Monthly Archives: May 2012

An ode to friendship

Standard

Last week while at work I received a text message from my sister. Nothing unusual. Happens all the time. Yet, I was a little scared to read it since I had just published my post about the band audition. Because it meant that my sister had probably found out that I had kept a secret from her. As I’m not known to be a coward I checked the message. It started with: “Hey, future star!” Now that wasn’t a bad start! Followed by: “You didn’t tell me anything” and a sad face. Now that, on the other hand, didn’t sound too good. I knew that she wasn’t all serious about it, but I still felt like I had somehow betrayed her. Not telling when we’re up to something big is a pretty unusual thing to do for us. We practically tell each other everything. There’s probably no person on earth that knows me better than she does. For the record: My Mum claims to be, but she’s definitely not! ;). But with her currently living in Spain, limited time to talk to each other and a very unreliable Skype connection, I never found the right time to tell her. I have to admit that I was a little scared, too. I know that she would never laugh about me for any of my crazy ideas. But I also know that she definitely would have told me if she thought that auditioning for a band would just be plain stupid. It’s her duty as my sister. And I think that’s exactly why I didn’t tell her.

When the opportunity occurred, I even thought about not telling anyone at first. But it’s hard to keep something to yourself that is so exciting and frightening at the same time. I needed to tell someone. Someone who’d understand. Even though my circle of friends isn’t particularly huge, I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who actually get me. People who have dreams and goals and crazy ideas – and are willing to follow them no matter what. People who don’t shy away from a challenge when it occurs. Our talents and interests might be different, but in the end it’s the will to be the person we want to be that unites us. And despite knowing all that, I was pretty nervous to tell them about my plans. I guess because this journey I’ve decided to take is still pretty new to me. I’m still somewhat searching for my place in this strange world that is my life and I have questioned this path more than once. And also because it’s one thing to follow an idea that seems to work out well with your talents and actually has the pontential to become reality – no matter how tiny the chance. And it’s another thing to just chase soap bubbles that will burst sooner or later and leave you with nothing.

The reactions I received however were supportive all the way. My friends were excited for me. They said they thought it was great that I’m trying to be creative and that I want to dive into unknown territory. They even said they admired me for being so brave and strong which is kind of funny because I didn’t feel like that at all. All I expected was a ‘good luck’, nothing more. Yet, what they gave me was their full support, they even somehow believed in me. And that’s what eventually gave me the strength to put my all into it. I would have done it without their support. Oh yes, I’m as stubborn as that! But it’s so much easier when you know that there are people out there who stand behind you no matter what. Even if you fail like I did. They will still say: “It’s awesome that you dared to do it!” Like my sister did who I will never ever keep a secret from again!

Advertisements

Postponed dreams

Standard

When I was on my very first walk to work since my move to Frankfurt last week, I realized something. I looked at the river on my left and the skyscrapers on my right and I realized that this was just another dream come true. It might not be the biggest or brightest one in my oversized bag of dreams, but still it is something that has turned from a wish into reality.

When I was on job hunt after returning from Japan, Frankfurt was definitely number one on my list of cities I wanted to live in. Not that it’s particularly standing out from other big cities in Germany. But I had lived in the farther area before which meant that I still knew some people who lived there. And while it is far from being a metropolis, it seemed like an acceptable option for someone who had just returned from Tokyo. A lot of people say thatFrankfurt is a village that dresses like a big city – and I actually believe it’s true. But with a decent amount of tall buildings, business people who consider themselves the most important species on earth and an exciting variety of bars, cafes, clubs and shops you can at least pretend to be in a big city. Plus, after living with my parents for 2 months in the town I spent the first 2 decades of my life – which is literally in the middle of nowhere, a lovely, peaceful middle of nowhere I can usually only endure for a weekend – Frankfurt actually was my personal Tokyo.

I’d had a job interview in Frankfurt, but before a decision had been made I got offered my old job back and took it as it seemed like the best option at the time. I thought about the possibility to still move to Frankfurt and to commute for an hour minimum everyday, but quickly decided against it. So the dream of the big city went back into the bag, but it wasn’t forgotten. I still had my fair amount of Frankfurt during the past 2 years, especially when my sister lived here for a couple of months last year. It had always been clear to me that the job situation would only by a temporary solution and that one day I would look for another chance to find a place to work in Germany’s banking capital. But I didn’t even have to. My new job found me, an unexpected surprise I welcomed with open arms for different reasons.

So now – after 2 months of annoying train and bus rides to work which stole at least 3 hours of my time everyday – I have finally arrived. And I have probably been the most relaxed person in the world ever since. No more forcing my body to wake up at a time it still considers as night. No more time checking of every single move I’m making in order to not miss the bus. No more stalker guy. No more rushing at work in order to get the earlier train and no more killing time in the office because the next train only leaves in 30 minutes. Now it doesn’t matter anymore if I stay in bed for just 10 more minutes. I can take a relaxed 30 minute stroll by the river to work if I want to. Or I can take the train if I’m lazy or too tired because I stayed up too late. I have time to go out after work because I’m not a sleep-deprived zombie anymore and I can still catch a decent amount of sleep. I hope that I will be able to appreciate the time I won back. I’m having a lot of ideas in my head I want to pursue – and posting here more often is definitely ranking high on my list ;). I also can’t wait to explore this city. To actually lead a social life again which I have been shamelessly neglecting lately. I just can’t wait!

So as you see, sometimes it’s the little dreams that can make you happy. And sometimes you just have to wait for the right time. Some things need a while until they can be turned into reality. Sometimes they even do so by themselves. If they don’t, be sure to check that bag of dreams once in a while and see what happened over time. I actually had to postpone another dream of mine due to my move here: buying an electric guitar. I spent so much money on the move I can’t afford it right now. Instead, I dream about it frequently. When I close my eyes I can feel it in my hands, I can feel my fingers stroking the strings and I can hear the music I’m going to play. One day in the not so distant future I am going to own that electric guitar. It’s going to be red and shiny. Hell, I can’t wait for that day!

I have never… auditioned for a band

Standard

So, remember when I said in my last post that a big event was coming up for me? On Saturday that day had finally come, so I no longer can keep it a secret. I’d only told 3 people about it beforehand and I chose them wisely. Because I knew they would get it. Or at least they wouldn’t break out in laughter or give me that strange look that says: „Maybe you should see a doctor about this!“ Because when you’re dealing with a challenge and you get to the point where you just want to quit because you feel like everything you’re doing is just not good enough (and trust me, you will get there eventually), the last thing you need is people standing in your way. What you do need is people who encourage you and help you to stay focused on your strengths and your goals. And I’m lucky to have such people in my life, even if they’re rare!

But enough with the epilogue, here’s the story: A while ago I put up an ad on some music-related websites looking for people to start a band project of some sort. As I’ve mentioned here before I’ve been working on writing songs (or rather lyrics + melody) lately and in the process somehow started to work on my voice, too. I have always loved singing. I remember sitting in the kitchen when I was about 4 years old singing each and every song out of my beloved children’s songbook while my Mum was washing the dishes. I couldn’t read yet, but me and my Mum had gone through this book so many times that I knew all the songs by heart. Later I sang in the school choir (never liked it much though) and I discovered that singing depressing love songs actually made being lovesick a little less painful. When I lived in Japan Karaoke was my most favourite hobby, by far. I would have done it on a daily basis if I could have afforded it. My personal Karaoke record was 5 hours of straight singing with just one other person and it was one of the best nights of my life. So yeah, singing has always been something I’ve enjoyed and had a lot of fun with. So I thought looking for people who enjoy music as much as I do and want to create something together would be a fun thing to do.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get as many responses on my ad as I’d hoped for. And the ones I got weren’t exactly what I was looking for (electric Ukulele, anyone?). But then I received an e-mail that caught my attention. It was from a band who was looking for a new singer and they thought my ad sounded interesting. I called the guy who had sent me the message and we had a nice chat. He told me a little about the band and their plans. When the words studio, live gigs and video fell, I felt the need to set some things straight. I told him that I had never sang for a band before, that the only experience I had was made in Karaoke bars and my living room. There was silence for a split-second. But then he said it was ok. He said they would like me to join them for a rehearsal. So I said yes. When I hang up the phone I was excited. And terrified. So, so terrified! I hadn’t even hoped for an opportunity like this in my wildest dreams. But now that it was right in front of me, I suddenly wasn’t so sure anymore if it was really what I wanted.

In order to prepare for the rehearsal, the band sent me 2 songs of theirs they wanted me to sing. They sounded good. Loud guitars and a pounding bass, just the way I like it. They sounded like a proper band. How was I supposed to fit into this picture? And how was I supposed to learn these songs in just a couple of days while being on numerous business trips and having to deal with a move on the side? But this was not the time to ponder. I had to either leave it or jump right into it. This was a chance I wasn’t likely to get again anytime soon. I hadn’t lied about my abilites, so the band knew what they were getting into. And I had nothing to lose really. So I practiced whenever I had the time to. The songs weren’t that hard to sing, I had some trouble hitting the deep notes due to the songs being written for a male voice. But I managed to give the best I could. When I told my guitar teacher about it, he more or less forced me to sing one of the songs to him. So I did and he gave me some great hints.

When I was on my way to the rehearsal, I was pretty nervous. The band members seemed pretty nice though. We chatted for a bit and I told them again that this was my first time ever singing with a band. They didn’t seem to bother that much and started playing 2 new songs to me that were still missing the vocal parts. It sounded great! Like a mixture of Green Day and Blink 182. But man, it was loud! Then it was my turn. We started with the first song. I started to sing at the right time – but I couldn’t hear myself. So I stopped and told them. They turned down the guitar’s volume a bit and we tried again. I was able to hear myself a bit better now, but still it sounded pretty weak even when I was singing from the top of my lungs. We finished the whole song and decided to try the second one, too. In this one the guitar was a little less prominent, but still my voice couldn’t quite break through the sound wall the other instruments created. I knew that I didn’t stand a chance right from the first sound I had uttered. And so did the guys. They were friendly though, offered me a beer and told me how they had to think about all the people they had played with today. They also made clear that they had big plans and that it would be hard for a complete beginner like me to catch up with them. They asked me if I wanted to sing something a capella for them, so I sang one of my songs. I think they actually used this as a distraction for me to make their decision because when I was finished they told me that they had decided against me. I said that I’d totally understand and asked them if they could give me any tips how to continue from here. They were really helpful and even offered to put up a flyer for me in the building they were rehearsing because they knew there were some bands around who were just starting out and probably a better fit for my current skill level.

I can’t deny that I was a tad disappointed when I was sitting on the train home. I mean, I had been pretty realistic about my chances right from the start. But to hear it said right to your face is a whole other story. The old me would have quit now thinking that there wasn’t any point in continuing something I obviously lacked talent for. The current me doesn’t though. The current me just thinks that I will have to work really hard, as hard as I can and beyond. And that everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot that day. I know my weaknesses now. I met some cool guys with great musical talent I hope I’ll be able to see performing on stage some day. And above all: When I was standing there with the mic in hand singing from my heart, I was being me. The real me! And I definitely want to be that person more often. So, yay me! 🙂

!!!Attack!!!

Standard

Do you know that feeling when everything just seems to be a little too much? When you just want to dig a hole and disappear from the world to never come back? I have to admit that there have been quite a few situations over the past few weeks when I wanted to do exactly that. First of all, there’s my new job that’s been quite challenging lately.  And that’s exactly what I wanted when I took it. But when you’re new to a company that works totally different from what you’re used to, when you’re thrown into client work with noone really telling you what you’re supposed to do, there can be moments when you just want to throw your papers on the ground and lock yourself in the toilet to cry for a little while. At least, that’s how I felt. I actually did sit on the toilet with tears in my eyes once. Not because I was sad or desperate. Because I was furious about the situation. I hate being clueless more than anything in the world. It slows me down in my work and makes me vulnerable to mistakes. But I didn’t give up. I worked my way through it, I pretended to know everything when I actually didn’t at all – and now, after a few weeks, I see a lot clearer. It’s not perfect yet, but I’m sure I’ll get there. And what’s most important: I will grow through this experience. If someone throws you into the water, you have to swim. Move forward and don’t look back. That’s what I’m doing, even if the water is so cold that it hurts. There’s no way I’m drowning!

Then there’s my move that’s taken up a lot of my free time lately. I’ve been meeting my realtor, my new landlord, my old landlord, organising movers, packing boxes, throwing half my stuff out – and there’s still so much to do until I’ll finally move on the weekend. Even though my back already hurts like hell from rummaging around all evening, I know what I’m doing it for. I can’t wait until my new life finally begins. There’s going to be a lot more free time – which leads me to the next busy part of my life. It’s really funny how nothing seems to work right when I’m having a lot of time on my hands. And when I’m busy as hell, there’s suddenly a progress. One of my private projects (some people might actually call them dreams) has really taken a step forward lately. I’ve been waiting for this for quite a while, so I was overly excited when the progress came. Then I realized that there couldn’t have been a worse time. But the time is never right and when dreams knock on your door, you don’t just tell them to come back another time. Because they won’t. So I jumped right in. I was supposed to have a meeting this week which was postponed to next week – lucky me! I know I would’ve rocked it anyway. But for such an important event I definitely prefer a week  that doesn’t involve 2 business trips and a move on the side. I will definitely let you know how it went. When the time is right. Until then, I will leave you with some lyrics I wrote during that busy mess my life was over the past weeks. It’s what I learned from it all. Because everything happens for a reason. So think about it (and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments)!

Chase me and I’ll attack
Beat me and I’ll rise above
Destroy me and I’ll resurrect