Archive for October, 2009


I’m in such a state of complete bewilderment right now I don’t even know where to begin. I’m amazed at how I still insist on predicting the outcome of things even though I am constantly being proved wrong about pretty much everything. Tonight I decided to go to a free orchestral concert at Queen’s Hall after seeing it listed under the ‘free events’ section of this things-to-do-in-Edinburgh website I found and I completely expected to be the only one there. But when I walk through the building entrance, there must have been at least 200 people gathered waiting for the doors of the hall to open. This was the first of many spotlights on my misconceptions of the evening . I took my seat and was joined on either side by some older gentlemen, one of which had a head of grey hair and some shnazzy black glasses. I imagined he read philosophy books at home whilst listening to opera. The first of the performers came on stage and sat at the piano. I geared up for some masterful classical composition and instead heard seemingly random notes pounded out and then shyly coaxed out of the piano in what turned out to be a modern piece, something very rice radio-worthy. I realized when the event was labeled as “the new music experience” that literally meant ‘new music’. When the host asked the composer of that piece to stand up from the audience, an awkward pause produced this young man with a thick ponytail, an earring and a hoodie. For some reason just about everything that I witnessed tonight threw me for a loop.

The pianist, a flautist and a cellist all played their separate pieces but when they all came together to play a piece at the end I think was described as attempting to mimic the sound of whales? I was floored. The lights in the hall turned out except for a few blue spotlights on the stage, at which point I got really excited, and the three musicians came out wearing black masks. Wait, what? They can do that? I’m sorry- this is awesome, is anyone else seeing this? Then they proceeded to do these amazing things with their instruments- the flautist was actually singing into his flute, the pianist stood up and was playing the inside of the piano, and the cellist somehow made that cello sound like a sitar?… and then like a whale. It was crazy and absolutely brilliant and fantastic.

The whole concert I sat in my seat and all these thoughts came rushing into my head. First, I realized how much I loved this setting: a modern orchestra performance with all these people of all ages who also wanted to be here like me on a Monday night and who appreciated this really unique genre of music. And really, this is like a supplement to what I’m studying. Modern music is a lot like modern art. It’s new and different and not widely accepted and at first glance it seems it doesn’t take a lot of skill to produce it but it does. These musicians have mad skills. Seeing the cellist perform it made me mad at myself for not taking the viola seriously, for playing in an orchestra for nine years and letting my frustration at learning something new and difficult own me so that I never challenged myself. I felt like if I just would have been disciplined I could have broken through this wall that always stopped me from becoming really great and I could have learned about contemporary string pieces like this and I could have had my name in a program and played my instrument to sound like a whale. But then I thought, would I have had enough passion for that? These musicians have passion for this. The art kids at my school that intimidate the crap out of me have passion for their art. Do I have passion like that for anything? I have passion for art and music, but it’s a general passion. An all-encompassing passion where I don’t have to narrow it down to just one particular thing. It’s a distant passion where I can go to concerts and museums and appreciate it from a distance but not really delve deep into it, to understand it. The career counselor at the college asked what my focus was, and I couldn’t tell her. I don’t think about a focus, I just think about the snapshot picture in my head I have of my future. The husband, the kids, the snow, and the faux-vintage tint I put the color of that snapshot photo in to make it look cozier. This might be why I’m restless, why I can’t narrow down topics to write my papers on, why I’m so intimidated by these art students. I’m missing this passion for something. It really isn’t enough to have a vague appreciation for things. I’m not patient enough with things that deserve my time- books, music, art…

So many epiphanies tonight, my head is still reeling. I wish you could have been there with me.


Read Full Post »


The empire biscuits at my tea house were even more fantastic than I imagined. I’ve drooled over them in the display case everytime I’ve gone in. When you come visit me, I will treat you to an empire biscuit.P9261989

Everything feels so normal. My new pal the tea shop owner asking me the correct usage of the word y’all. My almost daily pop-in at the organic food store around the corner (and the reassurance of the girl at the register that there is in fact nothing wrong with coming in every day). And as I sat in the Meadows on a bench with a plaque dedicated to Mr. Singh who always loved playing cricket on these fields, I watched all the people who noticed the beautiful weather and all had the same idea to spend the day outside and I thought this feels so normal. Am I in Scotland? The United Kingdom? Europe? I am in Europe right now. I live in Europe and it feels normal. 

Picture 007It seems I only tell you about the good things. I’d like to spare you my disappointment in the lack of a Scottish boyfriend or the fear of a future not living in Europe or that I might soon eat my weight in honey. I love my life here despite these things. I have too many goals that I will not let myself ignore: I want to rendezvous with Kelly in Paris, eat csigas again from the nagycsarnok in Budapest with Claire, do as much as I can to aspire to a career in the arts. In Scandinavia. Where I’ll be married and have little blonde babies in wool sweaters and mittens.

I sit here and watch the sunset out my window, in my purple hat. I love my purple hat. Almost as much as I love empire biscuits. I always seem to have good days when I wear my purple hat. Mon chapeau violet.

And because I am in a good mood and because I wasn’t brave enough to get up and dance when this song came on in Tea Tree Tea this morning, I’ll share with you the most romantic song performed by a set of Scottish twins I can think of…

Read Full Post »

choral evensong

photo courtesy of google.


reason #49857 i love edinburgh:

54°F in my hat and coat, 6 pm evensong sevice @ St. John’s Church

Read Full Post »

It dawned on me this afternoon that I have officially been living in Edinburgh for one month.

So I celebrated by becoming a tourist and taking a sightseeing tour.PA042004

 You know, so I could see all the things I see everyday. But on a BUS.

PA041999 Look at all the tram construction on Princes Stree—ohhh we’re turning.

PA042000And of course… the sightseeing bus goes down the street where I live and go to school.

Yes, all very thrilling… but it was nice to walk home and see my Edinburgh again.


Meh, there’s a castle.

Read Full Post »

things I liked today.

  • my breakfast this morning.
  • finding an unoccupied table at the elephant house.
  • watching the rain fall on the roses in princes street gardens. Copy of P9261983
  • wearing tights with my boots. yep, i’ve embraced it. now i’m just like every other European girl here.
  • my Finnish crackers with honey. also, just anything with honey.
  • the fire alarm that went off in the midde of me writing this in which we stood outside for 20 minutes in the cold drizzly night with all the kids i’ve never seen before who also live in this building. it was actually quite fun.

Read Full Post »