Moving at a hundred miles an hour seems to be the theme of my life at the moment. I don’t necessarily mind it but there are occasions when I feel like if I were take my eye off a single moving object, I may very well come tumbling down and turn into jelly (or rather jello!) that hasn’t quite set yet!
I have been in New Hampshire for nearly eight weeks now and it has been nothing short of the biggest adrenaline rush of my life! There have been countless times when I have felt my blood pulsing through my body, my eyes are almost popping out on stalks, an eagerness and anticipation stirs in me and blimey, what a rush! It is as though I am a child again being taught everything from scratch.
Here are just a few things that have made these last two months so incredible and given me that rush…
- Going into my first US orchestral job. That feeling of being the new girl and everyone is warily sizing you up and thinking ‘Who are you?!’ Interestingly though, it really is exactly the same the world over (The harpist is frantically trying to tune before the rehearsal begins, there’s someone doing stretches in the corner, theres not enough room for the basses, the horns are practising those big musical leaps, friendly hello hugs are being given all around you) As soon as the first note started, it was like being at home no matter where I was in the world.
- Doing my New Hampshire Driving test. I was so nervous that I chatted the whole way round until my DMV examiner told me that usually he does the test in silence!!
- Standing at the top of Hogback Mountain. 11pm at night driving back from up state New York. A gazillion stars all twinkling away and the longer you look, the more you see. A milky way so fresh and triumphant it would make any King or Queen bow down in homage. Shooting stars and many wishes made. Utterly awesome!
- Watching my little boy digging in the dirt in a stunning wood. This is why we moved here. He breaths fresh air every day, he chases little snakes found in the grass. He delights in fish jumping in the lakes, he marvels at the ‘the trees on fire’ colours of autumn. He feeds the pigs at the farm, pets a small baby goat, names the rabbits Peter and Benjamin! He has experienced riding a canoe across a lake, cheered with glee as he hears his shouts echo in the mountains. He has watched hummingbirds and gazed at a dragonfly that has landed on his arm. His knees are cheeks are dirty, his pockets are stuffed full of leaves, stones, acorns and anything else he can fit in there. Watching him grow and develop in this landscape gives me a kind of happy endorphin that I know I am so blessed and lucky to have.
- Steinberg Duo’s first recital at The Redfern Arts Center. Terrified that as we walked out on to stage, we would be greeted by no one! We had no idea if our frantic publicity would actually work, press releases, advertising in local papers, Facebook, word of mouth, posters, flyers. You name it, we did it and wow, what a response! We had a wonderful full audience of kind supporters and so many good quotes including ‘When I closed my eyes, it was like listening to way more than two people on stage!’
- Driving anywhere new. It sounds odd but in the UK it really didn’t phase me, jumping in the car and off I went! But now, as I engage with so much that still looks so alien to me, I know it will take me a little while to not feel that surge of nervous energy when I get behind the wheel and embark on each new journey I make. Yesterday I drove to a new city for an audition. The drive was beautiful with all the red, gold, green and yellow foliage but the 90 minute journey was filled with nervousness for the audition and an anxiety that the directions I’d been given would make no sense to me when I came into a new city.
- Picking up the phone. So far Nick and I have emailed many many different presenters, managers, venues, schools, music directors, colleges etc to promote Steinberg Duo but when you know you have to pick up the phone and start selling your soul in a conversation, well thats a different matter! Again, in the UK, I didn’t mind doing it but now you have to hope and pray that you are understood in this new language, not say something mildly rude or offensive.. It gets the blood pumping thats for sure!
One of my ex-students had a very wise mother and she said to me before we left for the US, that in her experience of living in a country that was not her mother land, it was something that she never regretted. ‘It is an intense experience that makes our lives seem longer. I often connect memories with places and having been in different places it makes my memories so much clearer. Living abroad stirs my curiosity and we have wanted to explore so much more than if we were back home because we want to discover our new environment.’
When we moved here, I hadn’t factored in the enormity in the difference of my heightened awareness to my surroundings. Wether its crossing a road and making sure I’m looking the right way, hearing a bear grunt in our yard late at night, or just being out in the garden and coming face to face with a creature that you never even knew existed, its all go! I am running on a never ending tank of adrenaline right now, every day I jump out of bed, eager to know what new thing I will learn. I didn’t realise that so much change would instil a new me, a thirst, a craving and a desire to make each day sparkle and definitely more memorable…