Giggity Giggity

I’ve promised my friend Anna that I will write a blog post everyday for November, annnnnd it’s already November 3. Catch up time!

November 1

November 1st marked the day of my first real, proper, grungy, smokey, rock gig in a pub. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not cut out for this rock thing. I listen to classical music more often than not, I don’t particularly like sex or drugs, I wear flippy skirts and I like pink gel pens. Today I’m wearing a black pleather jacket and I’m concerned that I’ve over done the cool factor.

Nevertheless, when the lead singer asked if I would join the band as a pianist and female vocalist I jumped at the opportunity. The one time I had seen Malarkey perform I had the best night of my South Korean life. The crowd loved them, the band loved the crowd, and the covers they did were well chosen and fun. Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that?

After a brief foray on the bass, I was finally back on the keys and knew what I was doing. I was so pumped for this gig. Practice and sound check went well and we booked out a motel room (jacuzzi with waterfall tap included) to get into costume. Costume. That’s right. This was Halloween. We had decided months ago that we were to go in drag. We had Lana from Archer; a female Mudkip; a man with a snake in his bra; a not-quite-spice-girl/not-quite-royal wearing the aforementioned pleather jacket; and my favourite, a bloodied up Beatrix Kiddo. I went as a punk rocker; faux-hawk, scary eye makeup, chest hair, bra-less man boobs, and stubble included. I looked decidedly feminine but overall it was effective!

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I’m still on a high from the gig. Whilst I was a bundle of nerves during my first vocal solo, and the sustain pedal got stuck on sustain, once that was over I picked up and I really enjoyed the night. I love being in this band and who knows? Maybe I will finally embrace the inner rock goddess that desperately wants me to let go.

November 2

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so CLOSE. Going from a Saturday filled with high energy performances to a Sunday filled with directing high energy performances was a poor choice. And yet, it is the life I have chosen and the life I love. The day started beautifully. A sunny brunch, followed by enthusiastic practices and a script writing session until the late afternoon.  “Late afternoon” was the problem. By the time I had finished I was shaking from caffeine intake and hangry. I snapped at a friend, she pulled me up on it… the water works started. I am not a crier. This was weird. I was overtired. Everything is good justt… stressful.

Standing there in the bus terminal, crying like I’d just lost my love interest in a K-drama, we made our way to a cafe where my friend worked her magic and convinced the cafe to make my favourite drink, a minty hot chocolate! Coupled with a vent, cinnamon sugar pretzels and hugs it wasn’t long before I was feeling a lot lighter.

In the end the tears were worthwhile. I came home tired but determined to get myself on track and I’m going to be taking extra special care of myself this month to prevent another wet-eyed attack even though my to-do list looks like it was written by Obama on speed.

I’m super pumped about this blogging challenge. A lot is going to happen this month and I think it will be healthy and fun to write about it. I also want to reflect on the year that was, considering that I am now entering my 12th month in Korea. My next post will be titled “Luncheon in Suncheon”, something that I promised a friend I would write a looonnnng time ago.

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Adventures in Choral Gwangju

Those of you who know me well, know that it doesn’t take long  for me to find a project, or five, related to the arts. So it was, that I found myself becoming a “Player” (committee member) of the Gwangju Performance Project and starting a choir under that umbrella with a girl Caitlin, who has become a dear friend. This all happened rather fast, I had been planning to start a choir once play rehearsals were up and running, yet after Caitlin posted on Facebook asking whether a choir existed, I knew I had to get the ball running fast.

Approximately a month ago we had our first rehearsal. I’d planned a bunch of fun, easy pieces to get our new members excited and ready to create the relaxed Saturday afternoon activity we wanted. Of course, this is Korea. “Easing into it” is not a well known concept.

It didn’t start well. Stepping into a taxi I slipped and sprained my ankle worse than I had since my dancing days, and I ended up being late for the rehearsal! About 5 minutes after I finally arrived, Dr Shin of the Gwangju International Center walked in holding an ominous looking score. He asked us whether we would be interested in performing with the Hoshin Choir (a semi-professional choir in Gwangju) for the May Concert. My face fell; everyone else’s lit up. I was terrified; they were excited. Dr Shin gave me a 35 page score of Korean patriotic songs I had never heard and told me to conduct. I… stumbled through it. For a month we practiced these pieces, not really knowing if we were doing the right thing because we wouldn’t meet the Hoshin conductor until about a week before the concert.

I became an invigorated, stressed out, sleepless being. I was determined that we would get these pieces down. Terrified that we would fail; confident that we wouldn’t.

A week before the concert we discovered that we were to sing almost the entire score in Korean rather than the provided translation! I was also told that I was to sing the opening solo – in Korean!

After a month of pushing these poor choristers to their limits, the concert day arrived. It was an incredible event. A host of classically trained musicians performed throughout the evening and we were to close the concert. I must say, I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of myself or others. If anyone would like to see a video of the performance, just send me a message and I’ll send it along.

On Friday, for the first time in a month, I managed to clean, hang out the laundry, wash the dishes and prepare a meal at home. I was even able to test my ankle out with a short jog after work. I’ve been going non-stop. Even on my recent holiday to the East Coast of Korea, I had itchy feet and felt the need to keep moving. It may sound tiresome to some, and it is, but I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

I’m starting to think I’ve landed on my feet.

It's all a farce.

It’s all a farce.