs that these pedestrians seem to tow along everywhere looked a little more frantic than usual. Amassing all of these observations, I decided to open the windows and see if it was really as wintry as the scene outside my window seemed to depict. As I pulled the window pane toward me, a blast of frigid air and water hit my face.



Thank you for entertaining my creative interpretation of my morning. One side effect of being in such an enchanting place has been an inspiration to explore all the creative avenues of my personality. I would love to continue this little narrative, but for time's sake I will consolidate the rest of my adventures of the day. After I discovered how cold it was outside, I went about my normal Sunday routine. After grabbing severeal jackets, scarves, and the like, Britain and I made our way to the U-bahn, and I will have you know that we were out the door by eight. That, friends, is a whole hour before church starts. In order to get to our meetinghouse, we take two U-bahns and a Strassenbahn. It was kind of fun. I sat on the Strassenbahn (streetcar) listening to Symphonie Fantastique, watching the icy raindrops flit across the windows, and thinking about all the possibilities that stretch out in front of me. I met some very interesting people at church today, and I feel like I was much more aware of what was happening around me than I was last week. This is exciting, becuase it means that my German has improved at least a little bit. I really enjoy sitting in these all-German meetings and trying to make linguistic connections. I understood what all the lessons were about, even if I didn't catch many of the details. I brought my music with me, and so after church was over I went into the cultural hall and practiced for a little over an hour. It was so great! I didn't realize how much I took the HFAC for granted. I do not have a piano in my Hausfrau's apartment, and so it is really exciting when I have a place to practice. I worked on a trio and a duet from The Barber of Seville and Cosi fan tutte, respectively, and it was fun. After practicing, I went back to the apartment, and changed into jeans. Yay! Britain and I then went over to Dr. Vincent's for religioun class. After class, we talked about the second walking tour, and ate dinner. We had yummy stir-fry, and just hung out, which is always nice. All in all, I had a very pleasant Sunday.


Now I'm going to backtrack and tell you about my adventures from Saturday! Saturday morning, Britain, Emily, Naomi, and I went to Naschmarkt, which is always entertaining. Then we ate at Puccini's. Sounds great, right? Wrong. I realize that eating at cafes takes longer here, but it took an eternity to get our food, and they were out of almost everything on the menu. It was obnoxious. After "lunch", we met up with other members of our group at the Rathaus (city hall, funny right?), to go ice staking. This sounded like a great plan until we discovered how expensive it was. So, instead, Becky, Emily, Laura Joseph and I went on part of the second walking tour. We saw the old city hall, Maria am Gestade (a cathedral), and Judenplatz just to name some highlights. Here are some pictures!




This is a plaque on the side of a building where Mozart lived in 1783.



Maria am Gestade



Holocaust memorial in Judenplatz. It really was quite chilling to see it in person.



This is an inscription on the base of the memorial. You can see the ridges in this picture, which are books with their spines turned inward. These books represent the lives of the more than 65,000 Austrian Jews who were killed. The fact that their spines are turned to the inside of the memorial represent the idea that their lives are closed, and only the dead can read them.


After we finished the tour, we ate at the Schottenring Cafe and had Wienerschnitzel, which was tasty. Then Becky, Joseph, and I went to Stiffelio at the Staatsoper. I have never heard such beautiful singin in my life. It was rich, and powerful, but delicate and untouchable at the same time. Here is a picture of me with the fabulous soprano, Hui He. She blew my mind, she was so great!



Well, that just about wraps it up for the past two days! Tschuess!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Crown jewels, cafes, and.... a stake dance.

Hello all! First, can I just say that I love chocolate. I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but seriously - it's delectable. Britain and I currently have eight different types of chocolate lying around, and it is delicious! I just finished eating a piece of pear-almond chocolate! It is milk chocolate with pear-almond truffle filling. YUM! It was so good. I have been up to all sorts of things the past few days. On Wednesday we went to see the crown jewels at the Schatzkammer (treasury). Here are some pics!

Crown of the Holy Roman Emperors (1500) each stone represents virtues that the Emperor should posses.

Crown, orb, and scepter used at coronations

Pitcher and basin used for royal baptisms

This was a gift to the Holy Roman Emperor.

Pretty cool huh? Yesterday I had german class, and then master class. I sang Widmung, and it was fun. Then, Emily and I went to this awesome place called the Schottenring Cafe. We hopped on a random Strassenbahn and found this little gem of a place right down the road from my apartment. It is extremely Viennese in feeling and decor, and the food was very authentic as well. There was a pianist playing all sorts of fun music. Emily and I felt very sophisticated as we ate our Wiener Schnizel and Topfenstrudel and listened to music. The cafe was built in 1878, I believe, and it had the character to match its age!

The cafe!

Wiener Schnizel! It was so good! Mind you that this is only half. A whole one would be huge! Emily and I split it because it's kind of expensive.

Today I slept in (yay!), and then had lunch with some people from our group, and two girls that we met at the LDS outreach insitute. We had burritos. It was great to socialize with some of our newfound friends! After lunch, I went to a free organ concert at Peterskirche. It was so beautiful. The music was great, and the church was so pretty! I love how many concerts are given here! You could go to a show or performance of some kind any day, no problem.Again, here are pics.





After the concert, Laura, Emily, and I wandered around for a little while before meeting up with some other people from the group for dinner. We ate at yet another cafe. Hooray! We also got lost for a little while and found some Roman ruins, the Spanish Riding School, and some great museums. After dinner, we went to (dramatic music) a stake dance. It was quite the experience. They definently don't dance the way we do in the US. It was like this bizzare fusion of ballroom and freestyle wierdness. I guess I shouldn't say that it was bizzare. It's just not something I'm used to, I suppose. It really was fun though. We got to talk with some of the people we met at the church institute on Monday night, so that was great. Tomorrow Britain and I are planning to go on a hunt for oversized lockets for our duet, do our second walking tour, and then go ice skating! If you want to see more pictures, check out my facebook. I don't think blogger will let me post any more. Auf wiedersehen!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Things I have learned about Vienna so far...

Here is a list of all the quirky or interesting things that I have learned about the city!

1. People will actually speak German to you if you try, even though they totally know you’re American.
2. They drive on the right hand side of the road. Not the left like I thought they would.
3. The city feels safer than I thought it would.
4. The Danube is not brown and disgusting.
5. Little kids who speak German are really cute.
6. You actually can find food for less than 5 euro. Praise!
7. I can actually survive in foreign country by myself. Who knew?
8. Foreign ATM’s aren’t as scary as I thought they would be
9. No one here drives SUV’s (I kind of knew that already).
10. The tap water is DELICIOUS!!!!
11. The chocolate is also amazing, of course!
12. Austrians love lemon and raspberry flavored things.
13. They love tons of herbs on their food.
14. Every Austrian I have come in contact with is very knowledgeable about classical music. They take their heritage very seriously.
15. Austrians love traditions.
16. The bread here is awesome.
17. The yogurt is great, and I don’t even like yogurt! I had an apple yogurt today, and it was amazing.
18. The paper size is different. It is long and skinny. Weird.
19. Buildings are heated by radiators as opposed to central heating.
20. Punctuality is extremely important to the Viennese. Britain and I were late for dinner once, and it was bad news.
21. The people here are absolutely not afraid to give you a really nasty look if they think that you are being too loud on the subway, which happens all the time with a group of ten American musicians.
22. The desserts are epic.
23. They put salami on pizza instead of pepperoni.
24. There is this drink called Almdudler, and it is sooooooo good! It’s like this weird spiced lemon soda. I don’t actually know what’s in it, but it’s oddly scrumptious!
25. When the hot water in the shower runs out, it’s not coming back.
26. Don’t run for the U-bahn. It’s just embarrassing, and people laugh at you.
27. Take music history before you come, or else your crazy German teacher will be very upset.
28. Johann and Richard’s last name is SSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHTTTRAUUUUUOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSS!
29. It’s great when people “remember” to do things.
30. Crazy wallpaper is a way of life.
31. It’s Danke, not Daaaaahnke.
32. Bring napkins for when your yogurt explodes all over your avocado while you’re waiting in line for tickets to the Staatsoper. Very important.
33. Scarves are the best.
34. Always run for the Strassenbahn when there’s a flock of pigeons close by, but only then. Otherwise, you look silly.
35. Old fashioned keys are still very much in style.
36. The Opera Toilette in the U-bahn station scares me. It smells really weird, and bad, and has classical music emanating from its depths. Creepy.
37. Vienna is a good hair city.
38. Ketchup costs twenty cents a packet.
39. Prepare yourself for European smells.
40. It’s not Leipzig, it’s LEIP-ZIG!
41. They have gigantic dogs here, and they come on the U-bahn.
42. They also have some tiny dogs.
43. The police sirens are even musical!
44. Trash men wear bright orange uniforms.
45. Fur coats are awesome, especially on really old ladies.
46. Billa is my friend.
47. There is a real Danube and a fake Danube.
48. Don’t call an Austrian a German.
49. Don’t call a German an Austrian.
50. The police don’t really like it when you eat Weiner Schnitzel on the floor of the U-bahn station late at night.
51. The transportation system rocks.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Week two so far

Well, week two in Vienna is going swimmingly. Today I had Fine Arts class. We learned about Architecture, and it was fascinating. Tomorrow we are going to see Austria's crown jewels, which should be fun. I also had a voice lesson today, and it went very well, thank goodness! I have been feeling a little overwhelmed both vocally, and by the sheer amount of music that I am trying to learn while I am here. So, it was extremely re-assuring to come out of a lesson feeling like I am really improving, and getting ever closer to my all too elusive goal of being a professional singer. I know that I still have a long way to go, but now I realize more than ever that if I just keep working hard, and doing everything I can, then maybe one day, with some divine help, my dreams will turn into reality. Being here in Vienna makes me feel more like a singer and musician than I ever have before. On the flip side, it makes me acutely aware of all the things I still don't know, and have yet to experience. However, I am incredibly excited to continue to learn, grow, and encounter beautiful things. Sorry to wax philosophical, but that's what's been on my mind lately.

After class yesterday, we went over to the church's youth outreach institute for FHE. It was this great building run by the elders, and senior missionaries. They have foosball, a pool table, and a piano. It was fun to just hang out with some Austrian people our age. There were also some Germans and other Americans. It's been really interesting to interact with the Austrian people. They are very kind people, but they are also very private people - not as warm as many Americans. However, we met the other girl who is living in the room next door today, and she is so fun. Her name is Johanna, and she is from Linz, Austria. She just graduated in Marketing. We talked to her about music, school, and her studies in the US and Australia. She speaks beautiful English, and was very fun to talk with. It really amazes me how informed all the Austrians seem to be when it comes to music. I have yet to meet one who did not want to talk about music with me if it came up. It's so fun, and I learn a lot from those conversations. Well, that's all for now. I've got to go examine the inside of my eyelids. Guten nacht!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chocolate and Music

Hello friends! I just have time for a quick post. On friday I went on a walking tour of Stephansdom, and the Jewish quarter. Stephansdom was beautifull. It was great to see all of the art, and the stone work and such. We also climbed the tower and saw a great view of Vienna. It was very picturesque, especially with the snow-covered roofs. After some shopping and dessert-eating, my friends and I then made our way to the Jewish quarter. This is a really quaint part of town. There's something that feels very old-world and calm about it. We saw the Anker Clock, and the Ruprechtskirche, and a Jewish synagogue. This particular synagogue still has to be guarded by armed police, due to hate crimes and violence. Yikes! It has been burned, looted, and the like as recently as the 80's. On Saturday, I went to Naschmarkt with Emily. Yay! We meandered through the stalls of the weekly fleamarket, where we saw all sorts of porcelain boxes, scarves, silver, glass, fur coats, antiques, and chandeliers, of course. Britain then joined us for lunch. We had giant Kebabs. They were so big! We struggled to eat them, but somehow managed :). That night I went to the opera!! Yayhoo!!! We saw Un ballo in maschera by Verdi. We got stehplatz (standing room) tickets. This was quite the adventure to say the least. The Staatsoper, where the opera was performed, is the most famous opera house in Vienna. That being the case, we stood in line for hours to get our tickets. It was so worth it though! I somehow ended up right in the front and in the center, so I had a great view! Can't beat that for four Euros! The opera was really fun. The music was absolutely beautiful. Naturally, I thought the singing was fabulous, but the orchestra was so great too! They were perfectly in sync with the conductor, who looked like he was dancing through the whole show. The plot of this particular opera I was not particularly thrilled with. However, this could have been because I didn't exactly know the synopsis beforehand, and then was trying to go off of German subtitles. You know, it happens. Today I went to church in German. I was really pleased with how much I understood! It was great to go to church in a foreign country in another language and still know what was going on. I also ate delicious chocolate this week! I bought some Mozart chocolate the other day, and I had a bite of Britain's chocolate hazelnut bar. Yum! Here are some pictures from the past few days:





Britain and I waiting for our opera tickets
Inside the Staatsoper

A holocaust memorial outside my house. This is where the Gestapo house used to be, before it was bombed. The engraving at the top (niemals vergessen) means never forget.

A delicious Viennesse pastry! I eat pastries pretty much every day, and it is glorious.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Musikverein and other adventures

So, let me just start by saying that my life pretty much rocks. Today was so great! We had German class at ten, and then we were free for the rest of the day! So, Britain, Laura, and I went down to this government office and registered to become official Viennesse citizens. So, I am officially Austrian for three months. Cool, huh? After that, Emily and I went wandering around the city. We found the stake center, and rode around on the Strassenbahn. Then we got some for real Apfelstruedel (Apple strudel)!!!! It was delicious! It was just the right balance of sweetness and tartness. The pastry part of it was really delicate, which made it even better. Then, we wandered up to the Rupertskirche, which is a church about a block from my apartment that was built in the tenth century. It was so awesome! Here's a picture:


After that, I met up with Britain, and we went home to get ready for the concert! I went to a concert at the Musikverein, and it absolutely blew my mind. The concert was given by the Wiener Symphoniker, and they played a piece by a 20th century composer named Webern. It was stunning. I don't usually care for most 20th century music, but it was so great! The Wiener Symphoniker completely captivated me. They were exactly together. It was like it was a living, breathing musical body. Not to mention the conductor was absolutely impeccable, and fascinating to watch. Also, the dynamics throughout the entire performance were unbelievable. I have never heard an orchestra with so much contrast. This was how music is supposed to be! It was unbelieveable. Not to mention that the audience at the Musikverein was fantastic, and the fact that I was sitting in one of the most famous and beautifull concert halls in the world was awesome. You could tell that the Viennesse people have a deep love for their city, and music. Also on the concert was a Beethoven concerto, and a Brahms symphony. Can life get better!?!?!? No. The whole time my heart felt like it was going to come out of my chest. It was beyond words. Music is supposed to cleanse the heart, and touch the soul, and this music definently met those two requirements! I just loved it, and plan to go back soon!









Isn't it beautiful?

After the concert we all went to a cafe, and hung out. It was really great just to sit around and chat with everyone. I am having a wonderful time here in Wien. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to be here. It truly is a city of music, and I am being exposed to exquisite music like I have never heard before.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

German, museums, and classes, oh my!

So much to tell! I'll start with yesterday. Yesterday was our first day of classes, and thus was very exhausting. First was our European Fine Arts class, which is kind of an art history class, and a European history class all rolled into one. The class is taught by Herr Professor Kroell, who is a very interesting Austrian man. Our lecture yesterday was three hours long, and all about the history of the Austrian empire. It was an extremely interesting, albeit long, lecture, We disccussed how Vienna changed geographically, along with the rest of the Austrian empire, and about the socio-economic climate in Austria within itself, and in relation to Germany. After that, some friends and I went to this cafeteria type place down the street from the Institute for lunch. At this particular establishment, you pay for the size of the plate you get, and there are different stations with food. So, I got the smallest plate possible and trotted off toward the fruit. After I had begun constructing a fruit mountain on my plate, a man came over and informed me that I had to use these special bowls for the fruit. So, I transferred my fruit to the appropriate dish, and went over to the check out counter. There, I explained in German (very exciting) what happened with the bowl and the plate, because the plate was still on my tray. This was great, becuase I actually spoke pretty fluidly (I think I may have just made up that word), and the guy understood me without asking me any questions, or having a confused look. Hooray! This was my German triumph of the day. So, then I went to Dr. Vincent's apartment for my voice lesson, which went well. Then at three everybody else came over to the apartment, and we had opera workshop, and discussed repertoire for the scenes program. I am doing the opening scene from Die Zauberfloete (Mozart), a trio from The Barber of Seville (Rossini), and a duet and a trio from Cosi fan Tutte (Mozart). There's also a Lakeme duet, and some scenes from Don Giovanni. I am SO excited for the opportunity to sing this music here in Vienna. It is a dream come true. I live in the city where mozart wrote Cosi fan Tutte, and Die Zauberfloete (The Magic Flute). In fact, Die Zauberfloete was premiered here, with Mozart conducting. How awesome is that?!?!? Maybe it's just a nerdy singer thing, but I find that very inspiring, and mind-blowing. Anyway, moving on. So, after opera workshop, Joseph and I went on a quest for My Fair Lady tickets. We went up to the Volksoper, and got them. Then we wandered around for a while, stopping in a Billa, which is a pretty cheap grocery store, on the way. After that, we walked some more, and then decided to get some food. We got kebabs. Yum. After that, we hopped on a random streetcar and rode around for a little while, before meeting our other peeps back at the theater. Did I mention that this production of My Fair Lady was entirely in GERMAN?!?!?!? It was crazy. It was a great chance to listen to some uninterrupted Deutsch. Hearing all of the songs that I am so familliar with in that particular show in a foreign instead of English was very enlightening. And a little bit odd. It was really fun though, and I spoke German with some very nice Austrian ladies. So, that was yesterday. Whew! Today I had German class, and then went to the Wien Staadt Museum, and saw some very interesting models of the city. I ate a delicious vanilla pastry, and had this crazy carbonated Austrian drink. Afterwards, we had opera workshop. Yay! Amy and Rebekah worked on the Lakme duet, which was lovely, and then we got to do our Magic Flute trio. That was interesting, since Emily, Britain, and I hadn't rehearsed together in a month. It was really fun though. Then we had master class, followed by dinner with my Hausfrau. Dinnner was so intense. The food was delicious. We had very traditional Austrian pork with Knoedeln, which was a bread/dumpling thing. We also had a purple vegetable soup, and a heavily spiced fruit dessert. The intensity came because ,again, Frau Feest speaks no English, and absolutely expects us to keep up with her German. I did pretty well. I talked about the food, my family, the city, school, health, and music. Frau Feest loves music, so we talked about vocal training, Verdi, Mozart, and Schumann. I told her that I am singing "Lauchen und Weinen," and she could sing the whole thing without even having to think about it. I was impressed. I also learned a lot about pronunciation, and a slew of new words. She also asked Britain and I if we wanted to make singing our careers, and so we told her yes, and then talked about that for a little while. Needless to say, my brain kind of hurts right now just thinking about it, but I was pretty proud of myself! It was like an hour and a half of solid German! Well, I have to go do my homework. Gross. Bis Morgen!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Naschmarkt, Gelato, and U-bahn Adventures!

I feel like today was my first real day in the city. This morning, my alarm clock did not go off. Yikes! Luckily, Britain woke up and checked the time. It was nine o'clock, and we had to be at the institute at ten. We hurried and got ready, and then rushed to the U-bahn station. The U-bahn is the subway. So, we got to the station, and then clumsily made our way downstairs and onto the train. Fortunately, we got on the correct train, and made it to school on time. This was a very good thing, because apparently the Austrians take punctuality very seriously. We then had orientation, which was not all that exciting, but we got some useful infomation. Around lunchtime we went on a walking tour to get oriented with the practical things in the city, like the U-bahn. We went back to Stephansdom, and then headed to Naschmarkt. Naschmarks is this wonderful outdoor market, with all sorts of awesome food! There were all sorts of cheeses, meats, restaurants, and fruit. We wandered around for about an hour, and it was great! I had a lamb Kebab from this crazy Turkish man for lunch, and it was delicious. I was with a group of my amigos, and after our delicious Kebabs we proceeded to meander the food stalls. We ended up purchasing Turkish delight, dried strawberries, raspberries, and...carrots. That's right my friends, sugar coated, dried carrots. And you know what? They were good! It was really bizzare, because I was completely prepared to not like them, but they were this wierd not too sweet, good textured delicious. So, after Naschmarkt we came back to the institute, and then we took the U-bahn to Dr. Vincent's apartment, where we got our cell phones. Yay! We stayed and chatted at Dr. Vincent's house for a while, which was nice, and then Britain, Joseph, Ty, and myself hopped back on the U-bahn for more adventuring. We wanted some food, and we meant to get off at Karlsplaz, but ended up getting off a stop early. We went to a wurstel stand (hotdog stand), where the boys got some food. We also learned how to say "open" and "closed" from the nice man running the stand. We then wandered around for a little while, trying to figure out exactly where we were. Ty asked a man on the street, in German, where the opera house, and from there we found our way to where we wanted to go. Here's a video of us meandering towards the opera house:


video

Sorry the camrea isn't steady, but we were walking down the street. After we got to Kaertnerstrasse, we found the delicious gelateria. The people working there speak some german, no english, and perfect italian, so it's always a multi-lingual experience. I got biscotti and nutella gelato, and it was heaven. We are going to the opera on Saturday!! Yay!!!!! I'm super excited about it. I have two goals for tomorrow: 1. buy a new pillow because the one my Hausfrau gave me is horrible 2. take lots of pictures and post. them. Well, I have to go to bed because I have class in the morning, but I will post again soon. Auf wiedersehen!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a few pictures


The view of the Danube from our window



Our cute little apartment! Check out that wallpaper.



Me and Britain are so glad to be here!



So, here are a few pictures of my friend (and roommate) Britain and I, and our apartment. More pics to come soon. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Adventure Begins!!!

I'm in Vienna!!!!!!!! Woo hoo!!!!!! It's seven o'clock pm local time, and I am exhausted! I got on my first flight at six thirty pm yesterday, and got to Vienna at two pm today. Whew! Luckily, my neighbor got me a sweet upgrade to business class for the Atlanta to London flight. It was awesome! I then had a four-hour layover in London, during which I had to switch airports. That was an adventure. Then I had to manage the Heathrow airport. I don't know if it was because I was tired, or because I hadn't flown international in a while, but that airport frustrated me to no end, and I like airports! Anyway, Dr. Vincent was nice enough to pick me up at the Vienna airport, and get me set up with my Hausfrau. My hausfrau's name is Frau Baccetti. She's an awesome older lady who speaks absolutely no English. Luckily, my German is good enough that I have been able to communicate with her so far. The apartment is sweet. It's in this old building in the first district. It has all sorts of crazy wallpaper. I'll post pictures tomorrow. It's really quaint, and Britain and I have our own bathroom area, which is nice. I'll have to post a more detailed description tomorrow when I'm not so delirious. I went exploring a little bit tonight. Vienna feels different than I thought it would. I expected it to feel huge, like NYC does, but it feels pretty small, even though I know it's not. I think maybe it's because all the buildings in this district have these beautiful facades, and none of them are all that tall. The district I'm staying in was also the midieval part of Vienna too, so the streets are all windy and narrow. It's cool. I managed to meander my way up to Stephansdom tonight! It's super close! A lot closer than I though, actually. I walked around it, and might go to a concert there tomrrow night. Well, I'll post again tomorrow, hopefully. If I can get internet again, that is. Auf wiedersehen!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lunch with Jefferson

Since I am leaving for Wien in just a little while (53 hours and 5 minutes to be exact, not that I'm counting!), I decided that I would eat lunch at the elementary school with my little brother today. Now, there is a rule at the school that says that parents (or sisters) aren't supposed to bring fast food for the kids they are visiting. I decided that was a dumb rule, so I decided to smuggle chicken sandwhiches from Chick-fil-a in for us to eat. I felt very sneaky as I placed the sandwhiches, as well as water bottles and bananas, into regular lunch bags in order to avoid suspicion at the front desk. Mission accomplished. I got the sandwhiches into the cafeteria, and Jefferson and I ate them without protest from the scary ladies that patrol the lunchroom. Needless to say, the social situation at the table was hillarious. As is usually the case in the fifth grade, the boys all sat at one table, and the girls at another. All the fifth grade girls watched me with rapt attention and whispered amongst themselves as I infiltrated the boys' territory in order to sit with my brother. The conversation at the boys' table focused mainly on video games, and a piece of my brother's hair that was sticking up. A girl at the adjacent table had pointed it out, and all the boys, my brother included, thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen. I also overheard a snippet of conversation that went a little something like: "I do NOT like her!!!!" Ah, fifth grade romance. So that is the story of my sojourn into the fifth grade boys' lunch table. The end.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Car Crash

Well, it happened. My first car crash. I was on my way back from a voice lesson, headed down the parkway, when suddenly I saw two headlights headed straight for me. They came out of nowhere, and from the wrong side of the road. Almost like when a deer jumps out in front of you. A giant metal deer. I slammed on the brakes and swerved to my left, but the next thing I knew I heard a BOOM, and I was skidding into the middle of the road. Obviously, I was shocked, but after I had determined that I still had all my limbs I managed to get the car out of neutral and into a nearby turn lane. I then called 911, and got out of the car. A nice couple and an older gentlemen came toward me. They had also called 911. After determining that I was not seriously injured, they went over to see about the other car. The teenage boy hadn't gotten out of his car. Fortunately, he was conscious even though he had gone off the other side of the road, and into a tree. He complained of an injured wrist, but he was otherwise fine. He couldn't get out of the car because the door was bent out of shape. The police and ambulance arrived a few minutes later, and hauled the boy off on a stretcher. The police asked the older man, who was kind enough to stay, what had happened. He said that he was right behind the boy when he suddenly drifted into oncoming traffic, namely me. The police then took my statement, which was not all that coherent because it happened so quickly, and I was a little shaken up by my head-on encounter. Fortunately, I was wearing my seatbelt, or my face would have slammed into the steering column, since my faulty airbag did not deploy. Needless to say, I am extremely grateful for seatbelts, my family, and my life. I walked away from the accident with nothing more than some soreness. Clearly, God protected me tonight. I'm sure that my back, shoulders, and neck will hurt for the next few days, but that's what chiropractors are for! Also, my car is totaled. I loved that car, but cars are replaceable. Arms, legs, and lives are not.