Wherefore art thou?

Oh Blog readers, have you given up on me? They say that if you want to keep your readership up, you have to be regular about writing, and I obviously haven't been. I took the summer (and when I say summer, I mean my summer vacation, which basically took place in the last month and a half) off, and now that I'm back in the saddle, I wonder if you all will come back and read again. Well, writing is cathartic enough that even if nobody is reading, I'll do it when I feel it anyway.

So, I'm back in Europe again. How did that happen? It truly seems like just yesterday I was packing up my suitcases in Innsbruck giddily, ready as ever to get back to the U.S. And I did have a month and a half off, but somehow it flew by so fast that I wasn't ready to reload and get back to work. But life goes on whether we're ready or not, and here I am, back to work.

On my flight here, I had a six and half hour silent, passive aggressive fight with the guy sitting next to me on the plane. I have a kindle now, which is really handy for traveling since it weighs next to nothing, and I can have unlimited english language books at my disposal, which is very comforting when you're in a foreign country. Anyway, you know how they make you turn off all electronic devices for take-off and landing? Well, I find that really annoying when I'm just trying to read my book, so I did a little research and discovered that the kindle is totally non-interfering with any airplane activity when you switch off the wireless signal, so it's totally safe to keep on, even during non-electronic moments on a flight. I've only had a flight attendant tell me to turn it off once, and when I explained to her that it was not really "electronic" and didn't have an on/off switch - just a sleep mode - she let me keep it on. Otherwise no one has ever said boo. Until my flight here yesterday.

The German dude sitting next to me, who was already pissing me off with his "hogging the armrests" antics, decided he was the electronics police. He leaned over to me as we were taxiing and said "Aren't we supposed to turn off all electronic devices for take-off and landing?" I looked at him sideways and asked "why?" and he glared down at my kindle and replied, "You should turn that off. Now." So I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt - maybe he's one of those nervous fliers and is afraid my kindle will cause the plane to crash, so I tried explaining how it works to him: "No - you see, once you turn off the wireless function - which I already did - it no longer emits any signals that can interfere with the plane - I've checked it out before." He looked at me suspiciously and and shook his head, muttering "you should turn it off." And then he looked around, apparently trying to find a flight attendant to tell on me. Never mind that they had passed by me a hundred times already and not said a peep. He continued to glare at me and my kindle all during take-off, and, as far as I could tell, spread out as much as possible so I had to keep my arms tucked into my sides as if I was wearing a straightjacket. My only revenge was, upon seeing he had ordered a special vegetarian meal, ordering the chicken. I really wanted the pasta, but I wanted his big glasses wearing, mayor of the airplane self to have to smell my meaty dinner. Ah, traveling.

I don't actually start any jobs until Thursday, when my first rehearsal for the Kindertotenlieder is scheduled, but I wanted to come to Europe a few days before that to recover from jet-lag. I fly to Vienna tomorrow and the concert is on Saturday, then back to Berlin Sunday, and rehearsals for Barber begin Monday. If I'm not feeling ready, I'd better get over it quick. Like; today.

Being back in Berlin is very comforting, however, as far as traveling to foreign countries goes. I know where I am, how to get places, and yet there's always so much more to discover. I already know how the public transportation works and where to validate my ticket and what direction to go. I even know what brand of German cereal I like. It's small comforts like these which keep me relatively sane, and eternally grateful.

Now I need to go practice. Tap tap tap...is this thing on?