May 18, 2010: Well, I’m writing this on May 18th at least, but I’m not sure when I’ll get internet, so who knows when you’ll be reading this?
I navigated the Frankfurt and Dresden airports alright, even though I accidently misplaced my baggage claim ticket. I guess that’s not the smartest thing to do… But anyway, the car ride from Dresden to Freiberg was “so schön,” or very pretty, and I chatted in German with the lady who drove me. I’m actually very proud of my German skills thus far, although my vocabulary is super limited.
My apartment is so cute! It’s really rather big, with three bedrooms, a spacious living room and dining room, a fun little kitchen, and of course a bathroom. I’m sharing my room with another girl, but she’s neater than I am and really sweet. Actually, all three of my suitemates are very gracious and kind, even though they’re all considerably older than me. And they’re all so talented! It’s such a privilege to be spending so much time with such serious, talented, dedicated artist. Some of them are launching their careers, and it’s enlightening to hear them chat about audition tours, etc.
We all rented little bikes to get around with, and mine is super cute. It’s old-fashioned, light blue, and has a little bell to ring in case someone gets in my way. How fun is that? And when I ride on the cobblestone streets – which actually is the majority of the roads inside of the town – it rattles so satisfyingly. I’m so out of shape that I can’t even make it up some of the hills, but hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be more acclimated.
Speaking of acclimation, the weather is so different here! It’s freezing! We had chilly wind and rain today, and I definitely needed my soprano scarf and big jacket. Our poor program director is scared sick that one of us will catch a cold because we’re not bundled up tightly enough. I do need to buy a pair of gloves, because my hands on the bike do get pretty cold.
May 20, 2010: Well, no steady internet connection yet, so you’ll get two days in a row! J Today was lovely – yesterday was absolutely frigid, and no fun at all. It didn’t rain that much today, just sort of gently misted and lightly shrouded the gorgeous views. And, it was a lot warmer, thank heavens.
I had only two musical rehearsals today. I have a lot less to do than a lot of the older singers who are playing lead roles in Zauberflöte, but my two today were lots of fun. In the morning we went through some of the chorus parts for the finale of Flute, and it was so funny to watch grown ladies play with each other from across the wings just like American high school students. Everything was in German, though, so I didn’t really understand much. Then this afternoon I had 2 hours of coaching on Bastien with the other two people involved, and that was awesome! I love this mini-opera and I’m so close to having it memorized. Let me tell you, memorizing dialogue in another language is no easy business. And the funny thing is if I make a mistake, everyone but me will know!
Oh, and in other funny news, I found out an embarrassing mistake I was singing this whole time! It turns out the word “nacht” (meaning “night”) is very similar in pronunciation to another word (“nakt”) … and that other word means NAKED! Oh my goodness! This whole time I was singing about being naked! Our resident German bass had a good laugh at me.
So Pirates is over - and I'm kind of glad to be done with that ridiculous daughter that I was playing. Shrieking and giggling and swooning are all well and good, but it can make my social life a little awkward when the extremities of the daughter-ness start rubbing off into everyday life. Hopefully I'll resume my normal level of social interactions now.
Yesterday was a big day too - I had my senior pictures taken by the absolutely fantastic Kate, voice lessons, a huge farewell party at my house for some church friends, and a dance at a local LDS stake center.
Wonder is the lace curtains of life. Wonder is the way a child smiles when the sun hits her face. Wonder is what keeps us going when life gets mundane.
I see it in the sky - huge, graceful hippopotamuses of clouds romping about miles above me.
I see it in the way my dad loves my mom - steadfast, unswerving, spontaneous.
I see it in a good picture - maybe with fuzzy edges and a pretty landscape.
I see it in a chord in a song in choir - when all eight parts resonate in a glorious dissonance that becomes consonant.
But mostly, I see it when I peer inside my heart and realize that I've been made new... that something (or really, Someone) is living inside of me and is changing me. Behold! I am a new creation. The old has passed away, and lo, the new has come.
The starry dreams of flickering skies,
shine so bright in your sea-foam eyes.
Staring into a wide, wild night,
the wonder in your face brings light.
Dance and laugh, sweet child of song,
And with your love make the world grow strong.
In other news, we have just two shows left of Pirates, both this coming Friday. We have been sold out for about half the shows, and about half full for the others. It's been so fun, and the audience just loves it. I love it too :)
We did pictures yesterday afternoon, so hopefully I'll get my hands on a few and I can post some!
Attention, all children! Now hear what I say:
Make sure that you've done enough singing today!
You've heard the old saying 'bout an apple a day
Well, singing can help in a different sort of way.
'Cause singing makes you feel really good deep inside,
So good that you'll smile and get all google-eyed.
You don't need a piano or need a great voice,
All you need is a song (and that's a matter of choice)
Sing songs that are happy, sing songs that are fun
Sing songs that you know, (or just write yourself one)
All children the world over: It's my wish and my prayer
That you sing more and more till your songs fill the air!
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! . . . I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. . . . He was once a man like us; yea that God himself, the Father dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did. (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
So you want to change the world. You're hungry for a new culture. You're eager to see a revival in America, in the global community. You're fired up and ready to go.
But where do you start?
Alex and Brett Harris of The Rebelution co-authored a book a few years ago entitled "Do Hard Things," sharing the vision for a new generation of youth who were willing to do hard things for a greater cause. And now, they're releasing a second book called "Start Here," which is full of ideas and practical suggestions for changing the world. Starting here. Starting now.
Hop on over to therebelution.com and check out more information about the book, as well as news regarding their Book Bomb on Amazon.
In Elizabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael, she writes, “The preoccupations of seventeen-year-old girls – their looks, their clothes, their social life – do not change very much from generation to generation. But in every generation there seem to be a few who make other choices.”
I want to be one of the few.
This is a wide, wild world that we live in, with despair and agony ironically juxtaposed with hope and ecstasy. And yet, it is so easy for the majority of American young people to turn away, to choose to ignore the great injustices of the world, to instead care solely about the relational conflicts within their comparatively small circles of acquaintances. Their often sub-conscious decision is understandable – why should we choose to dirty our hands in the affairs of a violent and menacing world when we can so readily tune out financial, political, and spiritual dilemmas with our iPods and PSPs?
My generation, perhaps more so than others, has been placated by material comforts and physical wellbeing. We – and I am no more innocent than the rest – are too used to having everything handed to us on a gilded tray. Why should we risk anything, why should we embark on any dangerous adventure? We are not acquainted with the reality that some beauty, some truth, and some goals are worth potential disaster, are worth staking everything for.
A child’s murder, a family’s emaciation, a woman’s ravishment – these things are inherently evil and must not be tolerated. My relatively wealthy peers and I have the potential to enact so much reform in the world. We have money, we have educated intellects, we have political freedom, and we have a rich history of entrepreneurship and true leadership. What is holding us back besides our own self-imposed ignorance and apathy?
My heart’s desire is that my life will mean something. Perhaps I won’t recreate the political arena abroad, but perhaps I will help to bring healing to a battered woman’s heart. Maybe global poverty isn’t something I will solve, but maybe I will organize a food drive to keep those in my community well fed.
This desire cannot be accomplished, however, if I sit on my couch and read, or go on the computer and check my Facebook page. This desire, if it is to mean anything, must be equated with a series of practical, real-life choices. I must choose to give up certain endeavors and instead focus my time on others. I must choose to educate myself as best I can, to read extensively and to be informed. I must choose to act in a mature and responsible way, to help solve problems and to not create them.
In short, I want to be one of the few that re-ignite this world with wonder, beauty, and hope.