Dream Vacations: Italy

I follow a bunch of different travel blogs, and I’m always so envious of everyone’s amazing adventures! T and I made it to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in February, and it was awesome. It wasn’t a place that would have been high on our travel bucket list if we didn’t have some good friends living there, but we had a blast.

Travel is truly addicting, isn’t it? Once you get started, you just have to keep doing it. I have a whole list of dream travel destinations that I’ll be sharing with you, and what better place to start than…

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Yep, the entire country of Italy. When I was twelve I spent a couple of weeks there with my family, but back then I didn’t appreciate opera or wine, and I didn’t speak Italian. All of those things have changed in the past fourteen years (and aren’t we all glad), so I’m dying for a chance to go back. The specifics of my to-do list include both things I have already done and would love to do again, and things I can’t miss out on the second time around:

  • See an opera at La Scala in Milan (obviously this is number one!)
  • See the Last Supper painting, also in Milan
  • Visit Juliet’s home in Verona
  • Spend a few days and nights on the island of Capri
  • Check out the Villa d’Este and its fountains in Tivoli (listen to Franz Liszt’s gorgeous piano piece inspired by them here)
  • Spend time wandering around Venice and enjoying the fact that the streets are water
  • Hike to/visit Cinque Terre
  • Return to Rome and see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
  • Climb the dome in St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Buy some jewelry on the Ponte Vecchio
  • Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
  • Invest in art from Florence or the glass-blowing factory on the island of Murano
  • Visit Pompeii and learn about the erupting of Mount Vesuvius
  • Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
  • Picnic in the Siena countryside

What did I leave off this list? I welcome your suggestions!

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Flexibility

This morning I found myself locked out of the office I work in.

Technically everyone else is on vacation, but I’ve been going in every day this week for an hour and a half or two hours, just to check the messages and email and sort the mail. I have yet to receive a key, so I’ve been relying on other people getting there before me, and it’s been fine up until today. The receptionist for the other dentist in the office wasn’t in yet, so I was out of luck.

So naturally I headed over to Starbucks to get some actual work done. By “actual” I mean the work I actually love, the work I actually want to devote my life to: music.

I grabbed a soy chai and a table and proceeded to spend 45 minutes working on translating my Zauberflöte score for my summer program in August. I then spent another 15 minutes or so watching YouTube videos of pieces that I’m currently learning.

Let me just tell you, it was GLORIOUS. It was the perfect way to start my day.

I’ve been wrestling lately with the idea of flexibility. When this school year ends, and my nannying job along with it, the implication is that I will pick up more hours at the office and eventually maybe even go full time. I know it makes sense for me to do that, for multiple reasons, but I can’t shake the feeling that if and when I do that, the flexibility that I want and need in my schedule will be gone. I’m not a person who can spend eight hours a day at a desk. Heck, I can barely even spend two hours at a desk. It drives me absolutely insane.

Worse, I would lose the opportunity for practice time throughout the day and week, with my only real options being to practice at lunch at my mom’s house (conveniently located two minutes away from the office), or to try to cram in most or all of my practicing on Fridays, my day off, which is far from ideal. I need that time carved out every single day. That’s my chance to turn off my phone and feel like I’m doing the most valuable work I can do. It’s my time.

I’m not asking to never work a “real” day job. Most of the singers I know have some sort of day job or other, and it’s obviously necessary to pay the bills. All I want is the ability to define my time and my life how I want to, instead of spending all day at my day job and thus being unable to do the very thing I’m trying to support through said day job. All I want is to feel like my daily pursuits are ultimately things that bring me one step closer to my goals and the career I desperately want to have. Is that so wrong?

Back to this morning. Eventually I returned to the office, and the other receptionist was there and let me in. I got right down to work, took care of everything that crossed my desk, and when it was all complete, I went home to practice.

Flexibility. That’s all I ask.

Gadgets I’m Coveting

I have a board on Pinterest titled “Want.” It’s full of cute articles of clothing, household decor, jewelry, and other miscellaneous items. Today I present to you some of the awesomely geeky, yet probably-life-enhancing tech gadgets on my wish list.

1. This teacup warmer from Brookstone would prevent me from always having to microwave my tea or coffee. It’s just not as good after that.

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2. This iPhone photo printer from Hammacher Schlemmer would save me the trouble and expense of having to get my photos printed at Walgreens.

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3. This bottle cap humidifier would let me steam anywhere, anytime I’m not feeling 100% and singing is imminent.

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4. This personal-size travel Crock Pot from Walmart would let me bring warm lunches anywhere, and even cook them while I’m sitting at work.

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What are your must-have, dream gadgets?

Back to Reality

Well, The Pirates of Penzance closed on Sunday. It was a wonderful run––I had a great time and got a fantastic review, the show got better and better every weekend, and I think the company actually even made money on it. It’s always hard to see a show go, but I know I’ll work with several of the people again, and it’s time to move on to something else, i.e. four concerts in the month of May.

In parting, here are my souvenirs from the show.

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My Act 2 costume slippers, an engraved keychain flask that was a gift from the director, my trusty score, the DVD of the show, and a poster signed by every member of the cast. D’awww!

And a special bonus souvenir:

ImageYes, that is a bruise. I fell down several stairs during the third weekend of the show, and shockingly enough, this is actually the upswing of it. A few days ago it was much darker and completely solid-colored. I won’t tell you which part of my body it’s on.

And with that, I say farewell to Penzance and to Mabel for a while. Until we meet again!