If you know I am flying to Germany, skip this.  If you didn’t know I was leaving the country, start here.  If you didn’t know I was living at home maybe you need to  go back to my blog from the summer).  If you’re one of my parents who was a little confused on when I was actually leaving, see the following:

Mom, Dad–I get it. I know you are ready to throw the lavish parties and FINALLY convert my room to that dreamy private reading room you’ve always wanted as soon as I get my sorry goodie-two-shoes behind out of the country, but give me a couple days.

That all said, I thought I’d combine my pre-trip note with some FAQs.

1) Wait you’re going out of the country?  Why?

Yes, because I auditioned on a lark back in October for the Junges Stuttgarter Bach Ensemble at the Bach Akademie in Stuttgart, Germany. We’re doing the Bach B minor Mass, with which I have a love-hate relationship more complicated than with any man that’s ever been in my life. Let me go ahead and gush that it’s all-expenses paid plus stipend–basically I get to be alive for another month provided I sing prettily and smartly and don’t wander off anywhere. This is all going on during Bachwoche, which is awesome to say out-loud. Or cough up a hairball; the phrase kind of lends itself to that purpose, too.

2) Are you still going to be employed when you come back?

So far my awesome boss-man conductor Ray Chenault and his lovely wife have been incredibly supportive, and I finished summer program auditions end of Feb as well as a couple of gigs on my schedule. The plan for me come April when I’m done in Italy is to literally walk off the plane when I come back to the USofA and go sing the Maundy Thursday service.

3) Wait I thought you were going to Germany?

I am. But, the JSB ensemble gets to go on tour in Italy after Bachwoche. And actually, because of my little stipend, I get to go over to Madrid for a few days before the real work begins. My fabulous undergrad voice teacher, AdrianaLia Moutz, is currently on Fulbright in Madrid, and she offered to host me at her apartment as well as give a “mini” Zarzuela (that’s Spanish artsong, for those wanting to continue their Opera 101 education) course. With luck and labor, I’ll be adding a few new pieces to my Spanish rep which I love to sing.

4) You speak a lot of languages, but do you know any Spanish?

See rambling title.

5) What is the time frame for all of this again?

So I am flying Lufthansa from Atlanta on Tuesday evening of March 6th to Frankfurt and then from Frankfurt to Madrid. Tentatively, I am supposed to arrive in Frankfurt on Wednesday March 7th at 9:40AM; then I arrive in Madrid at 3:45PM. After hoopla in Spain, I fly out of Madrid via Air Berlin at 5:20PM on March 12th, have a brief lay-over at Palma Mallorca, then arrive in Stuttgart at 10:50PM. Rehearsals start the next the day. To be honest, I am still trying to figure out S-bahn/U-bahn schedules to get to the hotel as quickly as possible so I don’t wake-up my roommate from Hong-Kong when I move in. I also plan to sleep a ton during the day on the 12th.

On Sunday April 1st I will fly Lufthansa out of Naples at 6:05AM (SHOOT ME) to Frankfurt. At 12:10PM I leave Frankfurt for Atlanta International, and I arrive home Sunday April 1st at 4:25PM.

6) I heard you still couldn’t find your suitcase?

Sheesh I’m a soprano. I’m lucky if I find my opening pitch and don’t get distracted by the tenors. And incidentally, it has, at long last, been found.

7) What are you doing with that ferociously cute, out-of-this-world quirky puppy of yours while you’re gone?

The somewhat pathetic puppy with the, “oh gad” look on his face in the above photo will be looked after by my parentals. When my mom leaves to chaperon a bunch of highschoolers in France for a couple weeks, it’ll just be my dad.

8) Umm… is that a good idea? Considering this is the man who forgot to feed you for an entire day when your mom was out of town?

We’ll find out, won’t we. I know for a fact that Bobby the puppy will get to sleep on my parents’ tempurpedic bed while I’m gone, which is the most sinfully comfortable bed I have ever flopped on top of.

9) Will you bring me something back?

Probably not. Be pleasantly surprised if I do.

10) Where are you going in Italy?

Off the top of my head, Naples, Bologna, Siena–all cities I did not visit on my previous two trips to Italy, so I am most excited.

11) Will your Credit Union finally let cardholders use their debit and credit cards in Germany?!

NO because they are stupider than the dodo birds and not nearly as cute. They actually put more restrictions in place on all card members after my mother–the woman that makes people realize that Dante should have included a circle in hell of Lutheran women crowding around unfortunate sinners saying, “Well, I guess if you don’t want tuna casserole for lunch now, you can have it for dinner”–raised holy hell in the manager’s office for me being stranded in the middle of Flughafen-Muenchen with no money source and no warning of having no money source. Now my card gets frozen–in the States, mind–every time I make an online purchase farther than Montana.

I tried to apply for a spankin’ new credit card at another bank, but I ave no credit history since I never took out loans for school. No credit history, no credit card. So now I have a credit card through The Bank of Dad, which is actually scarier to deal with than the actual bank. But at least now I can have some source of money abroad.

11) What’s the best way to contact you if you win a free pony?

As soon as I have a definite address of where I’m living, I’ll post it on the contact page (see above). I also have a Spanish number and a German number (and a German voicemail, as some may have noticed). If you call my American cellphone with important news like I won a pony or got a really awesome gig, I’ll get it immediately through my voicemail and be able to holler back thanks to the wonders of Skype and Google Voice. I do plan to invest in an internet usb stick as soon as I find the best deal in Europa/Deutschland, and when that happens, email is best.


Because the Akademie basically runs my life 7AM-7PM, do not expect immediate replies, let alone replies within 24hours. This also means that my Skpe times are minimal. Not to mention, when paying for internet in Europe, they do it like the phone companies here, charging you for every little piece of data. Skpe utilizes a massive amount of data. I think I would rather spend my data watching Gloria in all her glory on Modern Family (she bears a striking resemblance in looks and mannerisms to my own dear Colombian voice teacher in undergrad).

12) Did you update your blog or something?

Yay I’m glad you noticed! I took some time to research new blogging options, from getting a tumblr to templates to website hosting. Because I do blog entries only once a week when abroad, and also because I am more of an essayist than a post-it-noter, I wanted the blog to have a better flow to it. The way it is now is how I envisioned my blog being way back when I started it.

Essentially, it reads as a highly interactive newsletter with organized paragraphs, pictures, links, and cultural commentary. The format and content is sophisticated, yes, but at the same time the presentation is simple, clean, and well-intentioned. I want to be able to communicate with everyone I know, not just my music major friends (every time someone writes a // 5th, Bach kills a kitten) or my horse friends (dudes I am SO getting another pair of Pikeurs while abroad!!) or my parents (I mean, I’m alive, what do you mean “what else is new”) or more normal people (I am beyond excited for The Hunger Games, and I am praying I might be able to see it while abroad). If you want to read something the whole way through on the site, it reads smoothly; if you’d rather pick and choose, the organization is such that it’s no biggie if you don’t want to hear me gush over a well-played Bach cello concerto or which players from Real Madrid are good looking AND good footballers.