16 Mar 2018

KB Abroad: A little life update

Well hello, I am returning a little sheepishly to my blog, so thanks for coming back and reading, even though I have neglected this little space for a while.

In the last couple of years, I've become more and more at ease opening up to people, especially when it comes to mental health and emotions. If someone asks how I am, 9 times out of 10 I will give them an honest answer. However, for a number of reasons, the last two and a bit months have had me doing a lot of self-reflection, which wasn't always easy and at times pretty sobering. Emotions are pretty complex and, using the analogy my good friend Shrek used to describe himself; have layers - and I wanted to sort out my little jumbled brain privately rather than through my blog.

A lot has changed since I last posted on here! I moved rooms in January (within the same building but living with different people) which came at a good time, despite the initial mare of not sleeping through the night for about two weeks when I first moved. I took a pretty spontaneous visit home in February, I returned with a new attitude and perspective on my studies here. I'm not entirely sure what it was that changed in that weekend, perhaps it was admitting that I needed more support, or maybe allowing myself to take some time away, or just TLC from the family and my soul-mate of a best friend. Whatever it was, it worked - I'm finding it far less difficult to cope with being away and a lot less stressful when I encounter new challenged; I can hardly believe that I only have three months left! And when I got back, I made a snap decision to get a fringe cut - at first it was quite off-putting when some friends pointed at me and said 'Pony!' but I soon realised that it means fringe in Dutch.. We have a love/hate relationship and I spend most of my time either thinking how great it looks or debating whether to grow it out.

I went back to Leeds for five days to visit my friends, also having a lesson from my teacher Sarah (and successfully took on the beast fro the east to return to the Netherlands!!). Being back in Leeds was huge fun, I was reminded how much I love the city and how excited I am for final year, but also of what's changed since I finished second year last May. This year has felt like a hell of a lot of changes, I've probably said it before, but I'm constantly reminded that the challenge is not in the change itself but in how you deal with it. We encounter changes at every point in our life so embracing vulnerability is pretty key to really living.

This week has been a little hectic to say the least! I started in rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday with Consensus Vocalis to sing my first Matthaus Passion in five concerts, opening a week today! On Wednesday I was in Amsterdam to see Tom Misch playing at Melkweg, which was a pretty special gig. After buying the tickets in November, this day had been highly anticipated and boy, it didn't disappoint. 12 hours after it finished, I was in the Dutch National Opera for New Vocals as part of the Opera Forward Festival in which we had a masterclass from the Chorus Master, Ching-Lien Wu. She is a fiercely enthusiastic person and hilariously sarcastic, so it was a great privilege to be able to work with her yesterday. The day ended with a talk from Pumeza Matshikiza, a South-African soprano who gave a talk about her path into opera from a township outside of Cape Town and her visions of how to bring opera to audiences in the future. She was extremely humble and had a very refreshing attitude to western music, perhaps because she wasn't brought up here! A week full of musical diversity in every sense, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Have a fab weekend one and all

KB xxxxxxxxxx

Some pictures from the last couple of months x x


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