Embracing the Fatherland

It has been just slightly over a month since I first landed in Taipei an exhausted confused and slightly homesick traveller with absoutely no idea what the next ten weeks had in store for me. The first brush of wind I felt was heavy and humid and at 5:30am my body was tired and hungry and overall not impressed.

But holy moly; part of me would love the opportunity to reassure my past self that the next ten weeks will be the best of my life. The other part says “No way” because a huge part of this experience has been all the wonderful people I’ve met and excursions that are still so vivid in my memory.

It’s funny; even though this exchange has been at the top of my “to-do” list for over a year I still never really accepted that I was leaving home until I left my mom at the gate of the airport.

And to put it simply, I’m thriving. Sarcastic, sardonic, cynical me is thriving off of the constant flow of people that I meet every single day. Back home I would vehemently insist that I couldn’t stand to be around loads of people all the time and that my being alone was necessary for my survival.

Now if I don’t have plans with people for one day I feel lost.

Granted, travelling personalities have been easier to get along and converse with than most (MOST NOT ALL) people back in Vancouver. The shared goal of experiencing a foerign part of the world leads to easy conversation. I’ve met up with friends I made in a different hostel, still go back to Eight Elephants, and have already had to say goodbye to a best friend I made in less than a week and knew for less than three (Seriously, when the heck does that ever happen?).

I feel as if it would be pointless to list off all that I’ve learnt not only because it’s so much but also because a different personality could be in my exact same position and have gotten a completely diffeerent experience than me. There’s so much I want to say about Taipei and myself but writing in  blog post really wouldnt do it justice. I’ll instead end off with the following:

Is it possible to feel as if your personality has matured?
Because mine has. The combination of studying my heritage language and meeting the most phenominal people has changed a perspective or two of mine – something that has surprised stubborn little me.

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Lying: A Recurring Theme

Sorry folks, this post isn’t going to be as exciting as the title may entail.

It’s more about how I go “I’M GOING TO WRITE EVERY WEEK.”

Then after one week: “I’M GOING TO WRITE EVERY TWO WEEKS.”

The latter is the latest promise of mine; the promise to write a nrew post every two weeks.

WELLLLLLL WHATTYA KNOW. I LIED (Again. And me lying (again) is the most common theme that has been written about here (along with music)).

So while I made this blog to keep up my writing, ask opinions, share opinions, rant, etc…the only thing I’ve learned is that I should not make promises I can’t keep. Namely about when I’ll write my next blog post.

That being said, I’m going to go on and completely ignore my own warnings and advice by proclaiming that NOW is when the every-two-weeks posting shall commence!

And it will.

I have ZERO excuses for not keeping that up. Even if it’s a mere recount of my week or a certain day of the week, the post will be written. This will help me, and I know after a few weeks of this it will get easier to keep up.

So, this post will NOT count as the first. Because that seems like the easy way out; “Oh but I already wrote my first blog post!”

NO. UNACCEPTABLE.

Later in the week I will write the first of many continuous semi-weekly (Or bi-weekly…whichever one you use to describe a ‘once-in-every-two-week scenario) blog posts.

ONWARD!

About Me..Kind of

A short but sweet post that will address the most miscellaneous of facts regarding moi.

1.) With the exception of the two minute walk from my school locker to the gym change-room, or in the privacy of my backyard garden I will not be caught wearing flip-flops in public. They make weird sounds, they make the heels of your foot dirty (which then everyone can see), they’re tacky and, for me, they are a big big big no-no (Which has to do with the fact that they make my feet hurt).

2.) Leggings aren’t pants.
For the love of…everything…just cover your butt. Please. They are not pants. No. Not ever. Stop.

3.) I kid you not, I didn’t really discover the internet until this year. I now spend hours flipping from tumblr to facebook and and photography sites and imgur and (now, at least) wordpress and help me I need help.

4.) I will willingly wake up at 6am to catch a 7am bus to go to gym at 8am before my 9:30am class.

4a.) I feel like I’ve wasted half my day if I sleep in anytime past 10am. 9:30 is the threshold of my comfort zone for sleeping in.

I hope these help you all in your future endeavors.

It’s the small things/Back to basics (CLICHE GALORE)

One would think that after 4 months of wanting to just throw school assignments and pencil cases and anything within grabbing distance out the window while screaming and swearing and kicking and punching and wanting to crawl up in a hole and forget about existing that a certain university student would be on her way to Cuba to sip on pina coladas by a nice relaxing beach without a care in the world…

THREE THINGS WRONG

1.) I have no interest to visit Cuba

2.) HAHAHAHAH SUMMER SEMESTER FOR ME

3.) That reaction was the last of its kind…ever; for I am officially done with calculus, chemistry, and physics courses. For good. I am now blessed to take the upper level biology courses that made me fall in love with my environmental science program to begin with.

And that gives me plenty of time to get back to basics, to focus on small goals that, in the future, will pay off in ways that can only lead to the better. Now I’m not a huge optimist…I’m the optimist that is happy when things work out/are working out…and a total stressball when life just keeps unraveling in my hands. I’m…a semi-optimist. But still, having to focus less on school and getting four months to re-evaluate what is important to me has caused me to think very hard about what I actually want to get out of life (CLICHE 1).

Which brings me back to the basics of me as person; namely, a musician. If I’m describing myself to someone I’ll definitely make a point to emphasize how huge music is to me (as can be seen from previous blogs posts). And while I do have a band and an orchestra, I still feel as if I’m missing something. I really can’t find the right way of describing it, but while thinking about what I can do to fulfill this missing piece, I’ve come up with the following:

I have vowed that this summer I will spend 2 hours 6 days a week practicing my music. This applies to all aspects. Violin, trombone, clarinet, banjo, guitar, technique, and theory. This is for nobody else except me. I want to be better. I want to feel even more confident in my abilities as a musician. I want to feel that I deserve respect for the amount of effort I put into practicing. I want to actually practice. I want to prove to myself that I am a self-motivated individual. I want music to be part of my life forever.

This is me cementing my goal into my life. I’ve been playing instruments for 12 years now. And I want to see that number grow as I do. As I age, learn, and improve.

Where it all began

Musically, that is.

As in, where my love of Celtic music started.

It’s all thanks to those lovely random snippets of memories from childhood that decide to come to the forefront of one’s mind because of one little thing that triggers an avalanche of nostalgia.

Let’s begin!

On a Saturday afternoon a few weeks back, I was searching desperately for music to listen to while completing a physics assignment. For reasons unbeknownst to me, a reel started playing in my head…and I spent a good five minutes trying to figure out where this was from.

AND THEN

MY EUREKA MOMENT:

THIS REEL WAS FROM RIVERDANCE;

THE CELTIC DANCE SHOW THAT DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD

I’m not exactly sure how to define how I felt; excitement for sure, as I was looking forward to hearing the whole piece again. Successful for remembering where the reel was from. Anticipation for listening to my childhood soundtrack once again. And then a mix of nostalgia and sadness (that so much time had passed since I had been a 3 year old dancing in my grandparent’s TV room to the live special taped in New York City in 1996 or so). So this emotion was…exsucannosad. Sounds about right.

Anyway, my next stop was the youtubes. After a frustrating ten minutes of searching up soundtrack songs, I chose a clip of a song from the exact same performance that my grandparents had taped and I had watched countless times. Thanks to chronological titles, I was able to find the very first clip, corresponding to the first dance number. The costumes, the music, the dances, small little things that I had forgotten and then remembered were all running back into my memory like wildfire. I then proceeded to spend the next one  and a half hours re-watching the very thing that defined my childhood, planted a love of Celtic music in me, and inspired me to start up violin a few years later.

After watching all the clips I was so amazingly happy and giddy. For more reasons still unbeknownst to me, that little bit of childhood nostalgia had invigorated me and instilled a sense of completeness. As if I had been missing something (I don’t know what) and then found it (still don’t know what).

I’m not sure if there’s a point or moral to this blog, but I think that if everyone could recapture a small part of their childhood that made them incredibly happy or inspired them when older that, for a moment, life would get just a little easier.

ImageReel Around the Sun

-The piece that started it all. Go check it out if you need a pick-me-up 🙂

To live the gypsy life or not…

Aside

HAPPY MONDAY MORNING!

Now before you groan and plan your assassination of me for that comment let me defend myself by stating that today is, in fact, a happy monday morning for me.

FOR MY WORLD MUSIC/FOLK/GYPSY BAND IS ABOUT TO EMBARK ON OUR FIRST STUDIO RECORDING SESSION! 😀 😀 😀

And I am quite excited.

And I promise details, LOTS OF THEM. But first, I have a blog post I promised you all (From last week…my deepest apologies)

When we left off last week our young heroine had just been cornered by a young gypsy man from Chiynyoloslovakia* who was begging her to run away with him back to his homeland overseas so she could forever play violin in a wandering minstrel folk band-

LOL NO THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

Is it kind of sad that I wish it would? But that I’m not really sure I would take handsome gypsy man up on his offer?

Saying I adore music is a huge understatement; if something were to happen that prevented me from being a musician I would not be able to function. Although I’m not pursuing it post-secondary I would not give up my club orchestra and band for anything.

That being said, I’m not sure if I would give up my current post-secondary education or not if the opportunity to pursue music in a band arose. For a while I was adamant that I wanted to complete my degree before anything else because it’s a huge personal goal for me and I want to reach that milestone. However if touring was a once in a lifetime chance then I know that rejecting the offer would be one of the greatest regrets of my life.

Decisions, decisions…that hopefully will not have to be made while I’m still in university. I am content with where my music is at this point. And while I would jump at the chance to perform for a live audience the question still lies as to whether I would jump at the chance to run away to Chiynyoloslovakia** with an attractive gypsy man…

*Still not a country                                                                                                             **Just googled it. Definitely still not a country.

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And now back to our regularly scheduled programming

In which our heroine explains the backstory of the 12 year relationship with her main instrument, le violin.

Well I may have stretched the truth a tad when describing how this post would be all “IMMA CLASSY GIRL ORCHESTRAL VIOLINIST BY DAY AND KICK-ASS GYPSY VIOLINIST BY NIGHT” because for one, I’m one of those beings that requires 8 hours of sleep and two, I find it very challenging to dance and play violin simultaneously.

When I was 8 my parents told me I was to chose an instrument to learn, and I rejected the mainstream piano choice in favour of the violin. Unfortunately, being young, practicing always got put on the back burner. Out of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life, my biggest to date is not practicing violin as much as I should have. My skill could be much greater than it is currently if I had put just a tad more effort into it.

Anyways as I approached my 9th year i decided to take  leap of faith and try the Royal Conservatory of Music exams. It was the most stressful, frightening, exhilarating, and exhausting thing I had ever done and it amounted to 9 months of practicing for 3 (sometimes 6) hours a day. And it was at this point in my life I realized how much I appreciated having the skill of knowing how to play violin and being classically trained. (On the downside it kind of crushed my thoughts of pursuing a bachelor of music after high school, but that’s okay 🙂 )

After high school I stopped taking lessons and I ended up joining my university orchestra. Best. Decision. Ever. This was the thing that forced me to practice (You caught me; I got kind of lax after my RCM exam) and, in the past year and a half, has caused me to become such a better player than I ever imagined myself capable of. All the amazing people and music that comes together once a week has only intensified my classy, fly, orchestral side. 😉

But onto the gypsy part.

In my last year of high school a bunch of my friends formed a musical collective entitled “Soup the Moose.” I have always loved celtic music and, while it took a while to find our footing and take off, we are now proud to call ourselves a world music/gypsy/folk band (amongst other things). Being part of this band has fueled my love of world music and even inspired me to write a jig. My ability to listen to a song and be able to play an accompaniment soon after is put to good use.

And there you have it. The longish tale of how I came to be the dual-violinist I am today 😀