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!) 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Please pray!!

Hey there folks...I've been a terrible blogger. I feel so guilty. I haven't written in almost two weeks. Life is happening though so that is a good thing. I do have a big prayer request however, if there is anyone out there reading this...tomorrow I leave for a little jaunt to the small, quaint stadt of Lüneburg where I will stay over night and then have my first real audition for a REAL opera house here! Exciting. But I would welcome any super natural help I can get so...pray it up people! I want to just do my best...rock it out. Give a thousand percent on the stage. And trust. Adventure is in the air.  

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bierbike

Who ever thought that Beer and bike would be in the same word? Yeah, not me.

If you look really hard in this picture towards the back left, near the red tent, you will be able to see this caravan. It is actually like a bar, with 10 seats around it and under each seat? Yep, you guessed it...bike pedals. Everyone bikes the whole time while sipping their beer and pedal that little beerbike around the city. Pretty hilarious. So hilarious that I stopped mid traffic on my own bike to take this picture...which is why it is so shotty. But don't worry Mom and Dad, I was at a stop light. 
Actually, this picture doesn't make Berlin look very pretty. I will try to take some pretty pictures of the city for your reading enjoyment in the next few days. And hopefully that will give you all more incentive to come and visit me!!

What would you like on YOUR burger?

Ummm, I'll take a little Christ on my burger, thanks. 

Don't know if you can see it, but this street name is Christburger Straße. 

Something new every day.

My Keyboard is fixed!!

Yaaaaaaaaaayyyy!! I am so excited and thankful! I don't know if I shared on my blog that after I lugged my enormous 88 key yamaha keyboard all the way to Germany, I bought the wrong adaptor and blew a fuse...or something...I wasn't quite sure what I had done but I knew it wasn't good and it didn't work. Or, as they say here...it was kaput. 

Definitely Kaput. But luckily one of my flatmates, Daniel, is an electronic genius and he looked at it and somehow it is all better now. I am so so happy! Now I just need to find a table of some sort to set it on so that I can play it. Right now it is sitting on the floor. 

It is crazy that more than a week has gone by since my last post. So much has happened and it is hard to know how to even begin. Instead of La-la-adventures maybe this blog should be called, "adventures in learning how to take care of myself". I don't know why, but taking care of myself is a bit of a challenge these days. It was much easier for me to focus on taking care of someone else and just sort of allow myself to slide by, rather than really pay attention to myself and what I need. I think most people deal with the opposite problem and are more narcissistic. But my problem is just as acute--and actually seems more pathetic. At least if I were a narcissist I could have a good career! Right? Instead, it is extremely difficult for me to settle down and actually pay attention to what I want and need and would be good for me. Asking myself, and answering myself are one part--actually then following through with that is a whole 'nother deal. Lots of times I simply don't know what it is I need. Or have no clue where to start. So I have been asking God to help me with that and I have made slow steps in the right direction this week. I have been going to yoga every day and eating really healthy--and I feel great. My body hasn't felt so good in a really long time. I have also been working on being really disciplined with practicing my singing--and doing the really tedious work of translating and memorizing. That is my least favorite part. My first and only audition at this point is on October 27. So friends, please pray for me about that date. Please pray that I can be fully prepared and feeling confident. And pray that it would be a definite option. It is for a fest contract (1-3 year contract) in Luneburg. Luneburg is a tiny town north of Berlin. It's supposed to be gorgeous there. And I am sure it is, but the thought of leaving Berlin doesn't sound entirely appealing to me. So, if it were my only option I would gladly take any job. But I am hoping that I have more than one option. 
I chatted with my friend Greg today who is singing at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and he said he would try to get me an audition there. He had tried last fall too and was unable to, but you never know. It could happen. And if it did, that would be really exciting. I also spoke with Thomas, a coach that works at the Komische Oper here in Berlin who I know because he used to work at Juilliard, and I will have a coaching with him next week sometime. I don't know how much sway he has in that company, but maybe if it goes well he could get me an audition there. I also have another audition for an agent in Dusseldorf but that isn't until January. So those are some things that need some prayers! 

Last night I went to my second "sofa gruppe" (small group) where we are reading Der Unbekannter Jesus (The Jesus I Never Knew) by Phillip Yancey. Auf Deutsch! My head kind of hurts after 3 hours of discussion like that. It is hard to pay attention when there is so much I don't know. But I hope that it will get easier. 

In the last two days I have eaten two WHOLE pumpkins. Really. I made pumpkin soup and that was pretty much all I ate for two days straight. It was so yummy. In the states, one of my favorite things to make was Butternut Squash soup, but it was always an all day process. Here, pumpkin soup is a big fall and winter thing and it is so much easier to make than Butternut Squash because you don't have to peel it, you just throw the rhine in the soup. So once it is cut up you just boil it for about 30 minutes and it is done. I love that! It is so easy. And soooo good! Yay for pumpkins. I will miss Halloween this year. 

As I am writing this, I am looking out my big, beautiful windows--by the way, I don't think I mentioned that I got to stay in the apartment that I was first living in! The girl who was supposed to come and take my place decided not to come. That was really nice. Made things really easy. And I get to keep my nice view of big sky and tons of beautiful trees. Actually there is a little hill so it makes the trees go in a curve and sometimes, especially when it is grey and cloudy, I imagine myself looking out at a huge mountain range. How lucky am I to get a mountain range outside my window in Berlin?! Today the sky is almost cloudless and bright blue. One of those days that remind me of the early days of college. Some of the trees are starting to change here. There are two little bushes that I ride by on my way to yoga that are starting to look like burning bushes. They make me happy when I ride past every morning. 

On Wednesday, I had my first night in at home since I have been in Berlin. Seriously. I am not joking. That is how much I have been going out and meeting with people, going to the opera, exploring the city. It is too easy to feel sorry for myself if I sit at home. But it was good for me to spend the evening alone too, with my pumpkin soup. I went to bed really early. I hadn't realized how tired I was. 

A couple funny things that have happened that I don't think I have shared yet...my roommate Tanja is super environmentally aware. She makes sure that our trash is separated into compost, glass, paper, plastic and other. And she will find out if it is not properly adhered to! Very German. She even washes their clothes with tree sap. Yes, that's right. Tree sap. I wish I could say that I were more into that, but I am not. I went to the store and got myself some laundry detergent. At least it had a picture of a baby on the front, so I thought it couldn't be that bad. But I wasn't too eager to show Tanja that I had gotten it. However, in the course of the last week I accidentally left it on the shelf and she said, "You are using laundry detergent right?"
 "Yeah, I am," I confessed. 
"Because you know THAT (pointing to my "so-called" detergent) is not detergent, that is fabric softener."

Awww, geez. I have been washing my clothes for a whole month, actually NOT washing my clothes for a whole month, with fabric softener.

The other thing is that I never really realized that I think, in general, in America, we don't tend to lock the bathroom door. I would just assume that if the bathroom door were closed, that someone is probably in there, so I would knock. Not so here. After several embarrassing charades, one must definitely lock the door.  

The other really fun thing, is that European toilets are different. They don't have enough water in them for one. Probably yet another environmentally active thing. And they are shaped differently. They basically have a shelf on the inside. A completely flat, straight across shelf before things go down the flusher. 
This is a problem when you poop. Not enough water + a freakin shelf inside the toilet= you have to use the toilet brush every time you poop if you don't want everyone in the apartment to find out that you just pooped. I had to find this out the hard way. Someone had to TELL me to use the toilet brush. 
Twice.

Oh the joys of being a foreigner. 
But tonight I will make up for it by going to see Salome at the Staatsoper. And hopefully get some practicing in this afternoon. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Karottensaft

Many of you know that I am a little nutty about carrot juice. My sweet friend Nicole calls carrot juice 'rabbit's milk'. :) 

Whatever you want to call it, when I am in a healthy eating phase, which tends to happen every once in awhile... I can be pretty extreme. (I am also generally very extreme when I am not eating healthy...as many of you also know.) Eh hem, anyway, I definitely believe in the power of carrot juice. And of eating healthy. It totally works...and if anyone reading this blog is sick right now, with any kind of sickness and I mean ANYTHING from a cold to cancer, check out this website, www.hacres.com, and read the testimonies section and there you will find stories about people who have had whatever disease you can think of and once they went on this diet (mainly raw but with lots of carrot juice and enzymes) they were all better. 

Anyhoo...I was delighted this morning upon my visit to Aldi to find bottles of carrot juice for 39 cents each. This joyous news deserves repeating...carrot juice for 39 cents a bottle!!! When I would juice only 8 0z. at home it would be at least a dollar for that many carrots and so so much work with the juicer and cleaning it up...it was so much work. It isn't fresh necessarily when it comes in a bottle but it is the next best thing. And honestly, far better, because who has time to juice three times a day? Nicht mich. 

This is like carrot juice fast food. But HEALTHY fast food. This is truly my homeland. It is like the German people have been calling my name and creating a special place just for me...a place with an abundance of cheap carrot juice, opera lovers and men who wear scarves. It's good to be home. 

Something profound...

I asked God this morning what He wanted me to read from the Bible and I felt like I heard Him say Philippians 3. Now...I know this is something that not only sounds weird to some people --that I ask Him things and that He responds but-- it happens. And it is exciting. I am still learning to hear His voice and it is something that takes practice, so I have been told...so lately I try to practice listening a little bit every day. Sometimes it seems that His voice is so tiny that I don't know if it is really my imagination...but today, friends, I can definitely say that He had a message for me loud and clear and it pretty much took my breath away when I read Philippians 3 this morning. It says, "No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us...".

Ummm...for those of you walking through this life with me...the phrase forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead...really, really struck me. Like a baseball bat over the head...like a beer stein in October fest...like schnitzel with noodles being thrown in your face...


Monday, September 28, 2009

Yeah, what's up

Where is this kind of confidence when you need it? Somebody please tell me.
 
I used to be so sure of myself. 

I didn't even have to work out. 

Stupid Bike Seat Stealer...

Went outside today, on this grey Berlin day, on my way to yoga and my bike seat was gone. Just not there. My bike looked so sad. It had been raped and mistreated. I rode my bike without the seat the 15 minutes to my yoga class and then afterwards went to a bike shop and got a new one. The new one is okay, honestly a little bit more comfortable. But I miss the old one. We had something going there. We had a connection. My bike looks different now. And feels different too...I will have to adjust. Ahh...how painfully that feels like life. 

When stuff like that happens it is hard to know how to deal with it. Sometimes I hate change. Every once in awhile it is a welcome friend...but most of the time...an unwanted visitor that beats your door down. I have always loved this verse--"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him." Romans 8:28. I really believe this verse. I believe that God can and does take terrible circumstances and the consequences of others poor or harmful choices and transforms them. He uses them for good and blessing in the lives of those who love Him. I have seen that true many times in my life. I pray that He would help me to believe it even more. I believe that he can take my stolen bike seat and give me a gift somehow through that ...maybe it will end up being easier on my neck and shoulders to have it adjusted at the new place it is now...or maybe because it is a different level or slightly different position it will work some different muscles in my legs and make my butt look good. Who knows what wonderful things are in store. 

I am working on believing this also in my life in regards to being newly single. Man, it really sucks. It is just such a hard, sad thing and I am really struggling. I feel really just unwanted, unwantable. And it is hard for me to believe that that will change. And I know that it is also a result of everything being so new. But...wow. It is hard. I feel like my self-confidence is hiding. I feel needy and pathetic. I feel like sometimes I am going around the city and my insides are saying, "love me, love me...want me". Uuuuuuhg. What a horrible pathetic place to be in. Of course I am talking to God about it alot and when I am able to surrender that pain is lifted for awhile. But it is a constant battle right now because it keeps coming back. I remember so many times when I was married when I would tell my single friends, and very sincerely mean it..."embrace your freedom and singleness! You have no idea how precious that time is...to have time to yourself to just be able to take care of yourself and not have any responsibility towards another person." And now, I feel like...embrace life? Are you kidding? I can't open my arms to any kind of embrace unless it would include another person. Not that I even have that option, and thank God I don't because it would only be self-destructive at this point in time. Oh, friends...please pray for me. I want so much right now to be filled with strength and hope...but not hope for a certain kind of future. Hope in the God that created me to be His love...His lover. I want to be excited about living...and excited about waking up and asking God, "hey, what do YOU want me to do today?" I believe in my head that God has an amazing future for his sweet, little girl....for all of us. But I need more strength right now to believe it in my heart. Like it says in the Bibel (as they say here) though, even the demons believe and shudder. I pray for the kind of faith that just knows, in a moment to moment kind of way. More than just belief.  I've had it before...but everything just keeps on freakin' changing. What is WITH that? Maybe some wonderful gifts are on the way...maybe ...if you have any ideas or imaginings about what that could be I would love to hear them. Missing you, Schöne Leute. (beautiful people) :) 

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's about time

Yes, it is about time that I wrote on this blog noch ein mal (one more time). I can't believe it has almost been a week. A lot has happened this week, but really I should have been telling you all about it every day instead of now because I feel like I could write a short book. I will try to sum it up in schnell highlights:

1. Got to meet up with lots of great people this week...actually now that I think about it, every single night this week I was hanging out with people. Perhaps every night is a little bit much, but I am so thankful that I am connecting with people here. 

2. There was a really cool bar with a secret Fußball table in the basement and Betty Davis on the radio.

3. Tuesday night I sang at Salon in Mitte--my first official singing gig in Berlin so far. I sang an aria and two of my own songs. Salon in Mitte is sort of like a discussion night over Kultur and God. Mary and Dieter B usually invite an author or an expert in some subject and have an interviewer so that discussion can get started. I was the guest musician on Tuesday night. Apparently, there is a waiting list to come to this so I was really excited that they asked me to sing. For those of you that have been to rush, it is a little like a German rush party, (aber with a lot more style and class) in that there were tons of business people there and lots of small talk. Definitely a different crowd then I have been meeting so far here in Berlin. But it was fun and great to meet some more new people. I have met so many people since I have been here! It is crazy. They have this Salon night once a month but this month they had two. The second one was Wednesday night and they had had their musician cancel so they invited me to sing again on Wednesday. I was very happy to do it. It was fun and definitely a highlight of my time here so far. 

4. Thursday night I went to a "sofa gruppe"...what they call small groups here in the Berlin Projekt. We met at a bar called Bistro Fox and just got to know each other a bit and talked about what we are going to be studying. We are going to be reading a book by Phillip Yancey...but auf Deutsch! Der Unbekannte Jesus...the Jesus I Never Knew. I am excited to read it...and it will totally help my German. And I am looking forward to getting to know the people in my group. It will officially start next week.

5. I joined a yoga place this week. It is an Ashtanga Mysore place. I have gone two days so far and I really like it. I can ride my bike there in about 10-15 minutes. I am already feeling healthier and stronger.

6. I also started eating vegan this week because my face has been so broken out it looked like a game of Twister. For those of you that know my crazy escapades with the Hallelujah Diet and Raw food, you will be happy to know that they sell carrot juice here in every grocery store. :) This really is my true home. 

7. Tonight I went to my friend Iris' apartment and we made pumpkin soup and watched an amazing Israeli movie called...Ushrin...I think? I can't remember actually but it was so so good. She is really cool and she has two of my favorite movies of all time auf Deutsch...The Turning Point and Something's Gotta Give. Awesome. Girl after my own heart!

8. Another highlight is that all of those nights this week were mostly auf Deutsch except for one. That is really good. 

9. Ooh. Another highlight is that I bought Twilight auf Deutsch to read...:). For those of you who don't see eye to eye with me on the Twilight love, schade; and for those of you who do...Du bist der Hammer! 

10. Another highlight of this week, which I don't believe I have mentioned in blog form is LiquidRom. It is a sauna here in Berlin that is unglaublich! (unbelievable). There are four different kinds of saunas and a steam room (singer's best friend) and an amazing salt water pool that is all dark and sci-fi looking with cool colored light therapy and underwater musik! The sort of weird/downside is that most people are naked. It was a very European experience. But it more than makes up for itself when you get to rub salt and honey all over yourself--my skin has never felt so amazing. And it is only $17 dollars to spend the whole day there. It will definitely be a great place to go when it is freezing outside. 

11. Also, have a cold this week and I hope, really hope, that it isn't the swine flu. That would not be so gut. 

12. Pork auf Deutsch is--Swine fleisch. yeah. Swine flesh. yum. 

So...please pray for my cold to go away. And also that I could be a bit better at structuring my time. I want to practice more than I am, write more songs, spend my time wisely (this means not spending hours on Facebook)...but in all of the preparation for auditions and stuff...it could be really easy to just be busy and overwhelmed and I am so done with trying and trying and spending tons of energy but all on my own steam and not listening to specific things that God leads me to...so pray that I could hear His voice clearly about which things to apply to, and get done in steps along the way...I am not interested in doing anything apart from Him. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mein erst Fahrrad umfall

Ja, my first bike accident...and hopefully my last. It isn't even a cool story...it's an embarrassing story. It was daylight, well, dusk to be exact...so maybe that would give me just a little bit of an excuse to not see the step...that's right ONE step. A tiny one at that. That's what I get for bragging about riding down four steps. I just wasn't prepared for this one and didn't see it coming at all and the next thing I knew I could feel myself falling and in that horrible moment of "oh scheiße" when I knew I was going down. I am still trying to figure out how I landed because my bruises are on one side of my butt and then all along my inner thighs like I was hanging onto my bike for dear life as I went down. I have some minor scrapes on my palms, elbow and legs but for the most part no blood and for that I am thankful. I just got the wind knocked out of me and I feel like I have some serious whip lash...this is when I wish I knew people well enough over here to be able to ask for a massage. Darn. Too bad I don't have a photo to accompany this post. The man who helped me up was saying to me in German that the whole thing had looked pretty interesting, which made me laugh, but then as soon as I was alone, I cried. You know the kind of cry I am talking about...the 'I just got the wind knocked out of me and I am in a foreign country and no one is here to see me cry' kind of cry. Luckily I was not too far from Daniel and Tanja's cafe so I hobbled over there and ate some pumpkin curry. It was a painful ride home afterwards. And this morning I am totally sore. Let's just say I should not have gotten a boy bike. 

In other news...my living situation is toTAL up in the air. I love the way they say total here it is like "toe-and then a mixture of 'tal like tallie and tall as in he is so much taller than you' but the emphasis is on the second syllABle". ToTAL. Repeat it with me now. Uh-huh, good job. Nice 'ah' vowel.

It is actually too much of a long story to go into...but my options for now are as follows...I could possibly stay where I am because this girl that was going to come might not, or I could move in with two other German girls, Ulrike (not the one that I have earlier on this blog) and Sonja, to an apartment on Winsstraße. Here are the pros and cons. Pros: Ulrike's place is cuter and closer to my friends and church by about 7 minutes on my bike, and it is 50 euros cheaper. It also has cobblestone streets--which, I have discovered as of last night, are not fun to fall on but are very pretty. On the down side, I could only stay at Ulrike's for four months, so until the beginning of February, and my room would be about half the size. Also, Ulrike said that she would get furniture because when I leave she will use it, but I don't know what it would be like...the bigger question is...will the closet be big enough for all my clothes. Sad but important condition. The pros about staying where I am would be that I could probably be here as long as I wanted and I wouldn't have to move at all and could keep using the furniture they have here, etc. But it is farther from the friends I have made and also from the u-bahn and I can imagine that in winter it will be really cold and I will not be inclined to ride my bike. However, maybe I will surprise us all and love riding my bike in the snow. 
However, both of those decisions are completely up in the air and there is the possibility that neither of them could work out if Simone decides to come and if Ulrike doesn't get the okay from her landlord. There is also this guy from church that is leaving for 5 months on an internship from Paris and he is letting his place for 60 more than I am paying now. But he doesn't have a closet and I wasn't totally crazy about his place. I don't know. Anyway, I am not going to worry about it...I will just let God take care of it. Believe it or not there was actually way more ups and downs and things involved in this story that I didn't share...Would appreciate your prayers about this...love you all. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Romantic night at the opera with my roomies...

These are my flat mates...Tanja is furthest left, Ellen is a friend of theirs that has been staying with us all week from Switzerland, Daniel, Tanja's husband, and Klaus. We all went this past Saturday night to see an opera at the Staatsoper. Daniel hated it. He is more into heavy metal. But everyone else had a good time. I will only be living with them a couple more weeks. And I think actually that I have found a place to live starting in October. I need to let the people in the new place know by tomorrow night...so those of you who are reading this today...Wednesday, please pray for me that I will know what to do. It is a nice apartment, closer to the church and in my favorite part of town, Prenzlauerberg, and it would be a bit cheaper then what I am paying now for rent which would be good, but I am trying to decide if I would rather live alone or with roommates. This opportunity is with two ladies from the church, Deutsch ladies, so it would be good to practice my German. But on the other hand it might be nice to not have to consider anyone else for awhile. Also, this opportunity would only be until February 1st. So I would have to move again. I would appreciate your prayers and comments.

Le Crobag

This is actually a very popular eatery in Berlin, usually located in every subway station. Yes...it is called Le Crobag. It really is called that. I knew you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it. I'm sure it means something really chic in French. Another funny thing is every time I ride past the U-bahn stop called Spittelmarkt. I mean, who named these places? Also the word "fahrt" is one way to say "go" or "drive", and I saw a bus the other day that said "Großfahrt". Not joking.Groß means large here. So...needless to say, there have definitely been some times when I have been just laughing out loud to myself in the middle of the city. People around me probably just think I'm hearing voices. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Prayer list...

 The following are a list of people that I have met so far here in Berlin. As you will see it is a very long list in only two weeks...so I am exceedingly thankful. My prayer before I came and whenever I would think about Berlin was from that song from Jacob's Well...prepare the way make straight my heart so that Your glory might shine...He has totally been preparing the way. Please pray that He continues to do so and that he would make a way with these people in this community here in this city...that he would provide spiritual family, urban family in the midst of our crazy schedules and responsibilities and desires...That His glory would shine in my heart as well as the hearts of these others. Leopold, Daniella, Iris, Christian, Johannes, Ela, Anne, Corrie, Matt, Kosta, Tamara, Tanja, Daniel, Klaus, Vipke, Job, Michael, Stoffie, Marie-Louise, Tom, Lizzie, Melanie, Richard, Melinda, Mark, Lucia, Greg, Gulia, James, Maria, mary, Dieter, Sonja, Roman, Johanna, Florian, Doo-Kyoung. Nick, David, Karsten, Gabbie, Olie, Martin. Karin, Sam, Katina, Ben, John, Abbie. Sandy, Allison, Ulrike, Susa, John and Gayle. 


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mein lieblings freundin von mir...

This is my favorite person in Berlin so far. My friend Anne Fleck. She made me dinner last night at her apartment and we were talking about what God has been teaching us lately. Anne actually was an exchange student in Hays, Kansas when she was in highschool, which is hilarious, so I feel like we have a special connection because of that. She has a very sort of American sense of humor and we laugh a lot so that has been really nice. God has been reminding me a lot lately about surrender and what that really looks like in my life. I have had a couple really tough moments in the last few days...it seems like when I am so far away from home that sometimes I am even more emotional than usual. The littlest thing can seem like a mountain and then especially when it is in the morning and to call someone back home would wake them up so you don't want to do that but don't really know who else to call--man, it can be tough sometimes. I have a tendency to sort of allow myself to get into this negative place where there are all these agreements that I am making with myself--but they aren't true. Things like "well, you are never going to find a job here", for example, or "no one is ever going to love you again", or "you are never going to have a family of your own", ...I use lots of 'nevers'...and the thing is, they are just plain lies...they are all coming from some dark place inside of me that is totally afraid and not really connected to God--because God promises us hope in all things, and he promises that even when our lives are totally messed up because of the consequences of other people's choices, that He will turn all things to good for those that love Him. He promises the opposite of all my "nevers". But my "nevers" seem to have taken a hint from my speedy bike riding and unless I am really aware and catch myself right away, they just come quicker and quicker and all of a sudden I am in a "feeling sorry for myself" hole and I can't get out. So all these fears come from deep, desperate desires that I actually believe that God gives all of us. It is good to want to be loved, and to have dreams, and to want to know that you are going to have a place to live, und so weiter...but what we were created for first and foremost is to LOVE God and desire Him. Why is it so easy to just have those desires become like giant toddlers that are pulling on the hem of our pants and ripping them to shreds? I have been trying since I have been here to really ABIDE with God...to be really aware of when I am walking with Him and attuned to Him and when I am not...usually the first sign that I am not is anxiety. And anyway, the last few days a really great reminder for me has been about surrender. If I am really in a place of surrender with God, I have to be willing to take my hands off of my life completely and truly want Him and His will, whatever that may be, first. I believe He has created me to sing--for sure. But if I let it go, and almost imagine that I don't care...or at least try to really, really re-prioritize my desires so that I would be willing to not ever sing again for another person (that may be a bit extreme but it helps me to be extreme when we're talking in terms of surrender---because it's not like we're giving God just a piece of ourselves, it's our whole lives and our whole selves) ...I don't know, probably not doing a great job of explaining this, but when I am really intentional about flinging my entire being in God's direction, it brings such peace and joy. Incredible peace and joy...just like He promises. Sometimes it is easier than others, I have noticed. Sometimes there are so many lies swarming around me I feel like I have been bitten by 1000 bees and I am all puffy and swollen...but as I pick out the stingers...k, kind of a cheesy analogy here, but while I feel like I'm being preachy I may as well throw in a bit of cheese...sometimes it takes a bit of time to just locate the stingers is what I mean. And then God can help with the rest when I invite Him to. And He can come and heal all those stings...it's like the "never bees" just have these sweet spots in me that they love to come right back to over and over again...
Anyway, please pray for me that I can be even more and more aware of when I am in a place of surrender and when I am not. And please pray that I can have the strength and wisdom to turn to God and let go of the things that I am holding on to. It truly is a battle and I need my sweet friends to fight for me in prayer. I feel so alone here sometimes. Also, please pray that my desire for God would be just bigger and bigger. Isn't it strange how often we can get mad at God for not getting our way about something, but then we could kind of care less if we are out of communion with Him for awhile? Just kind of goes to show where our desire lies...I really want so much to spend my life enjoying HIM and the gifts that he gives every day...I just read the other day from Ps 90 I think it was, that He delights in every detail of our lives. I love that. I pray that you all as well will be experiencing Him in very real and extraordinary ways. 

I have been getting a lot of social time in the last few days which has been nice. Continuing to meet new people and getting to know a couple better. Still have no idea about the apartment situation as of yet. And haven't heard back from any other agents about auditions. I can't believe I have already been here for two weeks now. Zeit fliegt! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I am a super speedy mountain bike woman

So this is going to be kind of short because I have a lot of things to do before I go to bed tonight and my house mates are getting together tomorrow morning sehr früh for a flat mate prayer time...but this morning I rode my bike with Tanja, one of my flat mates, to the library. I picked up the Deutsches Bühnen Jahrbuch, which is a huge book published yearly with all the opera agents and houses and their addresses, etc. Afterwards Tanja went to work and I rode back by myself but I was exploring a new part of the city that I hadn't seen. I was riding through a park and there was a monument and as I was approaching I realized that there was a set of about 4 stairs coming and I either had to speed up and go down the stairs--ON MY BIKE! or hit the brakes. Well, I sped up and I went down those stairs and I don't think any body saw me but...oh my goodness it was so fun! I felt like I was in third grade and all the fourth grade boys were thinking I was really cool. When was the last time YOU rode YOUR bike down the stairs? Genau! (exactly!) 
There really is such a feeling of power that comes from riding your bike, and especially in such a big city. It is so much faster than public transportation most of the time because of all the stops, and also usually so much faster than driving a car because of all the stop lights and traffic. I love whizzing by cars when they are all lined up and it is almost as if my bike is saying to them, "ha HA! I am so much faster than you!". My tune might change when it is soon below freezing weather, but until then...minus the sore bottom, I love riding my bike here.   

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

P.S.

Does this background make it hard to read? I need some feedback. Let me know if you want me to change it...

La-la-la-ing

Hi, friends. Got some good work done today. I finished translating my resume into German--very important. One small step at a time. Tomorrow I will go to the library here and look up as many agent addresses and opera house addresses as possible and hopefully send off a bunch of publicity packets by the end of the week. Then the fun step is getting to call each agent individually and speak to them in German! I know...can hardly wait for that part. Doch! (That means "not!" auf Deutsch). Although I have been learning more and more every day. Very little by very little bit. Lots of times I have been speaking English though. I should definitely be taking a class here, but I'm going to try to just continue speaking as much German as I can and read a little from my German Harry Potter book each day. So far I'm only two pages in and that took me an hour to translate...ah...yes, learning a language is so much fun. 
No, really, it is. There are moments here and there when I am so excited to have learned as much as I have. There are occasional moments when I feel very proud of myself and think things along the lines of, "Wow, I am sooooooo good at German, I practically AM German!". But that has only happened in rare special moments. Two people asked me for directions in German last week and I was able to give them directions...in German! Mostly though, I generally just make a fool of myself every day. 
The highlight of my day today was getting to go to Mary and Dieter B's house for kaffee und dinner. They are a dear couple from church who I met last November and they feel sort of like potential parental figures here for me. They have a daughter in America who is in a similar situation to mine and I got the feeling today that Mary especially feels a bit like a mother hen. Which as far as I am concerned is great! I miss my own family so I would love to have a mutter hen here. After dinner Mary took me to her choir practice. It is mostly an older crowd but I liked it and it was good also to hear more German and just be with people. So I think I will go again next week. Maybe some other singing opportunities would come out of it as well. 

Some prayer requests that I have tonight are mostly that I would really be able to trust God more. I am really worried about potentially having to move by October 1st and also just not feeling very confident right now. Please pray for strong friendships to grow here and rich community within the church. And also, that God would present just the right opportunities for me career wise. Ich habe jetzt so viel angst! That is how I would say in German...I have now so much anxiety! It's not so different, right? German is easy! Loving your comments on the blog...keep 'em coming people! It's the highlight of my day to read them. It's like that little thrill when you open your mail box and there is something there especially for you. You are all in my prayers and on my heart...riding with me through the streets of Berlin. xoxo

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Debbie Downer No More

Okay, so Debbie Downer ist vorbei. Yesterday, was a little tough, but today more than made up for it. Today was so exciting. I wish I had taken more pictures...I really need to start doing that every day right in the moment. When you live somewhere, the whole picture taking thing is a little different then when you are on a trip, but that is no excuse. I need to just carry my camera with me every where I go. Now that I am blogging I have a responsibility to my readers, right? Hee hee. My 3 readers! I love you all!! 
So anyway, I went to church this morning and it was great. I really love Berlin Projekt. It is really different from Jacob's Well (umm, (a:) because it is all in German) but it is really awesome. I'm starting to be able to understand the sermons more and more. Then I went to lunch with two of my housemates Klaus and Tanja, and several others to this really great restaurant where I had suppe and rolls and coffee for 2 Euros! Berlin has these restaurants that are non-profit restaurants and so you pay what you want essentially because it is kind of on a "donation" basis. It is a little complicated to explain but it is totally genius and I should have taken a picture of the restaurant--imagine basically what you would picture as the most European atmosphere possible. It was wunderschön. And nice to get to know a couple new people. One girl named Susa (zooza) was super sweet, and she and Ulrike and I went after lunch to THE COOOOLEST FLEA MARKET  that I have ever been to. The picture was taken there. And actually, it was really one of the coolest places I think I have ever been. It was huge. It is open every Sunday, all year. And it is kind of mix between a bohemian State Fair and a square mile thrift store. There are so many treasures there! And people playing live music and all kinds of yummy food...and so many people to watch. It was truly an experience. When you come to visit me, we are totally going! 
After that I rode my bike 45 minutes away to another part of the city called Charlottenburg where my friends Lucia and Gregg live. They were moving into a new apartment and we put together Ikea furniture for about 5 hours. We had dinner together and it was great to connect with them again. They are both opera singers and I stayed with them the two times I visited Berlin before. I rode my bike back around 10:30 pm and it was a beautiful night. Full moon and the road that I took was the main street really through the entire city. All the major sites of Berlin were on my way and it was so gorgeous to pass the Brandenburg Gate and the Staatsoper all lit up at night. I really love this city. I am so glad I am here and I am so excited to see what God has for me here. He makes all things new. Truly. 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

S.O.S.

So today is a bit of a hard day for me so far...it is looking like I might need to move out of my wonderful room at the end of the month and I really don't want to. I like it here. I like my housemates, my window with sky and trees, I like the location. But there is another girl coming in October who was promised a room before I was, and if this guy Klaus decides to stay only for a couple of months then Daniel and Tanja, who own the apartment are willing to live in the living room for that time and all five of us could be here for that time. But if not, then I will need to find another place. Oh, the thought of moving again is painful for me. Not only literally, because I have quite a lot of luggage here, but it kind of makes my tummy hurt just to think about it. It feels safe here. Daniel and Tanja feel safe. And they speak German so if I ever have any questions about anything it is so helpful. 
On top of that sort of lingering dark cloud, earlier this week I was a bit bummed because I felt a bit judged, or misunderstood rather, by a girl at the church who I was really excited about potentially becoming friends with. She is American, and so I thought--Hey, it would be so awesome to have an American friend at church! But I had started to tell her a bit about my current situation/marriage ending and it felt like she kind of distanced herself from me. We were supposed to have gotten together tonight and she wrote today and said she didn't want to. It is probably completely unrelated. And I am probably paranoid because I am more judgmental about my own situation then anyone. But...all of a sudden my thoughts quickly became this long list of doomsday messages..."Oh no! I am not going to have a place to live, I will never have any friends in this city, I will be alone for the rest of my life, and I will not be able to get a job singing or do what I love." Images of Bridget Jones flashed through my mind...lonely old spinster singing to herself in pajamas with a bottle of vodka. 
Sounds kind of funny, but really doesn't feel that way. And I know that these thoughts are just lies. They are my worst fears and that is all. But there is something deep within me that gets stuck and doesn't allow myself to believe the truth that God has a purpose and a plan and he promises that if I will follow Him, WHEREVER I go, I will find green pastures. I really tried to quiet my heart and pray and asked God to help me to really believe this and trust Him...and I am still struggling with it all. So...if you are reading this, please pray for me. I need serious help. This is the first time I have really started to feel alone here. Didn't know that Debbie Downer is the real author of this blog, did you?

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's as easy as riding a bike...

I think it has been since 5th grade since I rode a bike...

Sweet Bike of Mine

O Sweet Bike of Mine...a bike is essential in this city. My flat mates Daniel and Tanja ride their bikes alllll winter! yeah...hard to believe. But, that is what I will be doing too...so the sooner I get used to riding alongside Berliner traffic the better. I was so excited to get this bike. It is a second hand bike from a thrift store and my butt is already bruised after one day of riding...schön. I need to get one of those soft cushiony bike seats for older frauen. Or a banana seat maybe?
Me and my new friend Ulrike at a sweet little Vietnamese restaurant yesterday (there are so many Vietnamese restaurants in this city). Please pray for rich friendships here and community. I am meeting new people every day and it is refreshing to see how God is making a way. I was very proud of myself...we spoke mostly German at lunch!
This is a picture of the opera in the square next to the Staatsoper last Saturday. At one point it started to rain and they passed out plastic ponchos to everyone so we could keep watching...it was so fun!
Here is a pic of me and Anne-Catherine in front of my apartment. I live at the end of the street behind us right across from the park and my window faces the trees and the sky...it is such a blessing! For those of you interested in the address it is Büschingstrasse 1, c/o Manthey, 10249 Berlin. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Die Erste Tag

So ...one day I moved to Berlin...

a new life...ein neues leben. 

I have been here a week now and every day has been an adventure so far. I could probably write a book about the last week. But for starters, I will talk about the first day. The first day I was in Berlin I went of course to the Staatsoper (one of the opera houses here) and asked if there was something playing that night. Man, man, man, man, man (that is what old men in Germany say when they are astounded at something--but it is pronounced mahn and sort of ends up sounding Jamaican). The opera that was being performed that night was Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, with Barenboim conducting, (probably the most famous conductor right now) Rene Pape, and Michelle De Young, (also two of the most famous dramatic voices--and Michelle takes from my teacher). I could not believe it! But they were sold out. However, it just so happened that they were filming the opera that night and playing it in the square right next to the opera house. It was free, and wonderful because it was a gorgeous night and we got to see close ups of all the singers because they were taping and it was even better than if we would have gotten seats inside the theater. AND they sold fancy bratwurst on yummy french rolls...this is this country's idea of baseball. I could totally get used to this! This is the culture I was born to be a part of. 

My dear friend Anne-Catherine, who was a foreign exchange student from Brussels my senior year of highschool, came and met me here my first day also and stayed for the weekend. That was really fun to see her and I was alone in my new apartment for the first few days because my three flat mates were all out of town. We had so much fun together...just catching up, having wonderful conversation and walking around the city. 

I am renting a room in an apartment in an area of town called Friederickshein. It is located in what was formerly east Berlin so it is a little bit creepy to walk past a lot of the newer buildings that were built I think in the 80's and look a little like animal cages. But our building is older and prettier and I adore my room! We are right across from a park and my windows look out to the sky and the trees. I also love my house mates. Tanja, Daniel and Klaus. I will tell more about them later but I just wanted to get this started. If I waited too much longer I really wouldn't have known how to begin. 

All my love to those of you reading this...only mein lieblings know! xoxo Lady la la