And so it's time to get to work. I had a nice weekend getting acclimated to Berlin a bit (not quite done with that, but remember jet lag is for old ladies, jet lag is for old ladies, jet lag is for old ladies.... my apologies to old ladies), my friend Thorsten is back in town from a weekend in Vienna, and so we've started getting to work on the laundry list of things to do here so I don't starve or get deported. He's a been an invaluable help in this move, I really don't know if my sanity would have held out without him being around over the last few months to call various agencies and get information from them. And he's adorable which is a bonus! Speaking of the laundry list, I figured I'd post a bit of it here so you can live vicariously through all of the FUN FUN FUN I am and will be having over the next few weeks:
Open bank account
Get internet card working
Set up interview at music school
Get an employment visa?
Get an artist visa?
Get both visas?
Move things to garden house
Begin repairs to garden house
Fix up the yard at the garden house
Get regular cell phone plan
Figure out transit routes
Coordinate rehearsals with singer friend
Find piano scores for singer
Find piano for singer
Find room with piano to rehearse with singer
Find a grocery store
Drink more beer
Find an apotheke (drug store)
Meet with conducting teacher
Research possible student programs
Find a roommate or a flat
Don’t get deported
Drink all the beer in Germany
So, as you can see, there is much beer to drink. And some other things to do as well in there. To clarify a few of them for those that don't know the details; for this month I will be staying at Thorsten's mother's garden hut in the South of Berlin. It's a bit of a trek out there, but it's FREE and we love that. That will hopefully give me a chance to save some money and get employment lined up, or at least have an idea of what employment options I'm looking at. In return for the place to stay I will be doing some repairs and yard work there, something I have some experience in. My plan is to have them show up down there after a few weeks, gasp as they walk into their gloriously landscaped garden plot, stand in stunned awe when they see the hut, and weep when they walk in to their garden palace hut. While waiting for the German bureaucracy to grind through my paper work I should have PLENTY of time to recreate paradise.
The "singer" I'm referring to is an old friend from back in the day in Montana, Charles "Chuck" "Chas" Elliot. He's going to be here in Berlin and other various European cities singing for various opera houses and needs a rehearsal pianist here in Berlin. I love playing for the singers so this is great, and it gives me something to do (and a bit of spending money under the table). Only problem is I don't have a piano, nor can I possibly buy one, so I need to track one down that I can use. Hopefully it will be in a room we can rehearse in as well. This being The Europe I can expect to find pianos everywhere. And I'm serious, I can expect that. THAT'S WHY I LOVE IT HERE. We were at a beer garden back in July and a guy was practicing Beethoven piano sonatas in an apartment overlooking the garden, and there's an opera singer that lives a few flats down from Thorsten that you can hear practicing from time to time, and as you walk around town you hear instruments from all around in the buildings, and people are carrying violins and cellos and clarinets and bassoons and trombones and saxophones.... well, even in Europe taste has its limits, but that's ok, I still love it. I just really hope they don't want me to teach sax at this music school.... I mean I'll do it cause they'll pay me to do it, of course, but I hope they find someone else. Let's move on lest this become a polemic on saxophones, which no one needs in these tough times.
You will also notice that beer drinking figures prominently in my plans. This is not of my choice but is in fact mandated by the German government, and I have no choice in the matter. If I want to stay in the country I will drink beer, or pay the very harsh consequences. I want to keep people happy around here, so I will oblige, as often as possible (I'm an overachiever you see). Last night we went back to the aforementioned beer garden which has a fantastic microbrew pub next to it to do my state duty of beer drinking for the night. We had a WONDERFUL Oktober Fest Märzen, it was heavenly. I in fact had two LARGE ones and was feeling nothing but love for the Father Land as the entire bar broke out into a rousing chorus of "Deutschland Deutschland Uber Alles" as we lifted our beers and swayed to and fro, arms clasped over shoulders in alarming nationalistic comradery . Ok, that whole last part didn't happen but in my beer addled heart it felt like it did. Bier, du bist so wunderbar...
So it will be a long week I think. Today has been productive already and tomorrow promises to be crazy as Thorsten has the day off so we will be running all over town getting all manner of things in line. My meeting with the music school should happen either tomorrow or certainly by the end of the week, I will spam the Facebooks with the information I get from them of course, as that really is the keystone to my success here at the moment. If that falls through for some reason then I'm on my own finding students, which is a bit more stressful. I will, like that great sage of the Runway always advises, make it work though, and hopefully with the style and grace he would expect.m