Two months ago, I started a post after really being behind, but made the mistake in first checking my e-mail which had a lovely note from the opera department giving me my opera scenes assignment and the notification that I had a week to learn the music. I looked at the pile a mode of panic, I deleted my draft, and starting on my month of serial hot dating with Monteverdi, Bach, Handel, Charpentier, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Strauss.
Needless to say, by the end of the March (which I renamed in my melodramatic phase: the month of DOOM), I hit a whole new level of hysteria; to the point where I was always running late to school, chasing after a bus or running to the Tube, carrying countless loose sheets of music I didn’t have to time to put in my backpack, panting ridiculously, all while reciting some German poem to myself. God forbid if I checked one of the loose sheets and realized I missed a word. Nothing in the Universe could prevent my inner voice from just letting it rip, “Idiot! It’s meinEM Liebe not meinen Liebe!!!!” Needless to say, I was a little out of sorts. A friend even said I would be sitting with him on the Tube, acting relatively normal, and then just burst out laughing for no apparent reason. Friends, and Readers, just to save you from reading more mindless rambling, and to save me from further embarrassment, I will just simply say further that my first 8 months in London ended in me going completely bat-shit crazy.
I am now in an Amtrak train waiting to depart from New York Penn Station. I was thinking about the last time I was here, and realized it when I was coming home after my audition for the school I am currently attending. I was told in my audition that I was accepted, and I remembered watching “Love Actually” with my mom thinking “I could be there next year”. It all still seemed so distant then.
Fast forward 7 and a half months later: I was crying at Hammersmith Station waving to a smudged up window of a Westbound Piccadilly Line train carrying my mother to Heathrow Station. From that point, I was alone in London and everything became brutally real.
The next day, I found myself standing in a narrow hallway, leaning against the wall, hugging my notebooks, listening to the two people next to me holding some small talk. They turned to me and asked if I was waiting for the same language placement test. I nodded. Soon two other people arrived. We exchanged introductions and asked each other where we were from and where we studied previously. We would fill in the blanks of each other’s back story as the day went on, walking from one placement test to another. After it was all over, we went to the Voice Faculty drinks and stood in our little huddle, as people greeted each other, hugging and kissing and telling about their summers. Some of us tried to reach out to a returning student, but ended up returning to our little cirlce of five. We walked to the Tube station together. I listened to them tell their anecdotes, in awe of their cool accents, and afraid to say anything that was too weird; little did I know, these five were just as crazy as I am. I spent the rest of Freshers’ Week attending some events, trying to hold as many conversations as possible. Looking back, it’s funny who I met in the first couple days, and who I was convinced was going to be my new BFFL; but as the term progressed, I found myself with a group of close friends; some of them I met at the very first event, and some I met randomly in the canteen, and then I found myself thankful for every small decision, insignificant at the time, to go to that corner of the room, or sit at that table. The random thought process that allowed me to meet the people that didn’t get scared away from the aforementioned hysteria (some even joined in on the hysteria party bandwagon) and even helped me through it.
Ok enough of this mooshy gooshy stuff. I am back in the States for the first time in 9 months. It wasn’t until reconnecting with the customs of my home that I noticed the things I had to get used to in my new city.
- I have never been HAPPIER than to have a bathroom sink that had only one faucet that had both hot and cold water. I still have not learned to enjoy the two faucet situation in UK bathrooms. Not about it.
- Yes, it is saving paper and good for the environment, but if I have leave the bathroom one more time with half-dried hands from the crummy hand dryer in the bathroom, I will go mad. The empty paper towel dispensers have become the biggest teases ever.
- The words “LOOK LEFT” or “LOOK RIGHT” painted at any London crosswalk or intersection have saved my life more times than I care to mention. When I went back home and tried to cross the street, it took me slightly longer to process which way to look.
- When friends say “Let’s have a Pie Day get-together!!!” do not be alarmed by the blank stares in reaction to your exclamation, “I have a great Apple pie recipe!” They were most definitely referring to the UK staple meal of Steak and Ale pie.
- Music students: be aware that in rehearsal, a choral director will ask you to change a Crotchet to a dotted quaver with a quaver rest. When in doubt what the hell any of that means, just look at your neighbor’s music.
- Also, before entering a rehearsal, look up whether it is a hemi-demi-semi quaver or a semi-hemi-demi quaver, or….screw it.
- NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE loudly exclaim a sentence about your “pants” falling down while riding public transportation…unless you are actually referring to your underwear.
- From now on, pronounce “schedule” like SHEDULE and not SKEDULE. There are a surprising amount of people who have that as their pet peeve.
- Triple check that any American idioms or sayings are not in fact rather rude or have incredibly sexual meanings before you present them in conversation.
- Don’t try to pronounce a Tube stop phonetically…you will be wrong
- Clotted cream is a revelation
- Biscuits are what Americans refer to as cookies and, unlike most other UK dishes, are not served with gravy.
- Earl Grey is my new lifeline.
Ok…so I am joking with this list, and hopefully nobody found this offensive! All jokes aside, moving to London was perhaps one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am learning a lot and have made some of the most important friendships during my 9 months here.
Well, this 30 minute break turned into a 2 hour long novel writing extravaganza. Now it’s time for a hot, hot date with Schumann. So…much….German.