On Nods Forward and Backward

I am in Noci, Italy. I woke up at 2am this morning wide awake, wondering where the hell I was after being in Ft. Worth last week, Vancouver for several days, home for thirteen hours, then on a plane to Italy. My body is confused…more so than usual, I’m afraid.

I’m here judging an international clarinet competition in Noci, southern Italy, a wonderful opportunity to commune with the other judges- some of the top clarinetists from China, Italy, Portugal, and Germany, as well as to hear some of the best young talent from countries around the world. I feel so fortunate to be here with this panel of judges and to hear this level of talent. I am fan-girling it, feeling very out of my league, but grateful to be a part of it all.

Traveling is such a gift; it opens our minds, helps us to develop empathy for others, makes us hungry for new experiences and grateful for our homes as a touchstone. Such an amazing experience this morning to sit at breakfast surrounded by people from Italy, China, Germany, Korea, Japan, Hungary, Australia, Hungary, Spain, and Russia, being the only true English-speaking person. It made me wish that we did a better job of teaching our children to be be citizens of the world in America, instead of primarily just learning English. Everyone has been so kind and patient with me, though, and I love the challenge of trying to communicate. Music is a universal language, after all. When all else fails, a wonderful Italian house wine helps.

We judged three different categories of players for almost eight hours straight this afternoon with no breaks to eat, and then finally and gloriously it was time for an amazing Italian dinner and some lovely house red wine- and of course, lots of conversation. Oh, and authentic tiramisu…(no judging, please- back on the healthy eating plan when I get home).

Along with the wonderful looks forward to the future, there was a sad nod to the past this evening as well. I heard from Mom’s buddy Linda that ‘The Rev’, Mom’s dear friend who checked on her daily the last two years of her life and spoke at her celebration of life ceremony, has passed away after dealing with stage four cancer. Such a good and sweet man. I can never repay him the kindness he showed to ‘Ms. Dot’- and to me. My heart is so heavy.

Life is so full of gnarled twists and turns. I have to believe that every single thing happens to us for a reason, sometimes to wake us up from accepting a life of comfort and ease that perhaps we need to shed so that we can move on to the life we were meant to live. We only have to believe and to trust…and work hard on the changes necessary to move to that next level, whatever it may be. All I know right now is that I need to be humble, to listen to and learn from the many wonderful people who I meet in my path. There is something to be learned from everyone. And right now I need to learn that jet lag can hopefully be conquered…I have to sleep before judging again all day tomorrow.

From Noci…ciao ciao!


2 thoughts on “On Nods Forward and Backward

  1. You are so wonderful and humble. However don’t for a minute think you don’t belong!! You are talented and a performer in your own right. You deserve to be there! I really like the photo of you in the midst of the other judges and especially the one of you smiling with the flowers and blue sky.

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