Figs and life

Okay, I still have a few pictures to post from the trip, but basically I am done. I'm going to write a random blog post, but I want you, at the end of your comments, to give you opinion on whether I should keep this blog going, and just continue, changing my style slightly since I have changed? Or should I go back to the other blog? You vote, I'll make the final decision. :)

Figs are the weirdest fruit I've ever eaten. I think my experience with figs before today was pretty much just with fig newtons. I'd seen them fresh, but I don't think I'd ever eaten one that way, at least not that I remember. Well, my fig story begins with blackberries. This morning, my Mum got me up off my butt and dragged me down to the blackberry bushes at the end of the street. I was cold. I wore my fuzzy blue fleece sweater and my newly-crocheted purple hat, believing the the wind out-of-doors would only increase my coldness. As I got to the blackberry patch, I suddenly realized I would have to admit my faults and take of the sweater and hat--it isn't fall quite yet! Even through the wind, the sun is still toasty. :)

We got enough blackberries for yet another batch of tasty jam, as well as enough prickles in our hands to make our hands ouchy, but I didn't mind. It was lovely being outside in the sunshine, and breathing fresh air. My Mum had gone down to the patch a little ahead of me, and had met up with a lady who just happens to have a heavy-laden apple tree as well as a heavy-laden fig tree, so this afternoon, we headed to her house, returning with bags of fruit in hand. I decided to give a go at a fig this afternoon, and it was the weirdest thing ever! If I didn't know better, I would seriously be questioning those little pink oogly things' vegetarianism!

I also picked up a bag of yellow plums the other day from a table someone had set out by the roadside, for just $3. They are SO good, seriously. I love biting into a little plum and feeling the juicy goodness squirt into my mouth at 100 mph, it is ever so much better than any candy.

I'm beginning to believe that fruit represents people. At this time of year there is so MUCH of it, and so MANY different varieties! Plums, figs, blackberries, apples, pears, Mwah! Think about it, there are so many people in this world, so many varieties, and I'm not just talking about skin colour here. (although you can get a nice analogy for that out of something like yellow plums, prune plums, black plums, and red plums...they are all plums, and taste like plums, no one would argue that, but the fact is they are different, and that's okay!) The variety of this human race goes far beyond skin colour or the sound of your voice, and that depth is called personality. It is an astounding thing, and I'm learning about it more and more.

If you eat two apples off the same tree, chances are they will look slightly different, and taste slightly different, same with people. God created us equal, yet different. Some of us are very shy and reserved all the time, while others never have a shy day in their lives. Some are kind of in between, and that's okay. I've been learning lately, that personalities get covered up by what the trends and people around us say, and I've been thinking about how incredibly sad that is! Imagine the beautiful diversity that we would see if people were openly who God made them to be?

Now, back to the edible plant life. Behind the wild blackberry bushes we also found some zucchini (courgette) plants! I think some people had thrown their compost back there, and these were volunteers! Cool! So we got two huge zucchini out of the deal. How awesome is that?

Oh yeah, and completely eclectic and unrelated, but fun, I wanted to show you the hat I just finished. I know it's summer, but hey, I've been meaning to make this for years (the yarn was just sitting there, begging to be used!) so I worked on it while we were away. Just finished the ear flaps and braids two days ago, and I love it! No pattern, and this is the first crocheted item I've made solely for myself. Yay!

Bad picture, I know...

And yesterday I had an epiphany...

My hair is LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully it will just get longer, because I love it. Yay for long hair!

That was random. I'm off to eat a plum. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Sheila the monkey

Vlog and fun!

Here's a fun vlog I made today!


I'm still here!

Hello everyone!

I'm still here, and yes, I still want to post more pictures from the rest of my trip, and tell you some more fun details, but I'm currently working on a video of video clips and pictures from the trip, which will be fun to share with you and family, etc. So if you haven't already, watch the two videos that I made when I was at Blonay (on my YouTube channel,, and hang in there.

I am also waffling back and forth as to whether to turn this into my normal blog, or go back to my other blog. Give me your thoughts. I also have a few thinky/Christian posts coming up, but I have to let them mush around in my brain a bit first.

Oh, and just so I can say it somewhere, I have committed to the hundred pushup challenge:

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm in, are you?



I posted a new video on Youtube! Check it out!

It's the 'Crazy Random Video from Switzerland' one there up at the top. :)

James Galway Masterclass!

All the participants. There are lots more auditors too, but this is just a picture of us who performed for Sir James.

So. I guess you are all dying to know how it went, hey?

It was good. It was very, very good. I learned tons, both about flute, about life, and about people, and yeah, it was just a really good experience.

I was a participant, accepted as one of 20, and so I got to perform for Galway himself, twice. This was a very...stretching experience. See, every person has many sides, and no matter a person's status or fame, they can show any one of them, and often at inopportune moments. Am I clear? Or foggy? Ah well, this is the internet, I am allowed to be foggy. :)

The battle begins.... ;)

On Sunday, August 3, we arrived in Weggis. We stayed in a sweet little B&B about a 5 minute bus ride from the school, so it was perfect. Sunday evening was the welcome drink/snacks at a local hotel, which was a nice chance to meet Sir and Lady Galway, and to get acquainted with the other folk.

May I just interject at this moment that it seems like I only get along in real life with musicians and other artsy artists? Musicians and I just...get along. Probably has something to do with the fact that I am a musician, but, in any case! Just noticing the trends in my friendships and acquaintances. Fascinating.

So on Monday morning I played for Sir James. It was not so bad to go up there, honestly, I expected to be more nervous than I was, but it was certainly an interesting experience. I shan't go into details here. I played the Bach Sonata in E major, and on Wednesday I played Out of the Cool for him. Very stretching experience! Wow!

I met lots of amazing people, from just about everywhere. I don't think there was a SINGLE person there that didn't have an accent. Wait...there was one young lady from Calgary. Guess she didn't, but everyone else did! :) We had people from Romania, (Teodora!) the USA, (Katy...yes, you have an accent too!) England, (Kathryn) Sweden, (Ivona) New Zealand, (Christine) Australia, (Jacquie) and so many more places. (I can only mention so many people in a sentence!) Such an international event! Really amazing!

Teodora, Me, and Sir James!

I think the most amazing thing is that from 9:00 in the morning until about 8:00 at night, there was constant flute playing. First was an hour of warm up with everyone, and then there were masterclasses until lunchtime, and during lunch hour there were always sounds of people practicing, (or even worse, me practicing!) and after lunch, masterclasses again, and then flute choir rehearsal, and then suppertime, and you hear more practicing during supper, and after suppertime, a concert of some sort, and then...bed. And when I lay in bed, I seriously felt like I heard flutes, even though we were out in the country a bit, far from the hotels where the other flutists stayed. It was SO weird, but in a strange way I loved it!

On Tuesday, Sir James and Lady Galway gave a concert, and other evenings there were 'showcase recitals. On Wednesday evening, we were to put together groups of 6 flutes, and were carted off to play at hotels and churches. We got some of our music on Tuesday night (after I left, and the rest on Wednesday at lunchtime, and had until 6:00pm to work it up. Ha! They had a practice after I left on Tuesday, as I didn't know we were rehearsing (Well, nobody told ME!) so for one of the pieces, I actually sightread it on stage! Crazy! Fortunately it was a trio we were doubling on as a sextet, so I could drop out if it got too hard, and was covered. Amazing experience, though. It was slightly disorganized (Ha! again!) but we managed to make the best of it, and since we played in the church at this wonderful nunnery, we got served cookies and coke by the sweet nuns afterwards. Totally amazing.

Our Wednesday evening performance

Then on Saturday we had our flute choir performance. I tell you, 60+ flutes playing together is truly amazing! Sir James conducted, and we all had a good time. :)

So, I can't think of tons more to tell you about Weggis, but I feel like I'm missing something, so if you happen to have a question, feel free to ask. The next post will be about the rest of my trip. Mostly pictures I missed and such.

More pictures:

The big room where everything took place.

View of Lake Lucerne at lunchtime

The Wednesday night performance gang: Me, Katy, Rudi, Kathryn, Ivona, and Christine.

We took plenty of pictures!!!

Flute choir rehearsal, last day!!!

The old school house, where registration takes place.

Can you sign my little booklet thingy?

Me and Teodora. We went swimming and then proceeded to be goofy. :D

Hugs to you all!
Sheila...or 'Chrissi' as my Mum has begun calling me. Haha!

I AM HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lake Geneva from above

Did I mention I was home?

But after all this talk of where home is, perhaps you wonder where I actually am? Or maybe you checked the dates and know. But anyway, I am here, on Vancouver Island, in my house, feeling very happy. Almost all my stuff is unpacked, the dogs are home, I'm not as jet-lagged as I thought I'd be, and I am currently uploading bazillions of pictures. Still have to sort them though........gross thought. I am on the first gigabyte of three and a half, and on this card (one gig) alone, I'm only on 94 of 706. Lots to go. :)


Ooooh boy! My computer is full! Great! So I am going through my pictures and deleting yucky ones so I can fit the new stuff in.

Okay, let's get started with the details, shall we? They may be in no particular order, so don't worry if you get lost, just go back and re-read or ask me what I am talking about. It's an hour or two since I wrote the first paragraph now (picture trouble) so the jet-lag is starting to catch up to me and I am not sure if my writing skills are completely up to par.

You may remember that last winter I tried snowboarding and failed miserably. Well, that day I fell rather hard on my left upper arm, and it hurt for days...quite painful. Well, somehow, in the last day or two, probably through lots of suitcase lifting and "Hey...I'm a girl!" type thoughts, it is acting up again. I thought it was fine, but obviously there was some further damage. It's the one spot I haven't had worked on by the massage guy. Actually, my left shoulder was bugging me maybe that has contributed. Anyway, I am done complaining...let's get to the good stuff.

The flight back was great. It was wonderful getting in in the evening, so we could go to bed whenever we needed to, and didn't have to wait around falling over and crying from absolute tiredness. Very welcome, although we did wake up at 5 am. Haha!!! I admit, I am very excited about the fact that I won't be on any more 8+ hour flights any time soon. Yayyyy!!! But everything went very smoothly, and considering the longevity of an overseas flight, it was fantastic. :)

Blonay....where do I start? At the beginning? In the middle? Little bits? Well, the whole 'course' started on Saturday, but I arrived on Sunday morning, because the last evening of the Galway masterclass was on Saturday evening. More about that to follow...just want to keep the suspense up and the readers reading...because I know there are some readers reading who are particularly interested in reading about the Galway masterclass, am I right? :D

...ow this arm hurts. Jen, I will really try, but I think this is going to hold me back from some of my gig practice this week....

So when I got there I had a rehearsal with my flute/oboe/clarinet trio almost right away, and we basically just read through it together. We had all had the music a short while before, so we'd at least seen it, which was good. Then we ate lunch and I lounged all afternoon. Actually, that isn't true, I practiced for 2 hours in there, but basically between 2:00 and 6:00 that was all I say 2 hours of lounging. :) Also, I met an amazing young lady named Jess, who just happened to also be vegetarian, (Woohoo!!!) so we both went to the kitchen together and mentioned our veggieness, as we had eaten, I believe, just broccoli and potatoes at lunch because it was mostly meat. They were ever-so-kind, and after that, every meal that had meat came with another small dish of something extraordinarily tasty and meatless, just for the two of us. I think the BEST one was the tofu with awesome tomato-y sauce. Greatly wishing that was in front of me now. tasty. We ate outside for all but two nasty-weather meals.

In any case, it was great, because Jess was in my room! I shared it with 3 girls, Jess, (from Australia) Julia, (from Germany), and Emilienne, (from French-speaking Switzerland) all sweet girls, and all oboe players. In fact, the other flute student who had registered had a family crisis, and I was the ONLY flute student there. Although, it was really good to have so many different instruments around to learn from. The first evening, several of them went down to the pub, so I just decided to stay in our room and read, and Jess had reeds to make, so I ended up asking millions of questions about reed-making, and basically got an amazing run down of how it all works. Fascinating, I must say, but I am rather glad that I don't have to make flute reeds. Ha! Anyway, it was a good time to get to know someone. :)

Julia, Jess, and Me, enjoying the view out a neighbour's balcony.

Then the rest of the week, the daily schedule was much the same. It was the evenings that were exciting. :) Breakfast, trio rehearsal, lounge/practice, lunch, lounge/practice/lesson, supper, big ensemble practice, randomness, bed. On Wednesday they took us on a little excursion up the mountain, which only cost me 10 Francs instead of 20, because the Basoon guy told them I was 15 without me knowing. Haha! Oh well. :) It was neat, and I'm so glad Jess, and Yves coerced me into walking down the mountain with them. (almost everyone else took the train down) Took us, what, an hour and a half, but it was so pretty, and so Swiss, and we had such fun together, almost taking wrong turns and getting ourselves lost, taking shortcuts across muddy fields, comparing Australian and Canadian drivers licenses, all that, you know. :)

The rest of the 'Hiking down the mountain crew'. Marcel, Zhibai, Yves, and Jess.

And the music part was good too. :) Cormac Henry was the flute teacher, and I must say, he is an incredible player. There were some bothersome moments with the music, too, yes, but all in all, it was a great experience. Plus the food was great! So here are some more pictures!


My roomies; Me, Emilienne, Julia, and Jess.

Me in my trio, Marcel, Emilienne, and me, playing the Divertimento by Malcolm Arnold.

Jess's group. I think they played Milhaud?

The Mozart group

The Chalet that most of us stayed in. Beautiful place.

Our room at a messy moment. Kind of a bad pic. Ah well.

The view from our neighbour's balcony. We didn't have balcony. :(

Two of the Japanese girls having fun on the mountain.

Me feeling very Swiss. Haha!

The cows feeling very Swiss!

So, that is Blonay. Later I will wax eloquent on the Weggis masterclass, WITH pictures, but I am sure you have something better to do at this exact go do it, then come back later for the rest.


PS. I just got a link from Julia (a different Julia, from Australia/Scotland), with more Blonay pics. Lookie!

Coming home!

Sorry I haven't been writing!

I have been very busy the last two weeks, and unable to access a computer. TONS of pictures to post, which I will do next week when I am home, as I don't have time to put them on now.

Weggis and the Galway masterclass was fantastic, albeit a bit stressful and LONG and TIRING...but really good. You certainly learn to take criticism!!!!! Hahahahahahahaa!!!! But I met some wonderful people, and had some crazy times, and I actually hope that I can go again some time, though that thought was the furthest from my mind the first day. Jen, you will be happy to know that things got much better after Monday. :) So much flute that week...they rang in my ears at bedtime.

This week was good too, although, again, I didn't think that the first day or two. I was the only flute student, so that was awkward. I was in a room with three other oboists! I think I practically know as much about the oboe as the flute now, though I have never even tried playing one. Crazy, but fantastically interesting. It was neat to play in ensembles. Very awesome. Again, fantastic, amazing people, and I feel very blessed to have had such friends, even for a short time. Hopefully we will stay in touch, and I will meet such people like that at home. Hopefully.

So, that was a short (VERY simplified!) version of what I have done the past two weeks, I am fine, I am happy, I have learned lots, and I am COMING HOME ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It has been a wonderful trip, and I feel very connected with my homeland now, much more than before, but I am ready to go home to Beautiful British Columbia. And maybe, in a year or two, I shall return to this home, and spend more time getting to know it better.

So for those who live in BC, I will see you soon, for those who I met on the trip, I will email you soon, and for those who live randomly throughout the internet, I will be back in business (though a little less fervently, for I have lost some of my interest in the computer on this trip), and talking with you all again. Very exciting.

I will post more pics and other exciting stuff next week when I am home and rested.

Lots of hugs...hugs hugs hugs!!!!!
Sheila Christine