Dearest Family and Friends (and perhaps friends of friends who stumbled upon our blog via Facebook – welcome, make yourselves at home),
Our apologies for the extended break of writing. It is pretty lame to start a blog and not maintain it. That being said, the first half of this year was one of the most intense times of our lives, with all systems go running at full throttle. I’ve said that from January to July it felt like we were sprinting a marathon. Basically at the end of December we decided to get married and set our sights on a July wedding, thus giving us roughly six months to throw the whole thing together, and in February I launched a new chapter of Opera on Tap in Berlin with a friend, then somewhere along the line I started preparations for grad school auditions in June, so on top of everything we were already doing, trying to eek out a living and establish ourselves in a brand new city/country, in a foreign language no less… life got pretty crazy for a while. Gosh, my adrenaline starts pumping just thinking about it.
I’ve been meaning to write our re-introduction to this blog pretty much since we got back to Berlin three weeks ago today, but again it took a lot of energy to get settled. On top of all of that we were doing outlined in the paragraph above, we also found out we had to move two weeks before we were slated to come home for the wedding, so we had to move out our stuff into storage before we left and find a new place to return to in August.
I had never been to the apartment or the neighborhood where our new apartment was located. We had to divide and conquer to keep our heads above water in June and David was in charge of the new apartment search. It was the strangest feeling, getting off of the airplane, returning to a city where we had been living for 10 months and not having any sense of familiarity – not just with our living situation, but also with our life circumstances. It felt like the activity of the first half of the year came to a big swirling crescendo with our trip home, then fell off to near complete silence upon our return. Planning the wedding and preparing for auditions took up so much time and energy and with both of those things behind us now, it felt a bit like we were starting our life here over again. Not completely, of course. We returned to phenomenal friendships and nearly a years worth of experiences that inform how we move forward, but because the projects on which we spent the bulk our time were temporal and ended at the same time, it felt like coming back to a complete tabula rasa. The pages of my planner haven’t been this empty in months.
For me, the first week home was terrifying and difficult to deal with. I will be upfront that the results of the auditions were not what I’d hoped. I am proud of the performance I gave, but auditions are rarely very meritocratic. There was one spot open at the school I wanted to go to, and while I made it to the second round, It doesn’t matter how well I sang if they were looking for a tenor. These are the things you can’t know going into auditions, so the only thing that you can really base your success upon is your own personal measure of how you performed, and I feel I’ve never performed better. The process of preparing for the audition, while it got us kicked out of our apartment (lots of complaints from the neighbors about too much singing), was truly transformational in my journey as a musician. Thus, I view the auditions as a success. That doesn’t mean it stings any less to tell people if they ask how my auditions went that I didn’t get in. While I know it is not true, a part of me feels like I failed at my intended reason for coming to Germany. So the first week of being home was a lot of having to reframe my purpose for being here, even down to the legality of it all. For example, my visa appointment is coming up in September. I’m currently on a study preparation visa that was meant to turn into a full-fledged student visa and that’s not going to happen. The immigration stuff will sort itself out, but it still felt like a mini-identity crisis.
I don’t feel freaked anymore, like I was when we first came home. The fact remains that there is no better city for opera than Berlin and thanks to the past ten months here, I’m lucky to have met a dream team of teachers, coaches, mentors and friends to help me on my journey. And if nothing else, there is always Opera on Tap! This week has been a very good week in Berlin OOT history. We had a phenomenal show on Tuesday and experienced not one, but TWO write ups in the press. The first being Berlin English language social/cultural site called Berlin Logs and the second in the Berliner Morgenpost. I have to tell you, it is a special feeling buying a copy of the newspaper knowing that you will be featured therein. After all of that, the blank pages of my planner seem more exciting and full of possibility than scary. I’m actually rather appreciating the break as I take time to reflect as to what I want for my future and the steps that need to be taken to get there.
Now that we are mostly settled in, we are starting to tackle thank you cards for the wedding. Actually, that was the big inspiration for why I sat down to write this blog. In writing to our friends and family, we have been reliving our wedding experience and I am so overwhelmed with all that everyone did to make it a success and the tremendous outpour of love and support we received that I couldn’t wait until we finished writing the cards to express our gratitude. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You know who you are :).
Well, that’s all for now, I believe. We’ll keep you posted on our adventure in finding a new apartment (the one we are in now is only temporary) and what we decide to do with all of our spare time.
Sarah & David
P.S. To round off this post, here are a few of my favorite pictures from the wedding (if you want to see more, here is a link to the Dropbox gallery).