Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas gifts







So, leute, great news! I got my first opera job in Berlin!! I will sing the role of Violetta in a very modern/experimental version of La Traviata at the Neuköln Oper. And there will be three Violettas...the director is thinking something to do with multiple personalities maybe...we'll see! I will sing the second act. I am very excited. The director is very young and very passionate about the project so that is great. Sometimes those are the best shows, lots of heart is always important. It won't be a high paying gig-in fact, there is a chance we might not get paid at all. They are trying to raise money for the show. But honestly, I am not too worried about that right now. It is a great start and I think it will open a lot of doors. It will be something I can invite agents to possibly and it will just be great to be involved in something and performing again. The conductor is Italian so that will help with the language too-so glad we aren't doing it in German! I couldn't imagine singing Verdi in German, even though I know it is done frequently in Deutschland. Rehearsals start in March and first performances will be in April, and hopefully some more in May and June if they can get funding. 
So, YAY!!! That is an amazing gift and I am really looking forward to working on this project. Such an answered prayer.

I have also played a couple more concerts of my own songs and that has been really fun. I wrote 8 new songs this month! It is great to have doors opening and inspiration flowing. I am thankful that I am able to do so much music right now. Passion for anything is a great gift. 

Berlin if freeeeezing right now! It is so so cold. I mean not messing around cold...I wear two pairs of leggings under my pants and my huge down coat and two scarves and that poor dead animal on my head and it is still shivery. But there is snow and I love that. That makes it bearable...it is so pretty. The German word for snow is 'schnee'. So funny! It sounds like some saying from a Monty Python movie...."we are the nights who say schnee"...or something. The fourth pic at the top is me and my friend Anne. She would not be happy if she knew I posted that picture...good thing this blog is a secret blog! She is purposefully trying not to smile. She is really funny. She invited me to spend Christmas with her family in Heidelberg so I will go there on the 23rd and have a real German Christmas. We were all out at a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) that night. This calls for a bit of explaining. Weihnachtsmarkts are one of the most beautiful German Christmas traditions ever and I really think they should do it in America and...all over the world for that matter. All though, it prob'ly wouldn't be so special then if that were the case. The first photo is of a little hut where they sell Glühwein (hot sweet wine) in one of the markets...literally they have a Weihnachtsmarkt in every little square and it is so charming. They sell little trinkets and really yummy food and they are all decorated with little evergreen and lights and it is so quaint and charming. A couple even have fairs with rides, and little ponds you can iceskate on in the middle of the square. One has a huge man made snow hill just for the couple months that is there and for a euro you can sled down it on an intertube right next to the Deutsche Bank skyscraper. They start going up in early November...so it is a bit more commercialized then it needs to be, but I don't think anyone really minds because they are so nice. Who wouldn't want to have them around as long as possible? It makes the winter more bearable too. These German's are so smart. They know what they are doing. One way to beat winter blues? Hot, sweet wine on every corner. And crepes with nutella. And bratwurst in brot. Yeah. They pretty much know what's up. Wonder what their strategy will be in January. I guess I will find out. If there isn't a collective community strategy, I have a back up plan in two words. Sau-NA. I don't know if I have previously discussed the amazing cultural experience of the sauna in my blog yet, but I will...in another one to come. I could write a book on the joys of sauna-ing here in Deutschland. It is pretty unglaublich. 

The third photo up there is of me and my friend Karin. She is my tandem partner-we meet once a week and exchange German and English lessons and she has become one my best friends here in the city. And the second photo is of me and my small group from church at our Christmas party. I have really grown to love these people in this short time. They have been such a blessing to me. So many things to be thankful for this Christmas. 

Sorry, beloved friends, that I have been so inconsistent with writing on this blog. I will try to be better...I miss you all. Please continue to pray for me. I have been learning a lot of good things...and some hard things about myself that I want to change... but feel like I need some supernatural power in order to really work on that. My visa appointment is on the 29th of this month and hoping for a smooth, easy experience. I started reading an amazing book by John Piper called 'A Hunger for God'. ..totally recommend it to everyone...and if you could, please pray for me that I would continue to develop an ever increasing hunger for Him. When I am really honest, mostly what I hunger for most is gummi bears. Also, please continue to pray for community. I have great friends here but it takes work and time and purpose to really develop that and deep connections are rare wherever we go. Please pray. I also would like to continue to have more motivation and organization in regards to making and setting goals. I seem to just get so easily distracted. Don't we all? And I am juggling pursuing opera and songwriting and also helping out with worship at church...and I would really love to continue to do all of them in a really excellent way. I wish you all joyous Christmas blessings wherever you are! Alles Liebe, 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down!


So, today was actually one of those days where I was missing Andrew like crazy and actually pretty down. I tried to make myself feel better but ended up just going back to bed until my therapy skype appointment in the afternoon. Andrew may not have been able to do some things that many husbands do, but he was my best friend and understood me in a way that perhaps no one ever will again. In a special way. So special that it was worth it to me to be with him no matter what happened or how hard things were. So...anyway. I was desperately missing my best friend today. It is such a strange thing, our marriage ending. It was definitely not for lack of love. Ohh...man it just hurts so bad sometimes. Anyway, my time with my therapist was very helpful. She told me I was doing a good job grieving so at least that is a positive thing, right? If nothing else I can be a good griever! Very good news. Ha. Anyway. Today was a very special day in the history of this amazing city that I am living in and I am really glad that I got to be here for it. There was a huge concert going on at the Brandenburg Gate, Bon Jovi, Placido Domingo and Daniel Barenboim were performing among others. And there was a really cool project where 33, 000 people were recreating the Berlin wall by holding hands where the wall used to be...super cool. I decided that even though I was feeling sad and really didn't accomplish anything today, that I should brave the rain and try to go to the concert. So my flat mate Klaus, friends Anne and Corrie and I got on our bikes and rode through freezing cold, pouring rain about 30 minutes until we got to a place where it was so crowded we had to park our bikes. People had umbrellas all over the place and you had to watch out not to get poked in the eyes, we were sloshing around in the mud and wading through people trying to get as close to the action as we could but by the time we got there they had blocked off the place where you could get to the concert or see anything because there were too many people. So, unfortunately the video here, which is only 3 seconds long because it wasn't really intended to be a video (hit the wrong button on my camera) is a very distant shot of lots of umbrellas and the brandenburg gate all lit up. Klaus, who is taller than Paul Bunyan, took it for me. So, hope you all enjoy it! It was exciting to be a part of the energy at least. Klaus and Anne went home after about an hour and a half of trying to find an entrance and Corrie and I walked around for another couple hours trying to find a way to see the people holding hands...but didn't have any luck and finally decided to celebrate the wall by ourselves with milchkaffee. Maybe we can see the footage sometime on tv or on you tube. Pretty cool to be in a city with so much crazy history. I pray that the walls of my heart that are keeping me from experiencing freedom in any way would also come tumbling down. Or maybe I could just convince the German polizei to come in and just knock them down for me. They seem pretty hard core. Any time I heard anything from them tonight my whole body sort of stiffened up in the memory of the many films I have seen of the Holocaust. I know that is probably not good but I can't help it. I have come to think that the German language is really quite beautiful. At least it can be...but I guess like any language, if there is yelling involved, it's usually not pretty. Guess it depends on what people are yelling about. Now if someone were yelling, "You just won the lottery!" in German, that would probably sound pretty sweet. Yeah, it's late. I'm a bit tired. Not so funny as I like to think I am. :)  video

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My first real concert in Berlin

My roommates own a cafe here in Berlin. And this past Friday I gave a concert and sang 18 of my own songs, some with piano, some with guitar and some accappella mit schnappchen (snapping)! I have never actually played my own music for an audience for such a long time. The most I had ever done with my own songs was 6 at a time. I was a little bit nervous but I was really happy about how it turned out. The cafe was totally packed. People were sitting on the floor, standing in the back, and even waiting outside to listen. I had played at church the week before and that helped to get people there, but also I really was blown away by what an amazing support system I have here already. It was the most attentive audience I have ever played for...and they yelled "zu gabe" at the end...(encore). :) This booking agent guy that I had met was supposed to have come to listen, but he didn't show...so that was the only disappointing thing. But all in all I got some very positive feedback (and actually some constructive critism right away as well, which is totally a German thing...a German thing that I don't really like! But I was told to take it as a compliment because that means that people were really listening ...they just know better how things should be done...or something.) People here tell you exactly what they are thinking. Sometimes it is refreshing, other times..not so much. But it was a great start to what I hope will be a thriving musical life here in Berlin. It is such a gift to have this time when I can focus completely on my music. I just hope that I can make the most of my time. I'm sort of easily distracted. I need to get a web site up and running, put my stuff on MySpace, etc. I need to start making a plan...getting down to business...yeah...you could pray for me about that. I need all the help I can get!

Birthday party

This is the cafe/bar where I had my birthday party the day after the "actual" birth day. I invited everyone I met since I got to Berlin and people just stopped in from 9- midnight...it was really fun and so awesome to see how many people I have gotten to know in just two months. You can kind of see in the picture that I was loaded down with all kinds of flowers and gifts...one guy even brought me home made gnocchi that was made in a pasta shop down the street...ummm, that's what I'm talkin' bout. It was filled with pumpkin...freakin' amazing. Happy birthday to me.

Birthday Abendessen

These are my friends Sarah, Iris and Corrie...we are in a prayer group together. Amazing women, beautiful hearts...such a gift.

Alles gute an mein Geburtstag...

I turned 30 last week. Crazy. But it was such a wonderful birthday...I have made amazing friends here and God has blessed me so much. So many friends, both from home and here in Berlin, remembered- Beth Mercer sent me flowers all the way across the Atlantic!! It was amazing...and I had coffee with a really good friend here named Karin and then got together with my prayer group and they made me a cake and sang to me and gave me flowers and presents and took me out to dinner. It was great. I felt very loved. 30 is such an interesting age...comes with so much expectation. I feel both so old and so young at the same time. Wonder if I will always feel that way...

Lüneburg

So, lovely people, Lüneburg was sehr charmant...kind of like a little gingerbread town here in Germany...but not my next "home" town. The audition went okay, and I haven't heard anything yet, but I have a feeling that they really want a German singer...so I don't think that will be the place for me. Hopefully, God will open another door...in Berlin would be am besten. Please pray for that. I talked to another soprano at the audition and she is with another agent that I will audition for in January. I asked her if she had any auditions coming up in the next months and she said she had none at all. That there really are not any openings for sopranos coming...that is kind of discouraging news. Aber, I have to believe that God brought me here for a reason and He will not leave me high and dry. A very tiny, mustard seed sized place in my heart believes that He really created me to sing...so, there must be a door around here somewhere, or in the very least a window, or a mouse hole or something that will open up. Wir beten! (Let's pray!)