...is a phrase you'll learn very quickly if you ride public transport in London. Since I've been back I've been thinking about English composers, and Gordon Jacob came to mind pretty quickly. Born in London, Jacob is well known for his wind compositions, and one of those pieces is a solo, five-movement, unaccompanied bassoon piece called "Partita for Solo Bassoon". I played this piece on my last jury during undergrad, and I thought I might dig through my library to refresh my memory of this piece. As I played through the movements, I was reminded of some of the moments of our vacation, so I've recorded each movement so that you can have a glimpse of what we experienced! Although not every one of our fun-filled events has a musical counterpart in Jacob's piece, it's fun to think about some of the more questionable parts of the holiday.
Getting through Heathrow airport on Boxing Day is no easy task. We were constantly bumping into people, fumbling with bags, and trying to figure out why the metro card machines weren't taking Discover. Our visit to London started out, in a word, clumsy.
A friend of mine suggested we visit the Camden Marketplace. While we found our way back to this area later in the trip during a more appropriate time, our first visit was late at night, when really sketchy people were out and about. That coupled with signs that read "Thieves working this area - BEWARE!", I can't say I was very comfortable in this area at such a late hour.
Andy and I have visited enough large cities around the world to understand public transportation, for the most part. That doesn't mean we weren't running for our lives to catch an approaching bus and train at times! We always got where we were going, but not for a lack of hectic effort!
Considering the current weather I shouldn't be saying this, but London was SO COLD! We'd often go into a drug store or souvenir shop just to thaw out a little. On New Year's Eve we decided to go to a dive gay bar on the outskirts of town, but we were an hour too early. I found a nice man to chat with, who was also waiting to go into the bar, but it didn't change my body temperature...
After a week of fun, food, and beer, it was time to go home. We weren't completely sure if we would catch our flight or not, but we did our best. Sitting on the bus and riding the tube, hoping it'd just go a little faster, didn't help of course, and the running through the terminal didn't seem to do anything either. We got to the gate just in time to board, and snickered at the idea of having been just a few minutes later, keeping us in London for another day. This was the perfect end to a wonderful time.
According to Roman mythology, Janus was the god of transition, with a faces that looked both behind and ahead. We're at the beginning of a new year, and I am excited for the things to come. At the same time, I am very grateful for what 2013 brought me. The biggest achievement of the year would have to be winning a job with the Knoxville Symphony, but the year also gave me lots of new friends, the Edugaytion YouTube show and podcast, and most excitingly, travel, which I feel like I need to talk about in this short post.
My first trip of the year was back to New York City. Although I'd been to the city a few times before, spending time alone navigating the trains and meeting people in coffee shops gave me a real appreciation for the Big Apple - enough for me to return three more times. One of those return trips was with the DSO, and performing in Carnegie Hall was spectacular from every angle. NYC hasn't seen the last of me just yet.
One of my dearest friends, Guillermo, lives in the Tampa area and works as a nurse, so at the beginning of the summer Andy and I decided to visit him. I'd never been to Florida before, and I must say that this was probably my favorite trip of the year. When you get us sisters reunited it's bound to be loads of fun. From getting a little darker on the beaches, to seeing one of my favorite drag queens of all time (Alaska Thunderf*ck), this trip was, in a word, HOT.
Shortly after returning from Florida, I got a surprise e-mail from a woman named JoAnne. Little did I know a few weeks later I'd be in the Bahamas teaching bassoon and oboe. Everyone talks about vacationing in the Caribbean, but I lived in the REAL Bahamas for a month. Although it was a little scary at times, it's a place I will always hold dear to me heart. Not only did I gain a lot of teaching experience and a broader perspective of black individuals around the world, I met life-long friends.
Just a little before Christmas, I talked Andy into a trip to London. I've always wanted to go, and this would probably be our last chance before things get too hectic with me and my schedule. It was cold, but similar to the Bahamas, I felt that we saw the REAL London. The touristy stuff was required, of course, but staying in the off the path village of Slough brought a different dynamic to our visit (including seeing a real life bar fight!). This trip deserves its own post, so I'll save all of the details for later.
Like Janus, I look both behind and ahead. I'm not sure how 2013 can be topped, but I know it will be. I'm so terribly thankful for what last year brought me, and I'm already grateful for what's to come. Happy New Year everyone!