November 2008

Thanksgiving in Germany

November 27, 2008 07:03

Today is Thanksgiving, turkey day.  If I were at home, I would have driven to my aunt's house early this morning with my Dad, Green bean casserole, deviled eggs, and several other yummy things in tow.  At my aunt's the rest of my Dad's family would be gathering, aunt's, uncle's, cousins, and grandparents that I seldom see outside of the main holiday's of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  We would then hang-out together all day, eating lots of food, watching movies, and playing cards until late in the night, all-in-all enjoying each other's company.  But not this year.  It's Thanksgiving Day and I'm in Germany.  Instead of spending the day in company with family, I spent it with students teaching them English, just like any other day of the week.  Not a bad day, but nothing special either.  I never realized what is so special about a day which is mostly celebrated through eating as much food as possible until it hit home that I wouldn't be driving to my aunt's and spending the day with family as I have ever since I can remember.

My celebrations this year a bit different.  Yesterday I made a pumpkin pie, no small feat as I had to make my own pumpkin puree and crust, and brought it to the teacher's lounge of the school today for everyone to try.  And was suprised to find out that most of the teachers here have never before eaten pumpkin pie!  Tomorrow evening I've invited 10 of my colleagues over for dinner to celebrate - most of them are excited having never celebrated Thanksgiving before.  I'll be making my traditional deviled eggs and green bean casserole, as well as providing the turkey, gravy, and another pumpkin pie.  What wondeful yummy things will they bring to eat?  This Thanksgiving celebration will definitely be different than what I am used to, but at least I will not be spending it alone - because Thanksgiving is not just about eating or being thankful, but is about coming together and spending time with family (or friends if family are far away)

Well, it's off to my violin lesson now - I guess that's an advantage of being somewhere where Thanksgiving isn't celebrated - I don't have to miss a violin lesson!  :)  Do you think if I bring my teacher a piece of pumpkin pie she will forgive me for not having much time to practice this week???  :)

1 reply | Archive link

Discovering the violin

November 12, 2008 11:44

I've been playing violin now for about 8 months, and was thinking the other day about the reasons why I started playing violin - first of all because I've wanted to play since I was little but never had the chance, and because I wanted an instrument that I can take with me wherever I go, as I travel a lot and too often find myself somewhere where i don't have access to a piano, my main instrument.  Not very strong reasons, right?

But now I've realized that my reasons for playing have changed.  I've fallen in love with the instrument. - it has taken me down a path of discovery in which there are so many cool things to learn, about playing and about the instrument itself.  Every new thing I learn makes me fall more in love with the instrument.  For example, I had difficulty being able to tell if I was playing in tune or not until I discovered that if you play a note that matches an open string, that string will vibrate as well and resonate.  Since then I always listen for the resonance, and have discovered that even those notes without corresponding open strings sound clearer/less muddy and seem to resonate as well when played in tune.  This is probably old news for most of you, but for a beginner, realizing this makes a big difference in playing.  I like the idea that the violin gives you feedback/input on what you are doing.  And there are other things about the instrument itself that I find totally awesome.  Like natural harmonics (I think that is what it is called in teacher only speaks German!  I'm referring to when you don't actually press down on the string but just lightly touch it with the finger, and it is marked in music with a 0).  And then the various sounds you can make with the violin - my favorite that I have learned so far is the excercise my teacher taught me in preparation to begin shifting into different positions - sirens!  It is good that I don't have any neighbors at the moment because I practiced doing sirens for hours when I first learned them :)  A siren on the G string sounds exactly like an accelerating engine on the video games where you drive a car if you give a little pause/back up a little while gliding up the string :D  Ready, set, go!

The more I learn about the violin, the more I want to know, and the more excited I become.  Each week I anxiously await Thursday evening, when I have my violin lesson, and am eager to discover which new technique or wonderful detail my teacher will impart - there is so much left for me learn and discover that I think it will be years, if ever, before my fascination with the violin wanes.


5 replies | Archive link

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings

National Symphony Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra

Violins of Hope
Violins of Hope Summer Music Programs Directory
Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Colburn School

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine