It has been brought to my attention that many more people than I realized are reading this blog, including a lot of people here in Colombia. I am surprised and flattered that anyone besides my mom and dad would be interested in reading my ramblings, but I was also made aware of the fact that some people have found some of the things I have said about Colombia to be offensive. I was so upset to hear this because in fact, I adore the people I have met here in Bogota, and find Colombians to be such kind, polite, wonderful people. I was horrified to hear I may have hurt someone's feelings. So I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who thought I was being in any way disrespectful or insensitive, and to explain a little about why I write this blog. I think if you know a little more about my personality, you will see that my humor and even sarcasm is completely out of love for what I do and for the people I meet.
I first had the idea to write this blog when I was singing not in Colombia, but in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. Columbus is a really cute college town with lots of nice things about it, but the hotel/apartment where the singers were staying was slightly outside of the main part of town off a highway and was totally overwhelmed by this gigantic billboard hanging over it. The billboard was an advertisement for a radio station and it featured a close-up photo of a woman's chest. I can't explain to you how big this poster of this woman's breasts was - it was the biggest billboard I had ever seen. She was wearing a thin white t-shirt, and the only thing the billboard said was "Pray for Rain". As the production coordinator dropped me off at the hotel, he said to me, "some people say when it rains, her shirt becomes transparent, but I've never seen it." When I got out of the car, I realized my hotel room was directly facing this gigantic picture of this woman's breasts, and it was the first thing I was going to see every morning and the last thing I was going to see every night. It reminded me of everything that can be wrong with my country - using sex to sell things, treating women like objects, general lack of class and sophistication, etc etc, but it also really made me laugh. I mean, THIS was my glamorous opera singer's life? Waking up every morning and staring at this woman's boobs? I thought - if only everyone who says to me "oh, how exciting and glamourous your life must be!" could see a photo of me standing underneath this sign, and see all the other hilarious and ridiculous things that happen behind the scenes everywhere I go, they would probably laugh their heads off.
Soon after that experience, I went to work in Italy for the first time, and I knew that with my difficulty with the language and unfamiliarity with the culture, plenty of funny things would happen to me. And while Italy is absolutely one of my favorite places in the world, I found it amusing that the grocery store was closed every wednesday for no reason, and that it was impossible for me to mail a letter or do my laundry because every other day is a national holiday in Italy. I laughed about these funny italian idiosyncrasies, but it didn't make me love the country any less - in fact, if possible I think it made me love it more. I started writing about my experiences, and people started reading them, and telling me that I was making them laugh and brightening their days, so I kept at it.
Which brings me to my feelings about Colombia. I have been laughing at the small challenges and unusual situations that have presented themselves during this production, but all of them are things that could happen in any company in any country. The thing that stands out to me the most about Bogota has to be the people - the fact that everyone is so polite, kind, supportive, and seems to be so full of energy and happiness. I have sung here twice now and would return in a heartbeat if I was asked because I enjoy myself so much while I'm here. In fact, having the opportunity to spend time in Bogota is one of the things that actually IS glamourous about being an opera singer, and one of the reasons I think I'm so lucky to get to do what I do. But I also like to find humor in any situation I can, and to make people laugh, so that's what I've been trying to do with my writing.
The main point of this posting is that I really admire and respect the people here, and I want to make that clear. Please feel free to hate my writing style, to think I am NOT funny, and to tell me I have terrible grammar and spelling, but please also know that I respect you all too much to ever intentionally insult you. I am in fact honored to be singing here, to have this life, and to get to experience everything I do. It's a pleasure to know you all, and I hope you will keep reading.