We are already here - Susan’s last blog post about her German audition tour! If you’ve been following the GVAI blog, you know that Susan embarked on a three month audition adventure in Berlin, Germany. So, what did Susan learn? Should you plan your own audition tour? Was it totally weird to return to the United States after a quarter of a year abroad? We are so thankful to Susan for her contributions to the GVAI blog and are glad she’s back enjoying the holidays with family. What an eye-opening experience for all of us.
“I’m back stateside! I decided it was a good idea to not sleep at all the night before I got on the airplane. I also did not sleep on the plane. So, by the time I landed in the Midwest, I was pretty much totally brain dead. My dad and my brother picked me up at the airport, thank God. It was like being drunk, only a lot less fun. That being said, I think that’s the easiest time I’ve ever had getting over my jet lag because I was so exhausted that it was no problem at all to fall asleep at 9:30 pm (local time), and then I was pretty much on schedule with everybody else.
The best thing about coming home was my family. It always is. My parents had five kids, so there is a whole crew of us. I never feel so calm or so strong as I do when we’re all together. Nobody on the planet Earth makes me laugh the way my siblings do – they’re bonkers. Even if we’re just playing cards, making dinner, doing nothing in particular. This year especially, though, I just missed them all like mad. There’s nothing like travelling halfway around the world to make you wonder if you should never have strayed more than ten miles from your front door. There are lots of things I care about, lots of things I want to achieve, but there is nothing, nothing, nothing more important than family. Maybe that’s the Midwest in me talking. I had a lovely week eating Thai food and watching movies (in English!) and spending time with my family.
So, I reached out to my old day job to see if they could hire me back (as we kind of discussed before I left) but it turns out that my replacement is working out fine, so they have no position for me. They were very sweet and apologetic about it, actually. I still have my church gig, which is nice, but that’s just the weekends, so it’s not quite enough to live on. That’s a little bit of a scary place to be. When my dad took me to the airport to send me back to where I live, he sort of insisted on putting $200 in my hands. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, he’s a really good dad.
Now I’m back on the job hunt. I’m trying to find something near where I live – applying to coffee houses, retail, scouring Craigslist, etc. In the meantime, one of my two housemates (both of whom have taken to speaking a smattering of German to me when I run into them in the kitchen) hired me as his temporary assistant. He paid me $16/hour to make him some flashcards – something I feel imminently qualified to do as a lifetime flashcard studier. I got my whole security deposit back from the place I stayed in Berlin, so that will take me through the 15th when all my bills are due. I’ve got a little time before I am totally destitute.
I also got a temporary gig operating the spotlight at the local opera company – my other housemate is in that show and I’m hitching a ride with him to rehearsals. I’ve got a lot of old friends who are involved in this production. It was really good to see all of them too. Hugs all around! Even though this is a scary time for me, I feel like I’m seeing in action that old adage, “Jump and the net will appear.” I am kind of in trouble, in that I’m less financially stable than I have been in years, but my community is really rising to take care of me while I figure it out, which is both unexpected and super comforting.
I went to go see my teacher, of course (How else would I know I’m really home?). She made dinner (Chicken Vesuvio – my favorite) and we talked about everything that happened in Germany – all the struggles and rejections and confusing feedback. She went to Germany when she was 27 to do an audition tour, so she totally gets it. It was really good to talk it out. After dinner, we got to work. She gave me this lesson for free because she knows I am super broke - yet another example of the incredible amount of support my community is showing me right now. In the middle of our lesson, she said, “You know, I’m actually really glad this happened, because I feel like you’re really hearing me now.”
So, if there is a moral to this story, maybe this is it: the work is never finished. In the face of adversity and rejection, the only thing to do is keep going, keep working, and keep honing your skills. It reminds me of that Samuel Beckett quote: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Thanks for reading along, everybody!"
Thank you Susan for sharing your story consistently and honestly! We have loved hearing all the tiny details of a what an audition tour is REALLY like. Of course, everyone’s experience is different, but we certainly have a better idea now of a real tour experience. As you say, the only thing to do is to just keep working. For me, it brings to mind that scene in Finding Nemo where Dory sings, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…” In this situation, it would probably be perfectly appropriate to substitute the word ‘swimming’ with ‘singing.’
f you’ve followed Susan’s story over the past couple months, please leave your comments below! Also, don’t forget to share the GVAI blog and subscribe so you don’t miss a note. (HA! See what I did there…)
If you’re planning your own audition tour and need guidance, apply for our Summer opera program 2018 or contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And like always, we’d love if you’d share your story with us. Sing on!
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Most blog posts from June 2017 - June 2018 were written by GVAI's blogger Anikka Abbott who has just started her journalism studies. We already miss her. Learn more about her here or connect with her on Facebook.
Hello, I am Christine, the director of GVAI, a passionate singer, German diction, voice and performance coach. I love music, singing and dancing. Life is an exciting journey and I invite you to walk with me....