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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Most of my friends know I’m not a big talker. If I had two dozen words to spend in a day, I would probably make do without serious hardship.  There are those I know, who would spend that just saying hello. This is not a judgement, just an observation. I have even gone so far as to exclaim in the midst of an emotional argument: “Words are NOT my friends!”  The irony is that I find words, and language, fascinating.

Today, for instance, I had occasion to order a specialty product from a small company with the word “University” in its name. So when the person taking my order said something like “sorry, them are on back order, we ain’t gonna have them for a couple of weeks”, I sat up straight. Seriously? She was. Serious.

Sometimes I wonder how anyone ever understands anything anyone else is saying. The truth is, I completed this particular transaction in short order: no problems, no misunderstandings. Absolutely pleasant. Would I do business with them again? You betcha!

It occurs to me that, in the Language Arts, there is nothing even so definitive as a color wheel. As a child, my fifth grade classroom played Mad Libs:

Teacher: “We need an adverb, a word that ends in ‘ly'”!

Student: “Ugly”!

No, I scream inside, that won’t work! But it follows the rule. “Ugly” it is.

I was an early reader, and left to my own devices, I formulated plenty of language “truisms” that haven’t held up over the years. For instance, the word “misled” in my child’s mind was pronounced ‘mīzeld, rather than mis’led. DownloadedFileWell, anyone can be misled, including me. So imagine my delight when I heard this on New England Public Radio recently. It’s worth listening to all the way.

If language is an art, then surely that implies, at the very least, a certain amount of malleability. These days, friend is a verb, and even more recently, I’ve discovered that creative is a noun. Not only that, but I, apparently, am one. A creative, that is.

In my role as a creative, I friend numerous violinmakers and restorers from other countries. I like this about my chosen field. But, as one can imagine, from the difficulties arising from speaking English amongst English speakers, another layer of fascination and delight arises in the attempt to communicate with speakers of other languages.

Once, in Trieste, we had planned  a visit to Gorizia, to see a retrospective exhibit of the work of a famous Italian fashion designer. As we left our twittering Italian comrades, Leslie said, “I think I just said we are going to see an exhibit of cabbages”. Mi dispiace, Signor Capucci!42570721Roberto-Capucc

In England, where I have now three times attended a violin restoration seminar, I once found myself perusing the aisles of a DIY franchise with three German colleagues, one of whom emphatically announced she was going to look for something with which to “clean out her crack”! That was funny enough but even funnier was the moment of enlightenment when her knowledge of English colloquialisms was enhanced just a notch.

For someone somewhat spare on words, I listen a great deal. It is one of my joys. I can only imagine that this is only the first of many posts to explore the grace and foibles of communicating with other humans.  Stay tuned. And please forgive my punctuation.

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Possibly the best thing I ever brought home from my visits to Italy:

I had my first spritz in Venice, in a bar at Piazza San Marco. I observed city workers in yellow safety gear and large rubber boots stopping in after their day’s shift to down a tall icy wine glass full of something I had to try. I was traveling solo and so it was all up to me to make this educational experience happen. I was motivated.

Some kind of sketchy Italian combined with some sketchy English and a few minutes later I had myself an Aperol spritz and a new best friend. I had opted for bitter, rather than sweet and I’m still not sure what the sweet option would be – maybe Campari, or maybe more of what I was offered on the train platform in Florence (that’s another story)!

I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve had to (cough!)google the proportions of Aperol, prosecco and seltzer. Then there is the issue of a slice of orange? like I had in Venice? or a green olive, as is recommended in some foody travel blog I read once (maybe they know something)? Personally, I prefer both. A slice of orange grabs your nose as you go for the dive, and the olive is that opening to another dimension as you come up for air.

By the way, a spritz is readily available in Cremona as well (this is a violin related blog), where I’ve had it served in the early evenings with a bowl of pistachios and/or a bowl of potato chips. I think it’s a northern Italian thing. Say “Aperol spritz, per favore”.

2 oz prosecco

1 1/2 oz Aperol

dash seltzer

orange slice, green olive and lots of ice

*note: be sure to add the Aperol last, after the seltzer and prosecco so that it diffuses nicely in the glass, rather than sitting at the bottom.

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This is an image painted on a sidewalk in Budapest. It directs pedestrians to a nearby violin shop. It also reminds me of what just happened here this week. It’s actually been really quiet for a month or so, which is it’s own kind of nice. This week, all that changed.

Musicians are always going somewhere. But this time of year, it seems they move en masse. As professionals, students, and amateurs, they participate in summer residencies, music camps, summer concert tours and seasonal music venues. Sometimes it means some serious traveling and the accompanying climate related woes. There is always the  general anxiety surrounding the possibility of developing a problem and not knowing where to have it remedied.

I am situated about halfway between Boston and the Berkshires, just north of Connecticut and on the way to Vermont and New Hampshire. So far this week, I’ve fielded calls from faculty and students at BU Tanglewood Institute http://www.bu.edu/cfa/tanglewood/ including one young cellist that came from Paris and discovered the seams on her cello had opened up in filght, rendering it impossible to play (she picked up her happy cello this am). I’ve had people get off the plane at Bradley Airport and stop here on their way to Greenwood Music Camp www.greenwoodmusic camp.org or Marlboro Music Festival www.marlboromusic.org.

And then there are my regular clients, also preparing to perform, study and teach – you got it – elsewhere! Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music  www.applehill.org, Monadnock Music www.monadnockmusic.org are among the places they will be going this summer. By the way, all of these places have musical events that are open to the public. I hope to get to at least a few.

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